Ep 61- How to Sing Mixed Voice – Tension is our Enemy!

Ep.61: How to Sing Mixed Voice: Tension is
our Enemy! When you’re learning to sing with a mix
of Chest and Head Voice, it can be very challenging. We bring years of singing with bad habits.
Usually those habits include too much outer muscle tension surrounding the larynx. Inside this video I’m going to help you
understand what is feels and sounds like to sing mix with and without a tension and how
to eliminate it. Hi, I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. Recently I was reading some notes I made about
my singing when I was first learning to sing with mix. I’m so glad I wrote down some
things I was struggling with along with some questions. Dated 4-12-97 (almost exactly 19 years ago
from the date of this video): “While singing [in our show at church], I could tell I was
approaching my passaggio and would flip and disconnect–and wondered why I couldn’t
get there connected.” Later we had a discussion in a group singing
class with our teacher and I wrote: “We read that if [we] hit too hard in the lower
register I wouldn’t be able to negotiate passaggio connected. I sense I was singing
too loud and pulling chest.” It’s all so new at first. You’re not sure
what’s right or wrong. You’re not sure what you’re feeling and if that’s the
right feeling or the wrong feeling. It can be confusing and frustrating. I’m going to show you what mix sounds and
feels like to me. Then I’ll show you what the same phrase sounds like when there’s
tension. Maybe this will help you. My excerpt is from “Chess”, the song Anthem. So, I want to show you what it’s like to
have the same song…the same area of the song with some tension in it. I don’t like
doing it because it kind of hurts me. [Demo 1] You can hear there’s tension. And that tension
causes the larynx to rise and that caused my vocal cords to crack. [Demo 2] Voice feels relaxed and natural. There’s
no stress or tension. The vocal cords are connected. The larynx felt like it was resting
where it does when I speak. The vibrato was present and easy.
It felt like I was in control. I could feel the resonance move between my chest and head. [Demo’s compared] Virtually 100% of the time, when we have trouble
singing with a mix it’s because external muscle tension outside the larynx is pulling
the larynx upward. This prevents the free vibration of the vocal
cords. It also alters our resonance spaces. We react by trying to help the vocal cords
which adds more squeezing and tension. The result is the pitch is flat or sharp, the
tone is not the best because resonance spaces are changed and often words become unrecognizable.
The voice is out of balance. The remedy is to eliminate external muscle
tension. Here’s two simple exercises to eliminate
tension. It’s called the Tongue Trill and we do it with closed lips or “Goo” [Demo] Now a lot of us can’t do the tongue trill.
You can try it on bubble lips. It’s a little bit harder to transition. But the one all
of us can do is “Goo” [Demo] That’s a great exercise to eliminate the
tension. It isolates the vocal cords themselves and prevents the…it’s harder for the external
muscles to get involved. If they do it sounds like this. [Demo] If I keep the larynx down, it goes a little
bit “hootie”. I’ll do it for you one more time. [Demo] Here’s a variation. [Demo] You can see if
you start with that feeling of no external muscle involvement and a feeling of “release”
then you can start to build into that by “pressing down” gradually. You start getting the power
in it without the tension. Once you can do these without tension, then
practice pressing into the feeling of no tension…sometimes referred to as the feeling of “release”.
Do this with the least amount of air pressure as possible. You’re training your vocal
cords and air flow to work together in balance. Gradually you can increase the air flow. If
you feel yourself starting to lose the feeling of release and start gripping and grabbing,
you are introducing tension. Reduce the loudness. It takes time to retrain your neuromuscular
system to coordinate your vocal cords and air flow so you can do it without external
muscle tension. This may help you find and maintain a mix
voice faster than anything else you can do. Mix is a vocal type. It means you’re singing
from chest to head voice without any interruption in tone quality with an easy and natural tone and
the larynx staying stable and resting. Do you know your vocal type? I’m not referring
to whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what you tend to
do when you sing. Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test
which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and determine your vocal type. Then go to
the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises for your vocal
type and start working on them. They’re designed to help you eliminate outer muscle
tension so you can develop and then strengthen your mix voice. I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You
can sing higher, with beauty, confidence and power. I’ll see you inside the next video. Subtitles by the Amara.org community


  1. Dear sir. Can i ask you some questions.
    1st i still keep training with your exercise, no dout to it, and this is what i've learned.
    – i feel like mix voice is something happend in my soft palate, not in my throat. I can sing without tension, but it feel weak ( not falsetto, it sound stronger)
    – i don't have enough power ( air ) to keep my pitch. Air flows too fast.
    – i can't use this method for different songs, like when i sing Maps, Payphone, it sound like i sing on my soft palate. when i sing Grenade, it sound like i connect my throat with my soft palate. And when i sing Heaven, i can only sing with my throat, or i will be flip.
    – I had a habit that i usually sing when i drive, and with this method, it sound great, hight note with no tension, but when i practiced with my band, it's just like disappeared. I have to push again, veins on my neck show up, i feel tired when sing high note. and when i try to use this technic, i fliped or sound weak, and not naturally.
    – Can you help me to feel where the sound hit, throat, soft palate, front of my teeths, or my forehead, or some where. (i dont know how to describe this in english, hope you understand what i'm trying to say.)
    – You use mix voice to sing a whole phrase or just for a high notes ?
    – Sometime my voice feel stuck even i did warm-up before, especially at noon. Can you help me with it.

    Thanks for your video sir, your experience is valuable, wish you best luck. !!

  2. Goo with Mum hahahaha I was actually very impressed with this and it helped indescribably! Thank you sir!

  3. sir.
    i really need help.. its too complicated…. do you have whats app? or line.. so i can ask you freely.. its about how can i strengthen my middle mix voice…. im really need help.. thanks sir.. hope you can become my mentor.. im quitely often sing on the stage in my country.. i had many times asking many vocal coach.. but most of them have no idea, i mean im already did all the method that they gaved to me.. i hope we can chat freely. maybe in face book or line? or whatsapp or in bbm. thankss!

  4. Hi Chuck! I added Spanish subtitles to this video so you can reach many more people willing to learn!!! You may update the description of this video so Spanish talking viewers are aware. Have a nice day! And thanks for your videos!!! 😀 😀 😀

  5. I have a problem when tried to keep raise soft palate when sing a song with "i" vowel like this song

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKJBZDhO0g (Part Reff C5)

    How to fix it?

  6. I can trill but not with my mouth closed even when I hold my lips shut with my hands. I don't think I have enough room inside my mouth for that. Do you think not having a "big mouth" so to speak makes it harder to form vowel sounds right and get enough air flow through to sing properly?

  7. Hi there, I've always experienced trouble with mixed voice. I do have a deviated septum. Do you think this is contributing to the problem? Thanks!

  8. Hey, Great Lesson. I can connect my Chest to Head with the Right Compression But I can not Get Louder Right now with my mix. Is it normal? Will It get stronger over time?

  9. Hi Mr. Chuck i have problem with Goo or Gee evrything with "G'
    Do i need to start in lower note but first to warm up with trills or ng exercies first?
    And next question do i need to workout on bridge every day with 2 day rest or i need to do 2-3 time in week?
    and can we get vocal damage with Bubble lips or toung trill that interested me, a know that than vocal chord work properly but just to ask, better to ask Profesional like you.
    Greating from Serbia.

  10. Thank you for this video. I'm in my 50's and have asthma, so singing can be a challenge now. But I still have some power in my voice I was told. I'm really learning a lot from your videos. By the way you have a beautiful voice!!! I've begun to use my head voice more but am trying to build the power bit by bit. I see the difference as you sing, and I had this problem. Now I'm beginning to see how I can use what you're teaching to help me. Thank you!

  11. This is the fight for me, I know I should think tall and relax, but I automatically pull and stretch wide. These videos are really making me aware.

  12. Hi Chuck, I have a question. In the song “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban, is he pulling chest voice or kinda mixing it up especially on the high notes? This is one of my coach’s assignments and I sometimes struggle with it, but I can reach those high notes with pulled chest. I hope you’ll hear the song of him and identify if he’s using mixed voice on those high notes. Thank youu Chuck! I hope your answer helps for my training!

  13. Random question: can you go from head to mixed to chest and then break to falsetto in one continuous phonation? (All on the same note.)

  14. After third video I am hooked. Not singer but love to sing since last year at 46. I was laughing after you did external muscle tension example – it exactly happens to me singing Judas Priest classics or trying some other high pitched heavy metal vocals 😌 Excellent videos, subscribed! 👍

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