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Belt – some thoughts

I love teaching belt and in my studio I have yet to find a student who cannot access this part of their voice. However, generating a strong, supported, energised belt which is not going to tire out your voice takes care. Having a lower register dominant belt which can change into a strong mixed sound before transitioning into upper register or head voice takes skill. Managing the breath for these transitions takes practice and understanding. And time. So often we want our voice to just work, first time, every time. For some students, this does happen.For others patience and time and working slowly and carefully week in and week out is the way this happens. this week I taught a wonderful belter. Her voice, when she came to me, was too big. ‘How can a belt be too big? Isn’t that what you want?” I hear those with smaller voices cry out in despair! But a big, throaty, heavy belt can be (and in this case, it was) very damaging. We have been working on voice fundamentals, breath, and how much (or in her case, how little) is required. How and where to support (and no, the answer was not those bulging neck muscles!) the sound. And, I wish I could say all of a sudden, but it wasn’t, it was over a couple of months, this student “got it”. It feels like magic, but in fact has been a steady collection of new, refined muscle co-ordinations. She has a big voice, still. But also, a small controlled sound, and more expressive choices. She has a big audition this weekend, and my fingers and toes are crossed. The panel will not know how hard she has worked to get such control, and such beauty, as well as the magnificent enormous sound she can create. But they will hear a voice which is healthy, can survive the show’s run, is disciplined and reliable. And that, my friends, is why I do what I do. Everyday. Come and join the studio and learn how to find the best of your voice!

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