Is there anything more embarrassing than a big crack in your voice right at the moment you sing that thrilling high note at the end of the song? What makes your voice crack when singing…especially on high notes? Inside this video I’ll explain why it happens and give you 3 exercises to fix the crack…once and for all!
Hi I’m Chuck Gilmore, International Vocal Coach and Founder of Power To Sing.
Each week I teach you lessons in vocal technique so you can build a powerful and confident singing voice. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please subscribe to my channel, Power To Sing. Be sure to click on the bell so you’re notified when I post special videos for you each week!
You might think your voice is broken, or you’re a bad singer, or you lack talent because you have a crack in your voice.
However, there are physical reasons your voice cracks when you sing and you can fix them with vocal exercises.
I’m going to give 5 reasons for voice cracks or breaks and then I’ll show you how to fix them with 3 powerful exercises. These exercises have worked for world class singers and beginners alike, and they’ll work for you too.
What Makes Your Voice Crack? Here are 5 Reasons
Excessive air blasts. The vocal cords are blown open by the air blast from the lungs. The cords can’t hold themselves together against the force of the air. This causes an abrupt change in the pressure beneath the vocal cords as the air pops through. This sudden release of air you hear as a crack or break in the tone.
High Larynx. As the pitch ascends we often reach or strain upward to hit the note. This pushes the larynx higher. The larynx houses the vocal cords. When the larynx rises, you’re going into swallowing mode which disrupts the normal balance of the vocal cords and air flow. This may result in a crack or break.
Pulled Chest. Open or wide vowels can cause the words to splat as we sing. This changes the mix of vibrations to primarily chest vibrations. When this happens chest voice is pulled higher, the larynx rises, and the vocal cords change abruptly and crack or break. To me, cracking means afterwards you return to a connected tone. Breaking means the tone is not reestablished and the vocal cords stay in falsetto.
Swollen or damaged Vocal Cords. If your voice is out of balance because of the above technique problems your vocal cords can become swollen. This causes us to sing harder which leads to cracking easier. Swollen vocal cords can also occur if you’re sick, have allergies, or acid reflux.
Vocal Cords can be affected by dust, dryness, not enough sleep, staying up too late, dehydration, nodules, polyps and vocal cord hemorrhages. With these latter three, vocal rest and/or surgery is possible.
If you’re a teenage boy, your voice cracks because you’re going through your vocal change. This means that the vocal cords you had as a child are growing thicker and longer. Almost everything else is changing, including cartilage, muscles, tissue, bones and hormones. All these changes can cause your voice to crack but the main challenge you face are the longer and thicker vocal cords.
These changes will go on for a few years. Sometimes it’s not until your early 20’s that it gets easier. In my experience working with my teen students, the sooner you get started on these exercises, the sooner you stop cracking, breaking and straining.
Be patient with yourself. Everything’s great one day and the next day it’s like starting over. That’s the way it is when you’re a male in your teens. But these exercises will be a tremendous help. I’ve had plenty of teen boys who succeeded with these exercises and have won leading roles in their school or community musicals.
3 Exercises to Fix The Cracking
Exercise #1: Bubble Lips and or Tongue Trill. This exercise immediately balances the air with the vocal cords…so you don’t blast too much air. It also keeps the larynx down and prevents pulled chest. It’s a great exercise if you’re sick and your cords are a little swollen.
This exercise sounds like this: [5-Tone Bubble and/or Lip Trill] Start this exercise above the first bridge of your voice and come down 4 half steps. Men start on the C#4. Ladies start on the F#4.
Ready men: [Demo] Begin. Now ladies. [demo] Begin.
Can you feel how this exercise helps eliminate or prevent the break by keeping the larynx down?
Let me know in the comments section below this youtube video.
Exercise #2: Dopey-Hooty Gee. This exercise helps bring the larynx down and keep it down by creating new muscle memory. With a low larynx you won’t pull chest and it’s harder to blast too much air. It’s also a great exercise to work with swollen vocal cords.
This exercise imposes the larynx down slightly, so you should discontinue the exaggerated sound as soon as you can do a normal Gee without a break.
This exercise sounds like this: [Octave Repeat Gee] Men start on the Ab3 and go down four half steps. Women start on the C#4 and go down four half steps.
Ready men. [Demo] Begin. Ready ladies [Demo] Begin.
Exercise #3: Funny Ney. This exercise thins the chest voice so it’s not as heavy so you don’t pull chest. At the same time it also helps the vocal cords attain a deeper adduction when you’re in mix and head voice…so the cords don’t crack or break into falsetto.
The exaggerated part of “Ney” raises the larynx slightly so you should discontinue the exaggerated sound and do the exercise with a normal “Ney” as soon as possible.
This exercise sounds like this. [Demo]
Do this exercise using the same notes and scale as the Gee above.
Ready men. [Demo] Begin. Ready ladies [Demo] Begin.
You can get these exercises in an MP3. Just download the exercises for your vocal type.
To discover your vocal type, download this free PDF entitled Get Your Vocal Type. You can get it here, or in the description area below this YouTube video. Your vocal type is not whether you are soprano, alto tenor or bass. Your vocal type describes what you tend to do when you sing through the bridge of your voice.
Take the test and get your vocal type. Then watch the videos about your vocal type and download the exercises for your vocal type. You’ll receive exercise tracks for each of these exercises that you can practice and which will eliminate or prevent a break in your voice.
IF YOU LIKED THIS VIDEO, PLEASE GIVE IT A THUMBS UP, SUBSCRIBE, AND SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND.
Also, to join a community of singers just like you, I invite you to join my Facebook page, Power To Sing, where I share up to date singing advice to help you succeed with your voice.
In addition, be sure to join me on Twitter and Instagram @powertosing.
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.