Ep 13 Healthy Belting Voice Lessons To The World

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New York Vocal Coaching

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♬ Hi everybody! My name is Justin Stoney and I'm the founder of New York Vocal Coaching here in New York City. Welcome to episode 13 of Voice Lessons To The World. The show where we want to answer your questions about singing from all over the world. And I'll give you a chance to ask questions later. But our question for this week comes from Nicole D. in Newcastle, Australia. And Nicole writes, "Dear Justin, I'm classically trained and I've always been told that belting is not healthy and that I shouldn't do it or else I'll damage my voice. Is this true?" Well Nicole, that's a hot topic and thank you for asking that. It's a great question and let me just tell you simply, no. No, you don't have to be afraid of belting. It's not necessarily going to hurt your voice. There's nothing about belting that's necessarily damaging, and that is going to cause you to hurt your voice. That's kind of a myth that's been floating around for a long time. Let's talk first about why people say this. So, the first reason is that it's a thicker more athletic coordination. This is true, it is a heavier mechanism. There's more of the vocal cords coming together in a thicker stronger way. That's what gives it that powerful sound. That's what gives it that sometimes "yell-y" sound although we don't really want that but we have a more of a belt quality when more of our vocal cords come together in that thick coordination. So it's kind of like strength training. If I'm gonna go work out I could lift weights at the gym and somebody might tell me, oh well you don't want to lift weights Justin because that's gonna hurt you, you could really hurt yourself lifting weights. And yes you could, but you don't have to if you know how to do it healthily. Same thing with belting. Similarly though, I could work on my flexibility vocally or athletically and I could hurt myself doing that too. I could stretch too much, I could overdo my flexibility to the point where I hurt myself. So there's nothing inherently bad or good about a stronger coordination or a more flexible coordination. They're just different kinds of physical usages. So belting's a little bit more of a strong one but it's not necessarily a damaging or harmful one. But that's one reason why people say that it's unhealthy. Because it's a little bit more athletic. But, we want to do it well. Another reason people say this is because of a stylistic misunderstanding. Some people say, well classical singing that's the healthy kind of singing and then contemporary music that's not so healthy, that's just people yelling it out there. And that's not true either. There's an equal amount of people that get hurt singing classical music as do singing pop rock music. And you can really develop a healthy technique for singing classically or singing any other style. So we don't want to say that belting is unhealthy because it's not a traditional style. That would be a big mistake. And then finally there's a misunderstanding about what belting is. You could push your full chest voice up and be in a belt all the time. But most really great belters are not just using chest voice all the time. They're not just carrying weight up there all day. That would be like yelling. So a great belter knows how to switch gears into a mix. And that's our next point. So as we move up registrationally, we start with chest voice. But then hopefully we go to a chest dominant mix, and then to a mix, and then to a head dominant mix, and then to head voice. If we know how to switch gears with the voice, then we're not just belting all the time even though we can make "belty" qualities. And what I want to do is show you kind of what I mean by the difference between a full chest voice and then a mixed chest voice. Something that sounds belty but is not belty, to show you a healthier way to do a belty sound. So if I take Hey Jude by the Beatles, and I have... ♪ Hey Jude don't make it bad ♪ ♪ Take a sad song and make it better ♪ Now I used some head resonance in my chest voice there. ♪ Take a sad song ♪ ♪ Sad song and make it better ♪ Now if I do it without... ♪ Hey Jude don't make it bad ♪ ♪ Take a sad song and make it better ♪ That was more chest voice. ♪ Sad song ♪ That's chest. ♪ Sad song ♪ There I added some head resonance. ♪ Sad song ♪ [In chest] ♪ Sad song ♪ [In mix] ♪ Sad song ♪ [In chest] ♪ Sad song ♪ [In mix] There's different ways that I can make a strong sound up top. And if I have the option, if I've developed different mixes with my voice then I can sometimes choose the stronger one if I want that for effect. Or I could do the one that has some head resonance blended in and that's going to give my voice a little bit more flexibility and protection. So great belters don't just push their chest voices up there all the time. If they did maybe that would be unhealthy. But that's not actually how it's done when it's done well. So then let's talk about some things to watch out for so that you can develop a healthy chest voice that doesn't hurt you and a healthy belt that doesn't hurt you. The first one is what I just said, develop a mix. Work to get head resonance into your middle voice and into your chest voice. So that you can switch gears if you need to. Next is you want to make sure that you don't go louder. So many belters that are not so successful and maybe hurting their voices are getting louder and louder and louder as they go higher. That's not great belting. You want to make sure that you can keep it even. And similarly you want to make sure that you can keep an even breath. You don't want to push more air to go higher and higher because then the cords are going to have to get tighter to hold that back and then that tension along with the thickness is probably going to cause you some wear and tear. And then that is a place where belting can become unhealthy for you. And then finally, don't belt all the time. Make sure that most of the time you do switch gears into that mix and pick the full belt as a sort of spice in the seasoning of what you're doing. Don't just be belting all the time because then you're gonna give belting a bad name and make people think that it is unhealthy. Which, Nicole and everyone, it's really not true. You can find a way to have a healthy belt and a mixed coordination for your belting. So I hope that's been helpful for you guys as singers. If you have questions that you want to see us answer on the show you can send an email to- [email protected] [♪] We just encourage you to keep practicing. [♪] Don't let people tell you that you can't sing [♪] or that you can't belt because you're going to hurt yourself. [♪] Make sure that you're working on the right stuff, the right technique, [♪] don't lose the joy, don't lose the passion, [♪] find a great voice teacher in your area that can help you with that. [♪] or if you guys are in New York City you can check us out at- [♪] www.NewYorkVocalCoaching.com [♪] And if you like these videos you can visit [♪] www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com [♪] I'm Justin Stoney, We'll see you next time. [♪] ♬

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