Did you ever sing along to your favorite song with a lot of emotion, completely into it… and then, when that high, powerful part comes… Your voice “cracks” or “breaks”..?
I know how that sounds and it doesn’t sound good. Nor feel good to you as a singer. It feels like you don’t have control over your voice.
The horror scene for performing singers, who don’t have their singing technique quite right yet, is often this:
“What if my voice will crack when I’m performing on stage?”
When you’re singing in front of other people you generally want to sound good, feel confident and able to trust your own abilities as a vocalist, right? So, if your voice suddenly cracks, you might feel embarrassed about it.
But what if I told you that your voice cracking is actually a GOOD THING?
It’s not necessarily a good thing if it happens on stage, but there is such a thing as the right time and place for your voice to crack. And that time and place is when you’re rehearsing and practicing the correct singing technique.
Before we get into why it’s a good thing for your voice to crack, let’s look at why it does crack.
What usually happens when the voice cracks, is that the singer starts to push with too much pressure, and tries to extend their chest voice higher than it’s designed to go.
Chest voice is the lower part of your voice (usually your speaking voice), but it’s only about a third of your whole vocal range. So if you try and hit higher notes with chest voice only, it will sound like screaming and your voice will probably start to crack.
What we want to do for our voice NOT to crack, is to learn how to blend both head and pharyngeal voice together with the chest voice. This will create that powerful sound you can trust. I will talk more about this in another article.
For now, let’s go back to WHEN and WHY it is a good thing that your voice IS cracking. It IS good to learn how to sing without your voice cracking, but some
singers get so afraid of that happening, that they get scared of even trying to sing! And we don’t want that.
So, when you’re practicing the right technique, your voice is going to crack. When you’re practicing switching from chest to head voice or trying to mix them together, your voice will crack. It’s natural.
If it doesn’t ever crack, how can you be sure where your limits are and what you CAN DO WITH YOUR VOICE?
If you don’t ever let it crack – how can you know your voice?
Cracking also tells us where and what areas of our voice we need to practice more.
If you’re a beginner, find a way to sing without tension on your throat and without pushing. Learn how to develop all your vocal registers and mix them together. This can be difficult on your own, which is why I strongly recommend you get a good voice teacher to help you.
If you’re more advanced, you know your registers and have a good, healthy voice, you can start to expand your chest voice up higher. And this is where you will start to crack. But that will only help guide you towards what you need; is it more support from your pelvic floor, keeping your throat relaxed or…? This is also best to do with a vocal coach, who knows what they’re doing.
If you would like such a coach and live in Tampere, be sure to visit www.laulutunnittampere.fi.
About the author:
Besides being a performing artist, Linda Lampinen is also a voice teacher and the owner of Laulutunnit Tampere, a singing school in Tampere, Finland.