What is Mixed Voice – The Key to Superior Singing
This is a rather controversial issue when it comes to singing methods.
Some say it doesn’t exist. Some say it is a myth and that the voice really just has two separate registers – chest and falsetto.
To be frank, I really pity those people who discarded the reality of mixed voice, when in actuality, they just have never found it.
What is mixed voice, or Mix? This is the most critical factor to whether or not your singing will achieve great results.
Common Definition of Mixed Voice
Commonly, voice teachers defined mixed voice as a voice quality that is somewhere in-between full voice and falsetto in tonal intensity, and it’s used in and around the break area in a singer’s range.
So, from low to high notes in order, singers would use chest voice in low notes, then mixed voice in the high notes approaching and through the break, and finally head voice in the super high notes after the break.
However, there is a school of thought that defines Mix as a tone quality that’s used throughout the entire range with a split resonance that goes behind the soft palette(yawning sensation/head voice) and straight out of the mouth(belt sensation/chest voice) simultaneous.
Wherever you are in your range, Chest and head resonance are both present. It’s just a matter of proportion – in low notes, chest resonance dominates with a little head resonance hanging, whereas in high notes, it’s vice versa.
Superiority and Advantages of Mix
There are a lot of advantages of singing Mix that surpass any other singing methods, and I will list a few below:
1. One connected voice throughout the range
You will have the same tone quality, without having to switch to falsetto in the upper range. Those high notes that you usually sing with falsetto could be sung with a solid voice.
2. Finesse and power while you sing.
Usually, you have one or the other, but with Mix, you could have both.
That comes from “mixing” the power of chest voice(forward singing/belt) and the finesse and beauty of head voice(behind the soft palette/head voice) in a split resonance.
That’s a very special voice quality a singer could have.
3. Most efficient breath control while you sing.
Since training a singer to sing Mix is all about balance and coordination of the singing muscles, you learn to use a very small amount of air to sing loud volumes (without losing beauty and finesse) and long phrases with very little effort. (I can sing 7-8 bars in one breath, e.g. arias “Every Valley” and “Il Mio Tesoro. I couldn’t do that before).
4. Singing becomes extremely easy.
I used to sound very breathy and soft with no power and ran out of breath with anything longer than 2 bars.
Plus, singing the not-so-high notes were always strained for me. Mix is the only technique that solved almost all of my singing problems.
Disadvantages and Shortcomings of Mix
As much as I love Mix and highly recommend it to everyone who want to learn how to sing, I do think that it still has it’s shortcomings and imperfections:
1. Not many teachers know how to teach Mix.
I know there’s a lot of people teaching it, but those are the same group of people that gives Mix a bad name.
There’s a lot of subtle nuances and detailed adjustment in the training of Mix.
From my experience, many teachers just don’t have the right ears to accurately evaluate and train voices to sing Mix.
But if once you’ve found the right teacher and a great program, your singing will reach a level beyond your wildest imagination.
2. When you can’t find the Mix, progress and improvement are slow(if any).
While this method makes singing very easy, learning and properly applying it could be very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if the teacher is mediocre or bad.
3. BAD NEWS – it’s extremely difficult to learn Mix on your own.
Given that Mix is all about balance and coordination, instead of bodybuilding, the subtle nuances, technical maneuvers, and internal feelings are very counter-intuitive for most people.
You need an external pair of ears(the right pair, of course) to tell you what you’re doing wrong and correct it.
4. When it goes bad, the high notes are basically falsetto.
Vocal Coach Ken Templin(formerly trained in SLS/Mix) criticized this singing school for encouraging early bridging – transitioning to head voice too soon while ascending the range while singing, resulting in soft and whimpy high notes.
Honestly, yes, it could be when you’re doing it wrong(sometimes for a long time- tragic!).
My Final Conclusion about Mix
Now I’ve presented the positive and negative sides of this Mix singing technique.
With all those being said, I firmly believe Mix is currently the best singing method in the world. You just need to find the right teachers to learn from, and they are expensive.
However, I encourage you to take at least one or two lessons per year with one of the master teachers of Mix.
Another great choice that will save you some money is to find an online singing program that teaches Mix. I highly recommend Roger Love’s Singing Academy. He calls it the Middle Voice, which he demonstrates and teaches excellently in his program.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks!