Wednesday, August 31, 2016 by Jake Hahn | Singing
I wanted to write an answer to a question that I've been getting for years and years.
"how do I keep my voice from cracking?"
Even though I don't like to see it this way, and I usually coach people another direction...it really can be embarrassing when it happens
(Even Ryan Gosling feels it...)
Not only can it leave you a bit embarrassed, it's also really frustrating! Especially if you been working on improving your voice for a good amount of time.
There are 2 main things that can cause your voice to "break". The "2 C's"
What do I mean by conditioning? Well the vocal cords are controlled by muscles that move them back and forth. They stretch them by contracting and shorten them by relaxing. Those muscles are responsible for manipulating your cords - which in turn changes your pitch (the notes). If those muscle are weak in a certain area they simply can't keep your vocal cords together and making sounds properly throughout your range. In short...they come apart. So it's a lack of conditioning. The muscles that control your vocal cords act just like any other muscle in your body. Weak is weak & strong is strong.
Constriction of certain muscle (mainly your stronger extrinsic neck muscles) cause a narrowing of the vocal tract around the voice box. When this happens, the vocal cords aren't allowed to move as freely, which can cause the cords to respond erratically at times. In turn, you end up with a vocal "break" due to the instability and lack of space/freedom for them to adjust accordingly as you move through your range.
Start to condition your muscles! Doing daily vocal exercises are your best friend here! Performing lip rolls and/or tongue trills with "sirens" is a great way to condition your instrument. Again...just like any other muscle in your body...you have to use it to strengthen it. This isn't going to just happen for you overnight. The body has rules that we have to play by in order to get it to change for the better.
Give it 15 minutes every single day! You WILL notice huge improvements in a relatively short time.
I consistently help clients correct vocal issues in a matter of minutes during sessions. It isn't "magic", and I'm not some special guru. I just know exactly what to listen and look for, and I have enough insight to help take corrective action.
You can totally do this.
As far as constriction goes - begin adding MOVEMENT to your practice.
As you sing -or- while you're performing your vocal exercises - move your head from side to side. Don't stop singing! As you get more comfortable with this head movement, start to incorporate your torso into the movement as well.
Wanna know why??
Because constriction happens when you "lock up". Your body then sends that information back to your brain saying "this is what we do while we sing...we tighten up", and the brain says "gotcha ;)". From then on you'll repeat that cycle through muscle memory.
Now...if you add some movement while you sing - the body sends that information back to the brain in the same way but with a different outcome. The body says "this is what we do while we sing...we move with freedom", and the brain says "gotcha ;)"
When you add movement your body begins to understand that it can sing while relaxing at the same time!
THIS. IS. HUGE.
Here is a vocal course that I've seen quite a few people use with great success. You can click here to check it out. Melanie put together a solid program and that's only reason I'm recommending it to ya. I know it works on the issues I stated above. So it's on the same page as my personal coaching.
There are so many choices out there, and to be honest I've seen them all (I've probably studied them all too. haha.) The truth is...there are a lot of them that work really well. I don't think you can go wrong with some of them. A good course will KEEP YOU ON TRACK making consistent progress toward your personal goal.
REST ASSURED...Your vocal break is a physical issue that can be corrected. I've experienced it personally, as well as working directly with others and seeing them overcome it first-hand.
I hope this helps!