The Head Voice and Building a House Without A Roof

Hello there my little songbirds! I realize I have been away from this blog for far too long. However, in my defense, I’ve been so busy teaching, singing, touring, writing (er, songwriting, as opposed to blog-writing, obviously), and gaining new insights as a teacher and musician - which I think serves me and my students. So, I feel okay with that. I’m making a concerted effort now, though, to throw some of those thoughts up here on the blog for you to take note of if you’re not a student of mine (which brings me to: why not?!). Okay, okay, I’ll share a few snippets with you anyway, as no one like a greedy Gretchen. :)

One idea I find myself coming back to time and time again is the importance of your head voice register to the entirety of your voice. I know there’s a whole school of thought out there in which we all want our voices to “sound like our chest voice” all the way up our range. I can certainly understand the sentiment behind this- after all, who doesn’t want their voice to be powerful all the way up their range? However, the problem here is that this mentality makes it all too easy to then take the chest voice up WAY too high, straining to get to those higher notes when what we need to be doing is popping up into our head voices to access them. This idea, I’ve come to realize, is like building a house with a flat ceiling as opposed to  vaulted one. When you’re straining at the top of your chest voice, you start to get that “throat singing” feeling and tone. It’s as if you’re maxing-out at the top of your chest voice by hitting up against a flat-top ceiling. Ouch! Now, what if we’d built a nice, roomy, spacious, vaulted ceiling into which we could float up, giving those higher notes some clear, bell-like, overtones? Your voice would no longer be in your throat and strained and restricted but…in your head. *mind blown* See how that works? By giving your high notes some space you are also giving your tone more resonance, and unbeknownst to you, using your vocal cords in a much more healthy way. You may not realize it, but your vocal cords are very very delicate. When you sing in your chest voice, you use the whole vocal cord, which gives it that rich, warm, full sound. To sing in the head voice, on the other hand, your vocal cords are only vibrating on the very inner edges of the cords. Taking your chest voice up too high results in too much weight and pressure being put on your vocal cords, which as you can imagine, does not make for happy vocal cords at all.

So the next time you feel as if you’re straining for your high notes, why not think about vaulting the ceiling, getting up and OVER the note, rather than trying to reach from below? Vaulted ceilings are kind of prettier anyway, don’t you think?

Signing off for today as I’ve gotta go vault some vocal-ceilings,