Hi there folks! I just joined today, my name is Liza Jean (stage name, granted), and I sing for a KC-based rock band. I'm an alto/mezzo and my chest range is roughly F3 to D5, and my head voice is about Eb5 to G5. That being said, I can belt an Eb5 in chest, but it comes and goes, as that area is where my vocal break sits.
So I guess I'm here with a few questions! I take singing lessons currently, but I'm pretty certain my teacher doesn't have formal training in the sense of knowing the pieces of the vocal chords. She has her own solo project and usually teaches children, and while we've made some great progress with where my voice was last year, I'm still hitting some roadblocks that I'm not sure how to explain, and that neither of us are sure how to overcome. So I thought I would turn to y'all! So without further ado, I'll try to word these in a way that makes sense:
1. When I initially started working on strengthening my head voice, I did by using a lot of nasal-y 'nya' vocalizing. However, I've found fairly recently that this seems to create a lot of tension in the back of my mouth/back of my tongue. When I sing in head voice, it's hard to not fall into it, and if you put your thumbs under your jaw and right at the back where it curves up, that soft space always feels 'weird' when I sing head voice. The best way I can describe it is like someone's stuffed cotton into the space or similar. I'm pretty sure it's tongue tension but I'm not positive. Thoughts?
2. My chest voice is very deep-sounding in tambre, and pretty warm. Even when I belt, there's still a decent richness to the tone, but once I get into head voice, I lose it. My upper register sounds like a completely different voice: it's a little thin in tambre (but not breathy), very bright, and just generally not what I want. I'd love to bring some of the richness of my chest voice into my head voice, but I'm not sure how to.
3. The dreaded vocal break. I definitely have it, and it's very noticeable. What are some good exercises to smooth this out? It tends to sound a bit like a yodel, but there's still a patch of graveliness when I make the switch, even if I slow down the exercise I'm doing. Being able to switch seamlessly between my two registers would be absolutely ideal!
4. In general, I tend to break fairly easily in my head voice. I know this is probably a matter of strengthening my breath support, but in particular words that start with a vowel or glottal stop have a high tendency to break and/or crack, and so far my only real method is to just very slowly go through the vowels while in my head voice, but I'd love if there was a better set of exercises I could do.
Songs I tend to sing for practice on these things include Stone Cold (Demi Lovato), Praying (Kesha), and more recently Who You Are (Jessie J). They all have a lot of runs and switching between the registers, and I'd love to be able to sing them and have my voice sound like one seamless, well-mixed register. Any advice is appreciated! (And if I can, I'll try and get a vocal recording up one of these days if it's easier to hear what I'm talking about.)