Everything you read about vocal “breaks” is all about how to “fix it”, as if having a break in your voice means that there’s something broken with it.
Honestly, I was so frustrated with my break that I would end up writing songs that avoided it in one way or another. Every time I sang something around my break I put on my performance face, but inside I felt utter dread. I knew I could hit the notes, but I hated the way they sounded and felt. Yup, utter dread.
Can you relate?
So, when I met Jo Estill 25 years ago, our conversation went something like this:
“Jo, can you help me fix my vocal break”? I pleaded.
And in her characteristically dry humor she asked, “what makes you think it’s broken and needs fixing?”
“Well, because I get all breathy above it, and I don’t sound as rich as I do in my low range” , I want to have other options.
Her response turned my vocal world upside down:
“I could give you exercises that might make your ‘break’ go away. But, what if, instead of seeing your break as something ‘broken’, you discovered what was happening, and then used that information as a means of understanding your voice? What if, instead of panicking about your break, you looked at the differences between your physiology and that of voices that you’d like to emulate, and you learned how to make those physical changes instead?”
For those of you who knew Jo Estill, that’s the way her mind worked.
That conversation with Jo led to the discovery of NINE different choices that I could make around my “break”. Incidentally, none of those options included writing songs that avoided it, or feelings up utter dread.
Sometimes, we try to fix a “break” and we don’t even know what might be “broken” about it.
I took all of that information, and I put it into a workshop specifically designed to help voice students called: “Turn your vocal break into a vocal breakthrough”. In this workshop I present those nine options for approaching your vocal break. You get to be the one to decide which choice you’d like to use, depending on the style of music.
Maybe your “break” doesn’t mean your voice is “broken” after all?