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Sing unto him a new song; 
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(Psalm 33:3)

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Belting 101: Power and Safety

Posted on July 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM


Belting 101:
Power and Safety

Belting is a style of singing in which a singer sings a note in their chest voice that would classically be sung in their head voice.*Typically found in pop, rock, musical theater, gospel and country singing.


  • It is a very challenging style of singing and almost always done poorly or incorrectly. Hence the high amounts of singers who are reported in have nodes or nodules on their vocal chords.

 

The Vocal Chord Dance:


When we sing correctly our vocal chords do a lovely little dance next to one another as the air goes through the opening between them. But when we sing or even talk incorrectly, our vocal chords slam up against one another causing fatigue and damage.


Nodes or Nodules are developed as a result of the above incorrect use of one’s vocal chords. Symptoms include hoarseness, painful speech production, frequent vocal breaking, and a reduction in vocal range. (If you are a speaker or vocalist and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be a good idea to go and see your ENT right way.)


And now that I have completely scared you away from belting, let me encourage you, as a belter myself, there is a proper way to belt with out causing the above effects.


Here is some information about proper belting techniques:


Proper support and placement!


You really should NOT be belting with out a least a little fundamental knowledge and know-how.


Support:


Use your diaphragm.

 

  • Your diaphragm is the muscle that is connected to your lungs. It is what is used to control the amount of air you both take in and out while singing.
  • You must not only have the air to back up your big power note but control. (Especially if you plan to hold the note out for longer than a few seconds.)

 

Some exercises to build diaphragm strength are:

 

  • Dog Panting: 
    • Pick a BPM on a metronome (I typically start my students at 90) and blow air in and out like dog does after a long run.
  • Hissing: 
    • Take a deep breath and then slowly release the air like you are a snake hissing on the ground. Try to hiss anywhere from 15 - 45 seconds.
  • Pilates 100: 
    • Lie on the floor like you are about to do a crunch. Lift your head and place your arms in line with your hips about 2 inches off the floor. Begin to move your arms up and down in a bouncing motion while breathing in and out. Do anywhere from 10 – 100 reps.
  • Lip Trills: 
    • Imagine you are blowing bubbles in water trough your mouth. As you push the air out, your lips should buzz and trill. Try doing it for 10 to 15 seconds.

 

Placement:


1. Head:

 

  • Chin is lifted ever so slightly up and to the left. (Do NOT lift your chin directly up) This will ensure that all the powerful sound will still go right to the front of your face and not get caught in your throat.

 

2. Body:

 

  • Squatting down ever so slightly helps to keep your diaphragm grounded.

 

Confidence!


One of the best things I learned from one of my first belting coaches was this:


“If you don’t believe that you can hit a note, you won’t!”


SO…Know what note you are going to hit, believe you can hit it and then go for it with full abandon! [If your placement and support are right and the note is in your break range (notes between chest and head voice)…there really is not reason you shouldn’t be able to hit it.]


***PLEASE NOTE *** Belting is a very complex type of singing and can be quite dangerous for your voice if you do not have proper training. And while the above information is informative, I do not recommend trying it on your own. So if this is a style you are interested in learning and you hope to have a long singing career, please call and schedule a lesson with a professional right away! There really is no time to waste. Your vocal chords are counting on you to take care of them!

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