Ep.39: How to be a Great Singer? Master the Middle!
The whole secret to how to be a great singer hinges on 3-4 notes found between Chest and Head Voice.
If you think I’m kidding…watch and find out!
In Episodes 36 through 38 I talked about the Chest and Head Vocal Registers or areas of the voice.
But the whole secret to how to be a great singer is what’s between them. It’s the Middle Register, sometimes called the middle, or the bridge, the passaggio, or “my break”.
I’ll refer to this Middle Register as the First Bridge.
It’s just 3 or 4 notes. For most men, the First Bridge is just above Middle C at E, F, F#. By G4 you are on the other side of it.
For most women, it’s the A above Middle C at A4, B-Flat, B, and C5. By C#5 you are pretty much through it.
As small as it is, the First Bridge represents a huge hurdle…a giant chasm for most singers. There are some lucky singers out there who were born able to sing right through it as if it wasn’t there. But most of us were not born with that natural ability.
How to be a Great Singer? The First Bridge is the Problem!
When we sing up from the chest voice to the First Bridge here’s what many of us do:
- For many men, we think we’ve reached the top of our voices, so we stop singing any higher. This was my experience. I had no idea I could actually sing higher.
- We increase in volume and try and push higher, resulting in straining, squeezing and tension.
- We crack or break.
- Our vocal cords flip or disconnect into falsetto.
- We sing very light and breathy so we don’t break or strain.
When we sing down coming from pitches above the First Bridge here’s what can happen.
- If we’re in falsetto, we have to clunk or reconnect back into chest voice.
- We may try and bring falsetto down through the first bridge. But this leaves our vocal cords disconnected which gives a weak and hollow tone.
- We may momentarily crack or break on the way back down
- We may have two different sounding tone qualities. On the head side a very light tone and on the chest side a strong light tone. This makes it sound like there are two different people singing.
- If we’ve been pulling our chest voice too high, it will be a great relief to get back down into comfortable chest voice.
How to be a Great Singer? Master the First Bridge!
So the simple answer is, when you arrive at the First Bridge, or when the notes of your song lands in the middle or top of the bridge, sing in a mixed voice.
Sing with a blend of the chest and the head voice while you are in the first bridge. Then gradually let the chest voice come in as you sing lower. Or gradually let the head voice come in as you sing higher!
As simple as it sounds many singers do not know about the first bridge, nor do they believe it’s possible to sing in or through it without the above problems.
Or if they believe it’s possible to sing through the bridge they don’t know how to do it.
Here are some specific steps to master the first bridge.
Steps to Master the First Bridge
- Learn about the First Bridge
- Believe it’s possible to learn to sing in and through the bridge. I’m a living testament it is possible to learn to do it.
- Find a vocal teacher who can sing through the first bridge and knows how to teach you to do the same. It’s difficult to discover this on your own.
I first learned about this back in 1996. I attended a vocal workshop given by Seth Riggs and later studied with many of his teachers as well as Seth. Within a few lessons I had amazing things happening to my voice.
I was astounded when I sang an F above middle C. It seemed miraculous to me. Within a few months I was singing songs I never thought possible for me.
Before learning this, I had given up on my passion for musical theater which I love so much. As a result of learning how to sing through the first bridge, I’ve had the wonderful experience of performing in 35+ musicals with many lead singing roles.
I can’t tell you the joy and personal fulfillment it’s given me and my family. Now I’m teaching others how to sing in and through the First Bridge. This gives them the power to sing like they’ve dreamed.
Many of the videos in my Power To Sing vlog and YouTube channel will help you begin mastering the bridge.
I’ve just completed a brand new singing course designed specifically to help conquer the First Bridge. Watch for an announcement soon.
How you get through the first bridge also reveals your vocal type. For example if you crack or flip at the first bridge, your vocal type is Flip-Falsetto.
Do you know your vocal type? Do you know what your voice does as you get near and into the First Bridge? Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type.
Then go to the Knowledge Center and watch the videos to learn about your vocal type. Download the exercises designed specifically to help you get through the First Bridge successfully.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You can sing higher through the First Bridge with beauty, confidence and power.
I’ll see you inside the next video.