The Vocal Break and Mix Voice

Why your voice breaks and what you can do about it!

We've all been there...we are singing along, feeling great and getting ready to hit the big money note and our voice. just. breaks. It's frustrating and embarrassing and, no matter how professional of a singer you are, it can take you right out of the moment and the emotion of the
song. It also attacks confidence and creates hesitation the next time you want to go for it. But, why and what can you do about it? Let's get into it.

What is a vocal break?

So, first, let's talk just a bit about what a vocal break actually is and why they happen. You have a muscle, the thyroarytenoid that is responsible for shortening and thickening your vocal folds, which is what’s happening when you sing lower notes. That's why that part of your voice has a deeper, bigger sound, your vocal folds are thicker. Then you have a muscle, the cricothyroid that is responsible for elongating and thinning out your vocal folds. And that's what happens when you sing higher notes. That's why that part of your voice sounds lighter, it's because your vocal folds are thinner. The vocal break happens when those two opposing muscles just don't work well together causing the vocal folds to literally break apart. Your vocal break is just what it sounds like. Cue the frustration!

Why does the voice break?

The  muscles aren't getting along...okkkk.  Why is that? Maybe the muscles aren’t working well together, because they haven't spent enough time working together and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to develop the necessary coordination. Maybe it's because they're unbalanced and one muscle is more developed and dominant than the other making the necessary coordination extra difficult. Maybe it's because there's unnecessary tension in or around the voice not allowing the muscles to work nicely together. Maybe they don’t work well together because you're not giving the sound access to your breath of fuel or because you’re utilizing more fuel than the vocal folds and subsequent muscles can handle. Ok, ok, we’ll stop…but, as you can see, there are a large number of reasons for the lack of cooperation and coordination of those naturally opposing muscles. The good news, all of those reasons can be focused on and rectified with a little more understanding and the right tools and techniques.

The power of mix voice.

As a singer, you have likely heard the term "mix voice" used and you've maybe heard that it's something important for you to have. But, do you really know what it is (and, just as importantly, what it isn’t)?

Mix voice is a hugely powerful tool to erase your break!It's the ability to sing from your lowest note to your highest in a completely connected (how your vocal folds are naturally created to function) and consistent  way without major tonal changes. Mix voice is the ability to take a more powerful sound higher and to take more agility and flexibility lower. It's The ability to use the great aspects of both your lower register (power) and your upper register (agility and flexibility) at the same time and in a number of different ways.

Mix voice is not a vocal register or a "special place" in your voice. It's not a place that you can power through to or manipulate to in any way because it is not a place.

Mix voice is, first and foremost, for us, a blend of tonal qualities that anyone can learn to develop; yes anyone, regardless of past experiences you might have had. "Mixing" just means blending all of the great stuff you've got into another great option. It's incredibly powerful and it's an option used in commercial music styles all. the. time! 

How do you get mix voice?

The key to successfully start developing your mix is to take time focused on developing the very best "vocal ingredients" that you can...that means a fully developed lower register and fully developed upper register. Just like there are no cookies without sugar and matter how much else you put in there...there is no mix voice with a balanced foundation of low notes and high notes. Get started there and you'll be so very happy that you did.

Need some help with all of this? We've got you!

Once you’re ready to start developing some more "high end vocal ingredients” = resonance strategies, mind-body connection, tension release, breath management and SO much more, check out our Erase Your Break course specifically created to help you do just that. Mix like a champ - and all that means - and Erase. Your. Break!