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What are some suggestions for exercises and repertoire for helping a student gain strength and control in their lower register? Also suggestions for going between chest voice and mixed voice?

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I am not a teacher. A lot of the tips that you see or find on youtube are correct. The problem is that you only get part of the process. There are exercises involving lip trills to help understand how to control your airflow. Exercises involving vowels like "Aa" as in cat to help keep the vocal folds together. Exercises involving "Nay" to help keep a forward placement. Exercises involving "Goog" and "Gug" to help keep the larynx stable. Any one of them on their own will help in one thing and get you unbalanced in another. The main idea is to gain an understanding of how to control all of these things and use them together. Exercise with scales in the lower range with all of the vowels. Pay attention to which ones sound better and feel better to you and which ones you are more likely to help you stay on pitch...which ones sound more resonant and which ones give you trouble with pitch and resonance.

Exercise along with a piano or some instrument so you can hear when you are on pitch and off pitch. 

When you exercise try to keep the volume the same.....slightly ABOVE speaking level. Singing too quiet will make it harder to sing on pitch. Your airflow is what makes the vocal folds vibrate. Keeping the vibration steady is part of the control you need.

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Forgive my ignorance, but your username looks like a Chinese name, but I can't tell for sure if it is female or male. (And I didn't want to send you a creepy PM :lol:

 asking).

Age matters too, particularly for males going through puberty. I think the advice there is patience and allowing the voice to settle. Some women with very soft chest voice use vocal fry to fake the lower register (I think that usually sounds horrible). 

My own opinion is that there is enough practice involved in learning to control all those factors that MDEW mentioned that strength will grow automatically. The purpose and focus of repetition in practice is not strength, but improving control. There will be more than enough of that going on that it will also serve as strength training. So, in a training session, your goal should not be "ten of these, twenty of those", but a few targeted attempts at improving something specific. Then the strength improvement will look after itself.

I see many people go straight from basic exercises to their favourite complicated songs, with little in between -- often leading to great disappointment. I think that is a big mistake. The common exercises are nowhere near complete enough to prepare them. Nowhere near. There are any number of simple to intermediate songs that you can use to do some of the more complex coordinations in an easier setting -- more slowly, more isolated (but not as basic as something like a lip trill). Simple songs may not be what you like to sing, but I think that they are the best way to drill technique and just to warm up. So, if such songs themselves do not inspire you, you can motivate yourself by knowing that they are a great workout.

 

 

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