I have quite a lot of video on the web of myself singing and playing at different events or even at home. I did not post any on this site though, because I have been wanting to put together a professional video. Now I have another reason to be glad I have waited. I can simply sing a lot better than even just one week ago.
Recently, I had a major breakthrough in regards to understanding the mechanics of my voice. I have known for years that I was not getting anywhere near my potential. With the way I had been singing, it was simply impossible to do so. I’ll explain what I was doing wrong in just a moment.
Despite knowing that I was capable of much more, I had also been trying incredibly hard to train the muscles correctly, so that I could move into a mix-voice. For those who don’t know, a mix-voice is a blend between chest voice and head voice. When using it correctly, you’ll have effortless control of a much greater range than you may believe you are capable of.
Here is a great example of mix voice:
You may be familiar with this song. Do you hear how Brian demonstrates incredible control and effortless range?
So what is the secret? Like I said, it is proper training of the mix-voice.
My breakthrough occurred just recently. I had been listening to every Brett Manning video out there on vocal education. I even bought both his Singing Success and his Master Mix CD/DVD collection. I have been doing his exercises religiously for days, weeks, months, and years. And although there had been improvement, I never made the connection that I had been working so hard to get.
The Vocal Mechanics Of It All
The irony is right there in my last sentence. I was working so “hard” to make this connection. So many times, I was discouraged by having nothing to lean on but falsetto. As a result, I’d push more than I should have to avoid it. Instead, I should have been embracing this weaker approach, and learning to connect the vocal chords with the vocal fry technique. By taking a renewed approach with the vocal fry (vocal chord edge therapy), I committed myself to turning that falsetto into a head-voice. And then blending that head-voice with my chest-voice. And when I found a note or vowel that was lacking strength, I would ease up again with the vocal fry technique, ensuring that I never forced or faked a note. I was simply committed to exposing my weakness in order to strengthen it. Whether or not I was able to get that note no longer mattered. I found myself committed to tackling it correctly.
Lately, I have been spending more time sounding bad, and it has been a great experience. By training the weakest muscles of my vocal chords, I feel and hear things coming together. That MAJOR breakthrough I’ve been looking for in my singing voice is just finally starting to make sense.
I’m beginning to work on songs that would have bludgeoned my voice in the past. Last night I was singing Foreigner’s “Waiting For a Girl Like You.” And the approach was effortless. My mix-voice was beginning to strengthen, and the sound that was coming out (although still weak) not only sounded better, but felt a lot better.
If I have to concentrate on belting a note with ever fiber of muscle I have in my chest voice, I lose concentration on the piano. Music needs to be natural so that it can be expressive.
For those of you who have had vocal training, the terms I have been using are not new to you, so I hope you can appreciate my excitement. I am nearly 40 years old now, but the voice does not even begin to get weak at this age. The voice has incredible endurance when used correctly. Listen to Luciano Pavarotti sing in this video. He was over 70 years old in this video, and his voice was as strong as ever. Heck, even Lou Gramm from Foreigner (at nearly 63) sounds great!
Although opera is not the genre of music that I am pursuing, I am pursuing correct vocal technique. Even at my age, it is possible to start new, and correct vocal abuse from the past. I am quite certain that the best of my singing voice is yet to come. Breakthroughs like this are motivating and hopefully inspiring. I am really looking forward to singing and learning new songs with this newly found vocal freedom. But I’m also looking forward to hearing how my older material sounds with the new voice I have finally discovered.
I am glad I never gave up on Brett Manning’s approach. I also want to thank my Dad, who suggested I play “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” This is the song that forced me to be determined with those gentle notes. And from there, I started on a new vocal path.
This video is entertaining just to watch Simon and Garfunkle in these early years, and see Paul get frustrated over his microphone.