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How can i develop/improve my chest mix?

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HSCOUL
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Hi there

I am a vocalist studying at the Bristol Institute of Modern Music.

We are currently studying areas of specialism in the voice. Basically, we choose an area we struggle with when it comes to singing, or an area of the voice to improve on, that will benefit us as vocalists.

I have been singing for about 3 years now and i have always struggled with my mix voice...I am very much influenced by Rock styles of singing, and i am inspired by vocalist such as Robert Plant (Led Zep) and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), who both possess a very strong chest mix and power head sound. I aspire to create these sounds and do sing Rock quite regularly, but i know something isn't right with my technique!

As a student and performer i am also required to be versatile and i am required to cover a wide range of styles and artists. I feel like i am stuck in once place at the moment and i am always trying to avoid songs in the chest mix range, as i just get so frustrated! This leaves me limited to what i can and choose to sing!

I am fully aware that i am a vocalist who has a strong tendency to over compress and strain. I understand where my mix is, but the tone that is created is so different to my chest and head. I feel it sounds...pathetic, really! Far too weak, nasal and whiny, i would love my mix to sound rich and full! Hence the reason i avoid using it and tend to see how far i can push my chest voice!.....I have spoken to my vocal tutor many times about this problem, and he has offered some light onto how i can solve the problem. He has given me many exercises to work on, and how to apply them to my technical practice, they are great and i find myself being able to do these exercises with a little bit more freedom and understanding, but when it comes to singing the songs, it's like a whole different story and the stress and tension comes back.

I was just looking for some other advice and to find out a bit about other peoples experience with tackling the mix voice. How would you approach the mix voice? Any beneficial exercises/programs? How to reduce strain and tension? How to improve the tone of the mix sound?

Many thanks for reading and i look forward to your response! :)

Hannah

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Hi Dante

The main exercises are pretty much different alterations on voice quality and vowel/consonant combination. (On what ever chosen scale) For example, we learnt way back in the beginning about the basics of learning about your voice for example, when approaching scales and technical practice, starting on 'mum' as a basic foundation, medium compression, medium onset etc, using a dopey voice quality for a relaxed larynx and chord adduction and working from there...Basically as i over compress i need to reduce the compression by using softer onsets and vowels sounds. So if i was doing scales or technical practice, i would use 'Fwa' instead of 'Mum' or 'Vwu, Vuur' etc.

We are also told to put these exercises into practice of the song itself. So...sections of the song we are struggling with, or i over compress, i will sing this chorus or this line, on 'Fwu, or Vuu' to reduce compression, then once i feel i have achieved that balance i will move on to perhaps, slightly harder onsets and so on....

Part of the module we are doing includes self research too. So i have done quite a bit of research and found that practicing scales with nasal placement/pharyngeal sounds helps with creating resonance. So for example, 'nay' 'ni'..

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It just sounds like to me that you are getting a little to thin or light in you top notes. Eventually you have to intensify the sound to be chestier up there. Not necessarily compress but keep the sound focused just like it is on the bottom notes just slightly less buzzy sound or cord mass on the high notes. You will find this by making sure you don't completely let go or thin out at the top but you just slightly skillfully technically thin out towards the top.

I'm sure the exercises you have from your school are very good now take them 2 fold. First lightly letting the voice find the placement then 2nd taking the same path keep a higher stronger chestier beltier feel.

Without hearing ya it's hard to say but that's a short answer good luck

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Thanks Daniel.

Dante, I would say so, yes.

As far as songs go, i need to choose songs that target my area of specialism. This is part of our performance aspect. So basically i am working on improving my chest mix between G4-D5. I have chosen a few songs, but they are originally in lower keys. So for example, one song i would like to do is 'Something' by the Beatles. I would transpose this from the original key, C up to G. When is reaches the bridge - 'Your asking me, will my love grow? I don't know, I don't know', that's where i really start to struggle. One good example of this would be Sam Baileys performance of the song in the same key that i am looking to sing:

You'll see what i mean when she reaches the bridge.
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Hscoul when you say improving your chest mix its as easy as that.. carrying up more chest resonance into your sound. you don't need a bunch of new exercises you just need to do exactly that, bring more chest resonance into your sound. Which is a more intense sound . Don't be afraid of the intensity.. And thank you for showing that girl on xfactor she is great. Learn from her, meaning watch and listen to the intensity, she is not going gently up there. Its a balance of things. Find the placement and build on the sound just like any other sport. it takes time..

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hscoul, i know the sound you are after...and it can be a very physically demanding that sometimes requires a higher level of support and more vocal fold compression (not always, but sometimes) and it can very easily get mistaken for tension, and then you never "get there" because you don't realize that singing power ballads and such require it.

you can undersing just as easily as you can oversing. the kinds of singers and songs you're after will require you to give it your all at times and you have to learn to manage tension.

like a lot of us, i sing a lot of intense power stuff and there are some songs i sing (foreigner songs in particular) where to sing them the way you're alluding to, you can feel like you're your holding on for dear life till they get "somewhat" more manageable.

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