The 10 Point Singer's System - Part I
Welcome to Part I of the Singer’s System.
Okay...we are gonna get technical in this 2 part series, so bear with me.
Contrary to popular belief, great singers work very hard at the technical side of singing; and so here’s the goal - to have CONTROL over your entire voice. You want to be sure that when you need to hit any note in your range, your voice will be there and you will feel in control. With a greater sense of vocal control, you have the freedom to let the spirit of your voice fly so you can reach across the globe to touch people everywhere.
The Singer’s System gives you a roadmap to help you navigate your way. It’s a map pointing you toward vocal improvement and increased vocal style. The time you spend on learning how to properly sing will be well worth your efforts.
The Singer's System is a TEN POINT SYSTEM and it has a Horizontal Axis and a Vertical Axis.
Roughly speaking, the Horizontal Axis is where all your singing notes are created - your high, middle, and low notes; and the Vertical Axis is where your personal style is created.
For this week, we’ll talk about the first 5 points of the Singer’s System - The Horizontal Axis.
Imagine that you are standing in front of a set of piano keys. To your left are your low notes (Chest Voice), in the middle of the piano are your middle notes (Middle Voice), and to your right are your highest notes (Head Voice). The Horizontal Axis represents all the notes ranging from your highest to your lowest.
Listen to a singer move through the full Horizontal Axis - from head voice to chest voice - on an exercise called “The Waterfall”
#1 HEAD VOICE
I refer to this voice as the “Skinny Mommy” voice because it is the voice we use to talk to a baby. The natural quality, or tone, of this voice feels thin sounding, narrow, and smaller than the other parts of your voice. This tends to be the trickiest area for most beginning and intermediate singers. This part of your voice is all about confidence, trusting and knowing that physical tension robs us from singing with relaxed clarity. Challenge: to sing these upper notes without physical tension and to become comfortable with how your Head Voice sounds. Remember, It’s just as easy to sing a high note as it is to sing a low note. If you're struggling...it's probably because of too much muscle tension and/or lack of breath support.
#2 UPPER TRANSITION
This voice is a blend between Head Voice and Middle Voice. It is the use of both voices interchangeably. The quality can be either lighter (with more Head Voice) or deeper (with more of your Middle Voice). Some people have natural or developed powerful belting voices in this Upper Transition spot.
If you want to hear a great example of a belting voice, check out Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You” from the Broadway hit Dreamgirls. This is a great example of what a controlled Belting voice sounds like.
Challenge: the work is to figure out how to blend the two voices together. If you have a tough time knowing where your Upper Transition ends and begins, you'll want to spend lots of time experimenting and working with a coach to help work this section of your voice properly.
#3 MIDDLE VOICE
This is the voice you use everyday to speak with. Most singers are comfortable singing in this area of their voice. It has a range of notes, like the other voices, but this voice stretches up through your Upper Transition and down through your Lower Transition.
#4 LOWER TRANSITION
This voice is a blend between Middle Voice and Chest Voice. It is the use of both voices interchangeably. Typically, this voice is easier to grasp than the upper transition although some vocalists have to work hard to become acquainted with their lower tones as they move through this area of their voice.
#5 CHEST VOICE
I call this voice the “Fat Daddy” voice, because the tone of this Chest Voice is round, thick and full. If you put your hand on your chest, just below your neck, and sing the lowest note you can muster up, you will feel the vibration in your chest - hence the name.