I’ve done it…the unthinkable –
Cracking a high C in front of an audience…loud and clear!
The night before I had fought with my mom over my decision to become a professional singer.
The result…it drained me completely for next day’s performance.
Fortunately, the audience was forgiving for that awkward moment I created.
And now, I am glad I have that experience so I can share with you today- How to sing high notes with straining or cracking, or how to lower its risk.
Hopefully, you don’t have to go through the embarrassment ever after applying what I have to share today.
Why Does the Voice Crack?
To prevent cracking while singing, you need to first understand why the voice cracks.
First of all, what is “cracking”?
“Cracking” is an abrupt switch from full voice to falsetto in a split second.
It happens when the vocal muscles are not strong enough to handle the intensity of the high note you desire to hit.
In order to reach the desired pitch, the voice switches automatically to a light, airy falsetto sound.
The voice unexpectedly changes to a totally different tonal color causing a very funny and embarrassing moment.
I have coined the term “reverse cracking” to describe flipping from falsetto to full voice abruptly.
It happens when the falsetto muscles are not strong enough to sustain the note, usually lower ones, and thus, the voice switches quickly to a full voice mechanism.
Reverse cracking sounds just as funny and embarrassing!
It often happens to classical female singers who use falsetto extensively.
3 Ways to Prevent the Voice from Cracking
Before I continue, I just want to share that vocal cracks can happen to any singer on a bad day.
Even the greatest singers in history crack their voices while attempting to sing high notes.
Don’t believe me? Listen to one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century Luciano Pavarotti crack his voice:
So, if you have ever cracked your voice before, don’t feel too bad, because it happens to singers more often than you think.
What we can do as singers is to minimize the risk.
I want to share with you 3 ways you can prevent the voice from cracking:
1. Sing the high notes at a moderate volume.
Don’t make it “hit-or-miss” by attempting the high notes with full force.
If you are not sure if you’re going to make it, attempt the high note at a lower volume.
The advantage of this is – if you do crack, it won’t sound as bad because it is less abrupt at a softer volume.
Also, there tends to be less vocal tension when you sing at a softer dynamic.
Singers tend to use more wrong muscles when we sing at a louder volume.
My vocal coach taught me to practice singing a song at a very soft volume, as soft as possible.
When the vocal muscles are coordinated correctly, that’s when we sing at any volume we want.
2. Practice and use mixed voice.
The mixed voice, or Mix, has a tonal quality that’s somewhere between full voice and falsetto.
It is not as intense and “thick” as full voice, but you can add just enough weight to it to disguise it as full voice.
Mix is easier to sing than full voice, because it is not as heavy.
The important thing is it’s almost impossible to crack a mixed voice, because its intensity is between full voice and falsetto.
Even if you somehow crack a mixed voice, it will sound way better than a “traditional crack.”
I personally have never cracked when I sing Mix.
If you are interested in developing Mix, you can check out John Henny’s Boldy Belting training program.
Don’t be fooled by the title. The course is about developing a Mix so intense to sound like a hard belt sound.
3. Strengthening vocal muscles with vocal weight training.
Building strong vocal muscles is what I’m saying here.
When your vocal muscles are all built up, you can sing those high notes in full voice at will.
Your mixed voice and falsetto will become stronger as well.
However, it takes longer and more effort to build vocal muscles.
But if you want to build a strong vocal foundation, vocal weight training is an absolute must.
You literally build a voice you didn’t have before.
Online vocal coaches that advocate this approach are Robert Lunte, Ken Tamplin, Jaime Vendera, and others.
They each have their own unique training systems, but they are all gearing towards building vocal strengths.
In Conclusion, This is What You Can Do Quickly
If you are in a hurry to eliminate the problem of “ cracking,” I would suggest that you use tip #1 for a quick fix instantly – sing the high notes at a moderate volume.
If you have a little time to practice your song, practice singing the song as softly as possible with a “focus and clean” sound with good technique.
It will eliminate excess vocal tension for you.
In the long run, I would strongly suggest that you apply tip #2 and #3 to your vocal training to build a strong foundation for your singing.