So, what’s mixed singing anyway?
In my last blog post I covered the big question: “Can I Improve My Range?” In short the answer was “yes.” Today we are going to dig a little deeper into the “how” behind that answer, which is mix voice.
Mix voice is the blending of the chest voice and the head voice. It is also the elimination of the bridge- that pesky gap that connects the two registers. When done properly, the mix voice can sound very loud and very “chesty,” leading an audience to believe the singer is belting a high note in his or her chest voice. This is advantageous to the singer for multiple reasons. They are now able to hit impressive high notes (Yay! The audience is happy!), but they don’t have to scream in their chest voice to do it (Yay! Their voice is happy!). Suddenly, singing higher isn’t that difficult or scary. As a matter of fact, high notes usually become the easiest part of the song.
***Here is a quick side note. When looking for a voice coach, I encourage all singers to find coaches that truly understand mix voice. Whether or not you ever plan on using mix voice (you may be singing bass in an a cappella group, or you may be an operatic soprano that will be using only head voice), it is still valuable to train with a teacher who understands mix voice. An understanding of mix voice leads to an understanding of the voice and its capabilities as a whole. Ok I’m off of my soap box. Back to the blog***
Some singers were born naturally using mix voice. Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, and Dolly Parton are all examples of this. If you were like me however, and have not been mixing naturally, there is still hope! It can be taught! Through vocal exercises that retrain your voice, you can develop a mix voice that allows you to easily access your full range and easily sing higher.
Singers that I work with are able to mix higher than they ever thought possible. I make it my goal to give all females the ability to mix up to a G5, and for male singers the ability to mix up to a C5. I had a client once who thought he could never go higher than the G above middle C. After a few months of training he was mixing to a D5 in some of his favorite 80’s rock songs. He couldn’t believe it!
But I could 🙂
I once worked with a singer who was a voice major in college. Despite her extensive training, she had never heard of mix voice. She simply sang in head voice for classical songs, and chest voice for pop songs. The end. She thought her “high note” in chest was a C5, which took a massive effort for her to reach. She wrote contemporary music that would mostly peak on an A4 to accommodate her chest voice comfort zone.
In her consultation I explained mix voice to her and she looked at me with confusion. After all she studied the voice in college! Why hadn’t she been taught about this technique? I’m grateful that she still trusted me despite the fact that I probably sounded like a snake oil salesman. In the first month of working together I had her mixing up to a D5 with absolutely no problems. She was BLOWN AWAY by the power and ease with which she could hit high notes. Suddenly a C5 seemed like a walk in the park instead of the insurmountable ceiling.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the power of mix voice and the blending of the registers! After a few months we had eliminated her bridge the the extent that she no longer felt the sensation of a bridge when ascending through her range. *Praise break*
If you don’t currently know how to mix, don’t worry. Neither did the two clients I mentioned in this blog (or the majority of clients that I see). You can train your voice to mix and navigate your bridge with ease! Yes, it can all be done! I won’t say that it always comes easy (see my first blog post for my thoughts on hard work and commitment), but it is certainly attainable to anyone who is willing to put in the effort and commit to the process.