How to Belt – PART I

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Belting is becoming the norm for what a “good singing voice” sounds like; think Beyoncé or Christina killing those high notes. It’s the sound that’s dom- inating musical theatre and the radio charts. And to think it used to be viewed as low-brow and unhealthy! Well, unfortunately, if you do it incorrectly it is unhealthy, so before you go about working on using your chest voice in your upper register, make sure you’re doing it right!

Aligning Your Sound

1 – Have good posture. Hold your head up, place your feet shoulder width apart with one a bit in front of the other, and relax your arms at your sides. Keep that up! •Be conscious of how you stand. Do you tense up your shoul- ders or lock your knees out of habit? Do you slouch a little or rest all your weight on one side? These tips may sound nitpicky, but at the end of the day they can be the difference between an okay sound and a great sound.

2 – Breathe from your diaphragm. Your shoulders shouldn’t be doing any work. That means you are breathing and getting energy from your core. So breathe deep and fill those lungs — you’re gonna need that air to pow- er those notes. •If you’re not sure if you’re

breathing from your diaphragm, try this test: lay down. Place a book on your chest and breathe. If the book is moving, you’re not breathing from your diaphragm! Try to keep the book completely, 100% steady.

– Release all tension. These notes will only come if you’re totally relaxed. •If you need to, disengage your mind. Find a spot on the wall and think about it. Think about the mere existence of that smudge. Focus on the air in front of you or your finger. It’s only when you stop listening to yourself that you can stop that nasty autocorrect inside of you. And for the record, that autocorrect you have isn’t any better than your phone’s. You sound better when you don’t consciously try to change your sound. It needs to be natural!

Tips

•Sing an arpeggio or scale on ‘Nyee’, ‘Nyay’, ‘Nyaah’, ‘Nyoo’ and ‘Nyou’, using the NY to place the sound in the hard palate and ‘brighten’ the sound, the ‘y’ being the consonant use rather than a vowel sound.

•In males, belted voices often sound similar to classical, or “legit” sing- ing techniques, such as

Bel Canto or Speech Level Singing. Classical methods are not similar in females as the higher range of a singer in for- mally trained singing in females is done in middle and head voices, not the chest.

•Sing an arpeggio or scale on a ‘brr’, like the sound of a trumpet or el- ephant. This also places the sound forward in the hard palate, and engages

deep support. The sing- er should slightly purse their lips and press their tongue into their bottom teeth. The lips should be loose.

•Pronounce your vowels correctly. Depending on the range of the singer, the vowels will be more or less modulated. Hence, in a male voice, a belted A might not have the same amount of modulation as a belted B.

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