Every singer wants to be able to produce the big power notes that make the crowd go wild, however getting your Belt notes to come out the way you want is often easier said than done.
In order to Belt you need to have good technique and when you try to push out a Belt note without the correct technique it can often lead to injury or the Belt sound will just sound harsh and horrible.
So I have created a series of videos on this topic which go into detail about how to achieve a healthy Belt sound, even if you’re not a natural Belter or if you generally find Belting difficult.
This is Video 1 in the series and please note that I do get quite technical in these videos and you will be required to do some singing practice before you move onto the next video, but if you’re willing to do a little bit of singing (and why wouldn’t you – that’s what you’re here for right!?) then you’ll get a lot out of this series.
So you want to belt, but youre not a natural belter so if you have a voice that sounds very pretty or is low and very smooth but has no edge to it (like my voice) but you want to still be able to achieve a healthy belt note sound, or if you’re just finding belting really difficult then I’ll show you how to get a belt note happening, even though you might not be a natural belter.
When I say not a natural belter, what I mean is some voice, like my own for example sound really nice singing low sultry jazz songs or pretty folk songs your voice can be gorgeous but these types of voices tend to be a lot smoother but they also don’t have as much edge to them and they don’t cut through.
At the moment its fashion for today’s belt note, to be the big power note that cuts through and makes the audience go wild.
So how do you achieve one of these? Well, showing you how to belt is quite a complex topic and if II explain absolutely everything this video is going to be marathon so I’m going to break it into a series.
This video is going to be able the actual mechanics of getting a belt sound so watch this video first. The next videos will flow on from this. So belting… let’s break it down:
WHAT THE HECK IS A BELT VOICE?
When we talk about Chest voice, head voice and belt voice, we’re not referring to THREE separate voices that you may have because you only have one voice, what we’re talking about is the quality of sound that you’re getting out of your instrument.
Think of yourself like a saxophone – a saxophone is a wind instrument just like you are, and a saxophone player can change the qualities of sound from very smooth to hard and powerful not just by the notes that he’s playing but by the air pressure and how much breath he puts into his playing.
A singer is very similar.
So let’s have a look at how to tap into your belt notes:
STEP 1: ACCESSING YOUR BELT NOTES
Unlike a saxophone who has buttons that he just has to press to get the right notes, a singer has to do this internally and there’s a trick to it:
Your head is a big resonance chamber and what you need to do is learn to ping the sound around your head (basically on your face) to get the notes that you want.
This is the key to achieving a healthy belt note, you want to take the pressure off your throat, and focus on where you’re pinging your sound.
A chest voice resonates in your mouth and as you move up higher in your notes, your sound will travel up. So your chest resonates, in your mouth, your head voice resonates behind your eyes and your belt voice lives half way. This is what we call the mask – the happy half way point. Then when you get higher you get to the point of no return and you move into head voice.
So if you’re finding that your voice gets suck in your throat its because you are not moving up your face and instead you’re trying to compensate by building up pressure in your larynx and this is wrong town for your voice its really going to hurt you and you won’t get the sound you want.
So let’s get you focusing the sound here: Any exercise that involves a school kid sounding neh neh neh will help you to focus this sound. Try this verses a ’Gah Gah Gah which resonates at the back of your throat.
Have a go and switching between these sounds and get used to feeling the resonance move. If you’re finding it difficult, keep your pharynx open. It’s the muscle behind your nose that you can close off if you don’t want to smell something but can’t use your fingers to hold your nose. Keep that flap OPEN.
This does take a bit of do a few neh nehs going up and down to practice.
STEP 2: AIR PRESSURE
Remember I talked about the saxophone and how they can get a power note not only by pressing the right button but also by using more air pressure?
Well that is step two to achieving a belt sound and this is going to be really important to try to get more of a gutsy sound.
Your larynx is the sensitive part of your instrument, so when we’re putting more air pressure through here you want to make sure that you’re doing it right.
You’re going to learn to open and close your throat. As singers we are the masters of the tiny little muscles in your head that you never realised you had.
So here’s your exercise:
Still use your neh neh sound but sigh. Feel how open your throat is and how much air is coming out when you sigh. Then switch between this and a closed sound and just feel the air pressure switch between the two.
If you do the neh neh with too open a throat the sound will be too pretty. Similarly if you do it with too closed a throat the sound will be too harsh. So its this delicate balance of air pressure.
So this is your singing practice homework before you watch the next video so you follow these videos and it will help you but you’ve got to do the practice: These belt videos are not magic pill videos; you’ve got to the practice if you want the results.
Step 1 – Become aware of how to produce different sounds using the neh neh/ Gah Gah exercise
Step 2 – Become aware of the opening and closing of your throat and get used to adding and loosening off the air pressure through your instrument.
Do this a few times over the next couple of days and then next week, I’ll give you the next step in the process which is how to stop your notes getting stuck in your throat when you get to that point of no return when you get to that point where you switch over into head voice to relieve the pressure.
Did you find this video useful? Let me know how you went in the comments below.