Belting isn’t that hard, and there are a lot of teachers who would be out of work if they told you that up front. Don’t let them fool you. In my 15 years of coaching, I’ve had maybe two students who took longer than five minutes, and they took about seven. Sure, it’s challenging to master belting. But learning it? Pffft. Just keep reading…
I’m going to show you how to belt in under five minutes. You heard me. Less than five minutes. This is not a scam, not a life hack, and it will not melt belly fat with this one weird trick.
You might wonder how I’m going to show you how to do something so difficult that fast. Here’s the secret: it isn’t difficult. At all. In fact, belting is actually very natural and, when done properly, is even a totally healthy form of singing.
I’ll give you an example. Listen to these tribal singers; listen to how natural this is:
Or, think about babies crying — how easily they wail with remarkable power and volume. These sounds are all natural expressions that our voices are supposed to make. We were designed to do it. As singers, we need to understand how to undo all the things that AREN’T natural so that we can just… be. And that’s what belting is all about.
Take a moment and think about everything you’ve ever heard about belting. Think of all the things people in your career have said or taught you about it.
Forget ALL of it. It has no place here.
Now we’re going to play a bit of pretend. Imagine you’re walking down the street, and some jerkface comes out of nowhere and swipes your purse, or your briefcase, or small dog, whatever. If that happened, you probably WOULDN’T react like this:
Because both of those are weird. Don’t ever do that.
What you WOULD do, more likely, is call out like this:
I want you to try that. Couple things, though:
1.NO raspiness (like this:)
and 2. NO grinding of your voice. Think of this as your “Calling Voice.” Okay, go ahead. Say “Hey, that’s mine!” like you MEAN IT.
Now, we’re going to try something else. Imagine that you are three years old and you’re MAD. Scrunch up that little girl toddler’s face and say your favorite word: NO! Like this:
Really go for it–there is no shame here, I can’t even hear you or see you. And even if I could, I’m the one telling you to do it, so no judgement from me. GO!
Awesome! Guess what? Now we’re going to sing like that. In the beginning, I call this your baby belt because it doesn’t really sound all that pretty. It will later, I promise, but today we have to know that we’re doing it RIGHT because that’s more important than doing it PRETTY. I want you to remember that always.
Doing it right is more important than doing it pretty.
So just trust me. Repeat after me:
Congrats. You just belted. And we still have time to spare! So that gives me time to explain what EXACTLY we just did so that you will always know how to find it.
Belting is singing in your calling voice which is just a louder version of your speaking voice. That’s it. You’ve probably been taught to sing with a very “open” space. I hate that term, but it’s a really common one, so we’ll just define it. What they’re trying to say with “open” space is that you need to sing with a raised soft palate, which is that squishy area of the roof of your mouth. You know, where the uvula is. Or, the scientific term: the hangy-down thingymabob.
And for legit singing (that’s the classical stuff), that is true! Because when your soft palate is raised, it blocks off the passageway into your nose so no sound can come out from there — which is fantastic to keep in mind if you intend to be an opera singer. Otherwise, it’s good to know where the soft palate is for body awareness because in belting, you aren’t going to raise that at all. If you do, you won’t be belting anymore which means you won’t be able to keep that sound all the way up high, you won’t be able to avoid all those pesky breaks in your voice, and you’ll probably feel really sore when you’re done.
With a raised soft palate — which feels the same as yawning — you are either singing in your chest register or your head register. I’m sure you’ve heard that terminology before. When the soft palate is in its neutral position (lowered) you are either belting or mixing. Or talking.
What’s cool is that as long as you are properly supporting your sound, you can belt all day long and not lose your voice or even feel the tiniest bit fatigued. The other super cool thing about belting is that when done properly, all those pesky breaks in your voice totally go away.
It’s like magic! Except that it’s actually science.