I can’t control my break!

I want to thank all my readers for your comments and questions. It is my pleasure to help you learn how to mix your voice and sing better.

I received an email recently from a young man who says he always breaks as he ascends in pitch. Here was my response.

Hi Taciano, Thank you for your comment.

With practise, you can control your break. You need to revisit your exercises everyday.

Some vowel/consonant combinations are easier to mix, so try starting with a “koo” or a “goo”, and grow into other combinations such as “mum” and “buh”. Notice the “g” and “k” will help you maintain your mix. This is your tongue helping with breath control, which in turn helps keep you in a mix (so your folds don’t blow apart from too much breath escaping).

A “staccato” sense to your exercises will help you maintain your mix as well. This, again, is due to the breath pressure you create at the vocal folds. But be careful that you doing this correctly. Many students try to make staccato happen with their body or their throat, and this only gets in the way of the natural ability of the vocal folds to do their job. A sense of a bouncy “staccato” delivery of your notes will happen easily and automatically if you are creating the breath pressure necessary to maintain a good mix.

Another useful tip to maintain your breath control is to engage the muscle at the top of your stomach. Simply focus on this area as if someone were going to hit you. Don’t do this down low in your stomach….just at the top where your rib cage meets. And, when you breath notice how your ribs and back naturally engage too. Notice the smallness and the exactness of these sensations. Notice how it also engages your head, neck and posture. Stay in this coordination as you do your exercises, and see if it helps.

Remember, it does not take much breath to sing well. Most amateur singers use way too much breath, which in turn causes many problems. So try the opposite. Allow yourself to enjoy the sensation of singing with less breath. Your ribs and back muscles will learn to engage while you are singing…and this will help you maintain your mix.

Good luck. I hope these suggestions have helped! Susan

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