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Ep.62:How to Sing Mix – Where do I Place the Tone?

This video is about how to sing mix and where to place the tone.


In the past several months, I’ve worked with students over SKYPE from the Philippines, Germany, Singapore, Israel, Vietnam, Portugal, London, and Sweden.  Everyone does so well with English and I speak no other languages. Thank you everyone! You are an inspiration to me.


This week I received this question in response to my last video about singing in a mixed voice. Writing in English, which is not his native tongue, he asks:


“Can you help me to feel where the sound hit, throat, soft palate, front of my teeths, or my forehead, or some where. (i don’t know how to describe this in english, hope you understand what i’m trying to say.)”


Basically he’s asking: “Where do I “place” the tone?   


How to Sing Mix - Where do I Place the Tone? You Don't!
Seth Riggs

One of my favorite stories told by Seth Riggs goes something like this. He’s taking lessons from singing teacher who tells him to put the tone forward. But Seth explains he doesn’t know how to “put” the tone.  Finally after telling Seth again where to put the tone he says: “If you tell me one more time where to put the tone, I’m going to tell you where to put it!”


This story illustrates the difficulty of placing tone for a singer.  “Put it in the mask”, “Bring it forward”, “Put it between your eyes”, are a few of the instructions you may have heard in voice lessons.


The answer is: You don’t place the tone.


How to Sing Mix: You Don’t Place the Tone

Why? Success in singing and particularly singing with a mix of head and chest voice, requires that we allow the free vibration of the vocal cords. As soon as we try to manipulate or place the sound or tone, we introduce unwanted tension from the external neck muscles surrounding the larynx.


The result is we grab, pinch and squeeze to try and raise this or put something forward, or open or lower that body part. This causes the opposite to happen. The vocal cords stop vibrating freely and they lose balanced with the air flow. Here’s an example of trying to place it forward or place it back. [Demo]


We grab tighter to make it better, adding more tension and more squeeze. The voice becomes labored and unbalanced. Our tone suffers and ultimately so does our vocal power.


The exercises when done correctly in PoweToSing.com and throughout the videos on the PowerToSing YouTube channel, are designed to cause you to eliminate unwanted tension.


The exercises also cause the vocal cords to balance with the air flow from your lungs. This causes the tone to resonate where it should naturally. You don’t have to “put it” anywhere. The effect is a connected tone, easily produced, with all the harmonic qualities that produce a wonderful voice.


How to Sing Mix – Where do I Feel the Resonance Caused by the Exercises?


When doing the exercises correctly I feel the resonance “balloon”, so to speak,  just above the soft palate. In other words, I feel an expansion of sound vibration above the soft palate. [Demo]


On a certain vowel I sometimes feel it towards my inner ears. But I don’t feel an increase in tension. It’s because I’ve allowed the resonance to shift without adding any tension.


Warning: What I feel, isn’t necessarily what you will feel. How I describe it may not be the way you describe it. You’ll become acquainted with the feeling. It’s also important, I think, that you’re sensitive to tension vs no tension. Becoming aware of tension is the first step to eliminating it.


How to Sing Mix – Why Does it Seem so Weak at First?


Why does it sometimes seem weak at first? It’s just like wanting big biceps or sculpted abs.  It doesn’t happen overnight. Once you eliminate tension and get vocal balance and coordination, then comes real strength and vocal power within the vocal cords themselves.


A second reason is what you hear and what the audience hears are two different things. What your audience hears is a much larger, vibrant sound than you hear. You think it sounds too soft because resonance in your head feels and sounds softer than chest voice.


You’re used to the resonance hitting the hard palate which sound like this to you. [Demo] When the resonance hits the soft palate it sounds like this to you. [Demo]


Resist the temptation to place the tone anywhere. This will help you develop a balanced voice, with ideal function of the vocal cords. You’ll develop vocal presence, strength, power, flexibility, and increased range.


Your voice will be of equal strength from bottom to top. There’ll be no abrupt changes in tone quality. Your voice will sound natural and unaffected. Your words will be easy to understand.

Mix is a vocal type. Do you know your vocal type? I’m not referring to a range category as in soprano, alto, tenor or bass.


Your vocal type is what you tend to do when you sing. Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type.


Then visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises for your vocal type and start improving your voice immediately.


I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power.


I’ll see you inside the next video.

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