What Singers Don’t Understand About The Female High Belt

Disclaimer: Do not attempt to do this on your own. You could hurt yourself. A healthy, safe belt requires an experienced coach, so if you need help, you can text me, call me or zoom me.

It’s technique over talent. Simplicity over complexity. Proper musical tension wins over a non-descript “mix.”

I don’t advocate a mix for female singers until they are fully and safely able to belt F3 to Ab5 (utilizing true vocal cords) and sing in their legit (false vocal cords) from Db4 to Eb6.

It’s a simple question: if you don’t have equal strength in both voices (legit and belt), why would you try to mix them?

Nothing like listening to a singer belt their way through a number only to bail out on the last note with some wacky mix that sounds nothing like the exciting voice they were using for the first three and a half minutes. You’ve seen it and heard it plenty of times.

Building a safe belt starts with pulling the corners of the mouth into a smile. In the early days of discovering it, it has to feel like an extreme, forced smile in order for the singer to feel musical tension for the exit of the sound. After all, your mouth is a sound hole, why keep it closed? The belter presses the jaw down (about two fingers worth), shows teeth on top and bottom, bites (into a big sandwich) and then simply “yells” over the molars.

“That a lot of tension!” you might say. And I would agree.

Then I would show you my acoustic guitar and ask what you think it would sound like if I “relaxed” one string and left the other five strings to their proper tuning (or tension). Would the guitar still be in tune? Is it even playable? Would the headstock, pegs, neck, wood and bridge all be working well together or would the whole instrument fail because of one relaxed, no-tension string?

The answer is; you could still “play” the guitar, but people would probably not enjoy it very much. Ask yourself why brass instruments are made of brass; drum heads are stretched over a drum; why we strike, pluck and pop an electric bass. It is musical tension that is required.

Interesting thing about that single “relaxed” guitar string; if you apply one finger to the lowest fret and then raise the pitch fret by fret, you are also increasing the tension on the string. The string gets tighter (or shorter) with each fret in order to hit a higher, faster vibration. In our singer’s mind, that’s what we’re also doing with the voice.

What many (too, too many) singers don’t understand about the high belt is that, with a proper (or “heroic”) amount of musical tension in the body, you barely feel it when you hit the high notes.

PLEASE do not try this at home. You could injure yourself or create bad habits that have to be unlearned. Learning to belt safely requires personal training. Acquiring a high belt is an athletic event and to get to the Olympics, you really do need a coach to give you constant, constructive feedback. So, please, if you want to work your belt, give me a call or send me an email. Do not try this on your own.

Remember, if it hurts when you sing, something is definitely wrong.