Singing voice cracking is one the problems that most singers try to avoid. A healthy and perfect voice is the main concern for any singer. For a singer to have a voice that is good, it is not all about how wonderful the voice is, the voice has to be healthy and maintaining it well is essential, which makes it lovely if one is listening to the singer speak and mostly when singing. The value of a good voice is priceless and it is not easy to replace or repair if it is damaged. Therefore, you need to take great care of your voice.
If the singer is trying to sing a slightly higher pitch, the common problem they will encounter is voice cracking. It’s normally occurs when a shift to a higher pitch than the previous is not so smooth. High, medium and low are the main three singing registers. The mid register is not so problematic for any person. However, the low register requires one to use the chest voice while the high register requires the use of the head voice or at times a mixed voice. This implies there must be a transition of the chest voice to the mixed or head voice when singing. The reverse is also true.
Possible Reasons Why You Break Your Singing Voice
1) Muscle Coordination
Muscle balance is one of the reasons why you’re experiencing a kind of voice cracking in high pitches/ notes between 2 registers. This means that there is an excessive influence of the muscles in controlling your chest voice as you render higher notes. Your muscles reach a particular point wherein they could no longer stretch out, resulting to a sudden break or shift of notes.
2) Blocked Airflow
When you have too much air in your vocal cords, it can cause tension and pressure. On the other hand, lack of sufficient amount of air can also have a bad effect causing your vocal cords to struggle in vibration. Therefore, a proper balance should be created between these two aspects to avoid voice cracking while sing higher. There should be sufficient amount of pressurized air present in your vocal cords in order to make them vibrate efficiently.
3) A Rising Larynx
This process has a similarity to muscle coordination wherein you can see your larynx as the bump, and you can feel it in your throat. This thing is also known as vocal weight wherein you’re able to reach a certain point where the tone of your voice is like “yelling”. So, if you continue this weight to go up higher, your voice has the tendency to crack.
You may have experienced having a voice cracking or out-of-key in higher vocal range during one of your on-stage performances. For sure you felt very embarrassed that made you swear this frustrating thing will never happen again. Having fear can give a lot of tension to your throat and entire body that can lead to a vocal crack.
5) Improper Voice Control
When you’re singing and you’re doing something to control your voice, you’ll have a tension problem eventually that could break your singing voice in high pitches. This is because your voice should be free and relaxed in singing.
Every voice has “transition points” that help one to shift in between registers. After reaching the peak of the chest voice, let your voice adjust on its own and then move slowly and smoothly to the head or mixed voice. If you do not do this process well, your voice will crack, hence your song will definitely go haywire.
Vocal bridges are used to refer to the switching points, which are an extremely narrow bridge. Learning to move across these narrow bridges without making a fall will make your voice not to crack and eliminates the chances of your song falling down.
6) Vocal Health Conditions
There are several bad vocal conditions such as sore throat, dry throat, mucus and phlegm accumulations that will directly affect your performance while singing. And these kinds of conditions can be easily fixed with some proper remedies and preventions.
7) Singing Outside Your Range
Everyone has a unique vocal range- some can take up to 6 octaves and some need to be contended with singing only 1 octave. By training, a singer can expand his/her vocal range by a few octaves, but it comes with time. Until you achieve that, your voice will always crack when you try to sing outside your vocal range. If you decide to try to hit a low or high note, which is not comfortable for you, then your voice will crack.
8) Vocal Strain
During singing, it could cause strain and stress on the vocal cords if you push your voice too much. This is more dangerous as not only our voice will crack but also your vocal chords will be pushed beyond its limits. So, it’s better NEVER to force out beyond your notes, NEVER force to hit low notes or high note, and Never force yourself to hold a note.
Preventions & Solutions
1) Vocal Exercises To Stop Your Voice From Cracking
Certain prescribed exercises are available to assist you in solving voice-breaking problems. These exercises will help your voice to shift smoothly from a particular register to the next effortlessly and appear to be bonded together perfectly. The exercise first strengthens muscles that support the vocal system. If your support system is in good shape, then the exercise will help your voice to coordinate with the vocal chords, hence creating a smooth flow from one register to another without the voice breaking or cracking. Your voice will sound like a single instrument in an instant.
There are several muscle strengthening and voice developing exercises easily accessible on the internet. And the video tutorial below is the one I love the most.
2) Strengthen Your Vocal Chord Muscles
Following the instructions in this singing program and practicing regularly the recommended exercises will eventually develop your voice and it will flow smoothly just like a river. As you continue, you will doubt if you ever had any voice cracking complications in the first place. Our biological systems are amazingly good whereby once they learn how to do something, the body and mind automatically memorizes whatever it is and can reproduce it anytime without failing. Therefore, in order to avoid this kind of vocal problem, you need to work harder on your voice with the available singing exercises and you will achieve a perfect voice.
3) Drink Water Before Singing
It’s very crucial to make sure your throat and vocal chords are hydrated and moist enough before every singing sessions. It’s to prevent yourself from having a dry throat, hoarseness while singing.
You could take a teaspoon of olive oil if you suffered from the dry or a sore throat just right before a singing session. For a good vocal heath condition, make sure you always drink at least 8 cups of water (room temperature) daily.
4) Sing In Mixed Voice
Sometimes, your singing voice will crack due to the narrowed register. In other words, a singer will encounter some difficulties to sing the higher notes with chest voice or vice versa. And this condition will also lead to the muscle coordination problems on the vocal cords while transiting your voice across the lower and higher notes. It is not only happened when you sing in high notes; some singers even cracked their voice while singing in the lower pitches.
The mixed voice could be the optimal solution to solve this kind of problems. It mixes your lower and higher registers (chest voice and head voice) to neutralize and widen your register. So, you can sing all range of lower and higher notes without any difficulties in bridging and transcending your voice across different notes. Learn more on how to sing in mixed voice.
Calm down and try not to be nervous when singing. You will have problems with the breathing control, blocked airflow, and the tensioned larynx when you are nervous while singing. Try to relax and take some deep breaths before singing.
6) Vocal Warm-up Exercises
Try to do some vocal humming exercises and vocal warm-up exercises before the singing performance. I’m sure that these exercises will help you to get your vocal chords more relax and ready to rock on the stage.
Warming up the vocals before singing helps in increasing flexibility of vocal cords. It makes you much better prepared for actual singing. Make warm-ups a part of your morning routine. It will help to sing you to your full potential without straining your voice. We have heard or seen singers doing ‘do-re-mi’s” or “me-me-me-me’s” before a performance. It is a way of warming up. It is that type of vocal warm-up where you go higher on a scale and then going lower. They are also known chromatic scales. Vocal warms up are depended on the type of the song that one is planning to sing.
Read more about different types of vocal warm-up exercises.
7) Breathing the Right Way
While singing, focus on inhaling the air from the diaphragm rather than the lungs. Breathing through diaphragm helps to give vocal folds the right amount of air for vibration. It helps to prevent staining and cracking of the voice. Try to breathe through diaphragm as it gives you better vocal protection. When you understand these scenarios, stopping voice cracks become a lot easier.
8) Song Mapping and Planning
Behind every song, there are emotions and psychological engagements. Many singers are not able to hit the specific note, as there is a fear of singing them. These cracks can also be a result of these fears. Map and plan your song structures could be one of the best ways to overcome the fear of voice cracking during the performance as your vocal will be more prepared for every part of voice projection mechanism in that particular song.
It is best to think the song through. It is essential because then you know when to take the breath, and because you need to think about the sounds too.
By this way, you will not only be protecting your song but also be lending a personal touch too to the song.