Improve Your Vocal Break Easily Today

Improve Your Vocal Break Easily Today

We’ve all been there.

You’re going up to that beautiful high note when all of a sudden your voice cracks like a 12-year-old boy’s.

The truth is, vocal breaks are very common.

In fact, many famous singers deal with voice cracks as well.

If Shawn Mendes, Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande can crack on high notes, so can you.

But what causes this vocal break?

And more importantly, what can we do to prevent it?

Read on.

Fix Your Vocal Break Today

Many singers want to fix their vocal break.

But in order to fix your vocal break, we need to understand why they happen in the first place.

So let’s get started.

What is a Vocal Break?

A voice break or voice crack is a sudden shift in the tone of your voice.

Voice cracks usually happen at the transition between your different vocal registers.

What does that mean?

Usually, when we’re singing from the bottom to the top of our voice, there is a sudden change that sounds like a crack or break in the voice.

This vocal break usually happens when you’re transitioning from your chest voice to your head voice.

If you’ve never head the terms chest and head voice before, don’t worry.

I’ve written an article on How to Hit High Notes that explains chest voice and head voice in depth.

But for the moment, here’s what you need to know about why voice breaks happen.

Chest Voice 101

In the old days, singers found that notes at the bottom of their range resonated in their chest.

They called this range of notes Chest Voice.

You can feel this by placing your hand on your chest and saying your name aloud at a strong volume.

This image shows a singer with his hand on his chest

Do you feel that buzzy sensation?

That’s chest voice.

With the help of modern science, we know that chest voice doesn’t really come from the chest.

In fact, the strong powerful volume we hear in chest voice comes from the vocal folds.

And in chest voice, the vocal folds are short and thick.

Chest voice notes sound strong because the vocal folds have a strong resistance to the air from your lungs.

fully contracted vocal chord shorteners

What the vocal folds look like in chest voice.

Head Voice 101

Those same old-school singers found that notes at the top of their range resonated in their head.

So they called this range of notes Head Voice.

You can feel head voice by placing your hand on the back of your neck and singing a loud “Wee” (as in “Week”) on a high note.

This image shows a singer with his hand on the back of his neck

Do you feel that vibration on the back of your neck?

That’s head voice.

But the truth is that the head voice doesn’t really come from your head.

Actually, that flutey, breathy falsetto sound comes from vocal folds that are stretched and thin.

Since the cords are thin, they’re not able to resist the air from your lungs, resulting in a thin, breathy sound.

vocal chord shorteners when singing falsetto

What the vocal folds look like in falsetto.

Why Does the Voice Break?

Here’s why knowing Chest Voice and Head Voice is important:

The voice usually breaks when going from the thick cords of chest voice to the thin cords of head voice.

I like to compare it to a relay race.

The image shows a relay race where the baton is being handed off.

In a relay, one runner hands off a baton to another runner.

Then the second runner starts running.

Your voice works the same way.

Once you sing up to a certain pitch, the chest voice “hands off” to the head voice.

vocal registers and the bridge

In other words, at a certain point, the vocal folds go from being thicker to thinner.

This transition point is called the bridge or passagio.

But sometimes that hand off of really sloppy.

If your vocal cords thin out too quickly at the bridge, you get a big vocal crack.

The Two Causes of Vocal Breaks

We now know that the voice breaks when the vocal cords thin out too quickly at the bridge.

There are two main ways this can happen.

1. The voice can crack when singing with too much head voice.

Remember that in head voice, the vocal cords are thin.

But many people sing too breathy and thin across their whole range.

And if the notes are weak, you don’t have a chance of hitting high notes with power.

That’s because as you go up in pitch, the vocal cords thin.

So if you’re starting out weak, there’s no way of getting stronger as you go up.

2. The voice can also crack when singing with too much chest voice.

We now know that in chest voice, the vocal cords are short and thick.

But if you sing too heavily at your bridge, your voice can strain, resulting in a voice crack.

That’s because in order to sing through the bridge, the vocal cords must thin out.

But many people sing too heavily across their range, fatiguing their voice and making them crack.

You Can Improve Your Vocal Break

Many singers will try to avoid their vocal break by singing below their bridge.

But that doesn’t help!

After all, we all want to hit high notes without falsetto.

The best way to improve your vocal break is learning to sing through it.

Learning to sing through the bridge without cracking is called Singing with a Mix and is the foundation for The Best Singing Techniques to Improve Your Voice.

Singing with a mix means singing through the bridge with a mix of the chest voice and head voice.

In other words, your vocal cords are the right thickness for all the notes in your voice.

What does that mean?

Singing with a Mix means being able to hit high notes with power and without straining.

I’ve written an article with tons of exercises to Hit High Notes with a Mix.

But for now, let’s try a few exercise to help you sing through your bridge.

They’re divided into two sections according to what causes your break.

How to Fix Your Break if You’re Singing Breathy and Light

We now know that if you’re singing too breathy and light, your high notes will crack.

So the following exercise will help you hit all the notes with more power.

In this case, we’re going to be using a short scale (just an octave) and a ugly, “bratty” sound to strengthen your voice’s resistance to the air from your lungs.

So if your high notes have been cracking because you’re singing too lightly, this exercise is for you!

The Octave Repeat Bratty “Nay”

Are you ready to get those notes stronger than ever and fix your vocal break?

Here’s how you do it.

1. Begin by saying the word “Nay” (as in “Neighbor”) in a bratty way. The tone should be buzzy and nasal-sounding.

If you need help finding the right sound, try to imitate the wicked witch of the west from the Wizard of Oz.

We’re looking for that bright, brassy, “witchy” tone.

2. Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try E3 for guys and C#4 for girls) and begin to sing the bratty “Nay” on this pitch.

3. Sing the following scale.

Here’s the scale for guys:

musical scale for men

Here’s the scale for girls:

musical scale for females

Check out this video for a demonstration of the exercise and correct scale.

How to Fix Your Vocal Break if You’re Singing Too Heavy

We also know that if you’re singing too heavily at your bridge, your vocal folds will simply “give up” and your high notes will crack.

So the following exercise is designed to help thin out your cords and sing through your break.

In this case, we’re going to be using a longer scale (an octave and a half) and a narrow vowel to help you find more head voice.

So if your high notes have been cracking because you’re singing too heavily, this exercise is for you!

The Octave and a Half “Gee”

Are you ready to get rid of the strain that’s causing your voice to crack?

Here’s how you do it.

1. Begin by saying the word “Gee” as in “Geese” at a comfortable volume.

2. While saying the word “Gee”, make sure that you are enunciating the “G” consonant.

3. Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try C3 for guys and G3 for girls) and begin to sing the word “Gee”.

4. Sing the following scale.

Here’s the scale for men:

musical scale for men

Here’s the scale for women:

musical scale for women

Check out this video for a demonstration of the exercise and correct scale.

How to Fix Your Vocal Break if You Don’t Know Why Your Voice is Cracking

When you’re practicing on your own, it can be hard to know exactly why the voice is cracking.

Taking regular lessons with a certified voice teacher is the best way to help fix your vocal break.

But for now, let’s do an exercise that covers all the bases.

In the case of the following exercise, we’ll be using a short scale (an octave) to help the cords thicken.

But we’re also going to be using a narrow, back vowel (in this case an “oh) to help the vocal folds unpress.

So if you have no idea why your voice is breaking, this exercise is for you!

The Octave Repeat “No”

Are you ready to hit those high notes with more power and less strain?

Let’s get started.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Begin to say the word “No” (as in the word “Note”) aloud at a comfortable volume.

2. Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try E3 for guys and C#4 for girls) and begin to sing the “No” on this pitch.

3. Sing the following scale.

Here’s the scale for males:

musical scale for men

Here’s the scale for females:

musical scale for women

Don’t worry if you can’t read music or don’t have a piano at home.

Here’s a helpful video to talk you through the exercise:

Congratulations

With any luck, one of the previous exercises helped you sing through your bridge without breaking.

Learning to sing across your range without breaking takes some skill and the right vocal technique but it’s totally worth it.

If you’re having any trouble singing those notes without breaking, Book a Free In-Person Voice Lesson or Skype Evaluation.

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