I feel like I had a vocal breakthrough this week. I had this breakthrough while working with my voice teacher on Wednesday night. She was having me sing warm ups that we use to practice and develop my mix voice. Mixing comes more naturally to some than others. For me, learning to mix has been a long, painstaking, and tedious process as I struggle to create the correct balances of sounds and the right tone. Even if I do manage to get the right tone and balance for some notes, I must keep it as I go up the scale and often it fades and I completely lose it around the note B. But I have been practicing the exercises that strengthen the mix and this week, I felt my work had paid off when I managed to mix all the way up to a C sharp which is a whole step higher than my best on my good days. What more is that not only did I manage to do it, but the sound I made wasn’t that that of screaming baby. Another whole step higher and I will be able to mix the top note on one of my college audition songs.
For those of you who are wondering what mix voice is, mix voice is a vocal technique that combines both elements of chest voice and head voice to create a sort of “mixed” sound in between. Because of its sound, mix voice is frequently used in musical theater pieces which often have to be loud and intense but at the same time controlled, with the same intensity as a belt without all the sound and force. Mix voice also allows a singer to sing higher notes than normally possible at a belt without switching to head voice which is generally a lighter and more refined sound than is used in most musical theater pieces.
This progress gives me hope that I will be able to pull off “I Know Things Now” from the Broadway show Into the Woods as one of my college audition songs. My voice teacher kept telling me how perfect it was for me because I looked the part of Little Red- the character who sings the song- and our personalities were so similar that I would be greater in the role. I would be great… if I could only sing the song. The problem was I was struggling to create the right mix sound in my upper register needed to successfully pull off this difficult song. I think the mentality that I was never going to be able to do it and that fear of failure really held me back from being able to do it. However, my confidence in my abilities has increased since the addition of the C sharp to my repertoire and I am excited because I think I will be able to sing this song for auditions.
As far as the singing for my independent goes, being able to have a better and broader mixed sound can only help me. With the time I am given for me project, I will really have the time to practice and refine my sound. The mix voice will be intertwined in much of my vocal music, especially those songs where I want a lighter sound than a belt but a stronger sound than I can get with my head voice. This skill can only help me create a better overall sound and a better overall final product.