Updated: Nov 14
Jo Estill, world renowned voice scientist, educator, and singer once said,
Instead of 'Head Voice', people might better have called it 'Head-feeling Voice' because the sensation that accompanies the higher notes is made with muscles that form the vocal tract or tube, and this action is felt in the head. But your voice is not made in the head.
In a world awash with information, it's easy to blur the lines between facts and feelings. We often find ourselves navigating a complex web of emotions, opinions, and objective truths, making it challenging to discern one from the other. But the distinction between facts and feelings is not merely an academic exercise—it's a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, shaping our decisions, beliefs, and interactions. Facts and feelings are not the same thing. Recognizing this difference is crucial for critical thinking, effective communication, and ultimately, a better understanding of our own voices.
Let's start with three overly used "feeling words" the are often used in voice training:
The most important fact to be aware of is that all sound is made in your throat. More specifically your larynx, sometimes referred to as your source. The larynx doesn't sound like a "beautiful voice" on its own but together with the breath (power) and the structures above the larynx (filter), the voice starts to sound like, well, your beautiful voice!
While movement of the larynx is crucial to achieving your vocal goals, it is physically impossible to move it into your head or chest. It stays in your throat. Therefore, chest voice and head voice are sound qualities or feelings, that don't represent what is actually happening inside the throat and mouth. You very well may feel sensation in your head and chest when you're singing in chest or head voice but no structures are actually moving in those specific areas.
And don't get me started on "mixed voice."
ALL vocal qualities are mixed. Every single vocal quality is a combination of different vocal structure positions. Mixed voice, I assume, is a specific sound quality that sounds like a "mix" of chest and head voice. But again, all of these terms are feelings and/or sound qualities. Not facts.
Why is it important? Chest, head, and mixed voice qualities are limiting. They only infer that there are three vocal "sounds" you can make. Estill Voice Training® demonstrates that there are endless vocal structure combinations to create endless vocal qualities.
Learn how to gain control of all of the thirteen vocal structures and then use that control to choose the structure combinations to achieve any sound quality you want.
About the author: Luke Steinhauer is a premier vocal coach, international voice consultant, and Estill Master Trainer, based in New York City. Luke is a graduate of The University of Michigan and an MBA Candidate at Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, CUNY. @lukesteinhauervoice
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