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I am taking Singing lessons, and starting to read about Head Voice and Chest Voice. I was told to sing from the Diaphragm. Does this also mean I should

  1. start singing from the head and chest voice intentionally,
  2. or generally sing from the diaphragm and Naturally let chest and head voice come without thinking about it?

Resource:

https://www.aimm.edu/blog/head-voice-vs-chest-voice

Chest Voice - When you sing using your normal speaking register, or close to it, put your hand on your chest, and you will feel a vibration. If you have good airflow and are not straining, you should develop a warm tone that doesn't waver or crack.

Head Voice - When a singer starts reaching up to those higher notes, they may feel the sound and vibration in their head.

2 Answers 2

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You are overthinking this. A carpenter does not ask whether they should let their moves with a circular saw come naturally or intentionally. Of course an experienced singer will change registers mostly "naturally" but that kind of naturality takes a lot of practice.

The actual "natural" register change is your voice flipping involuntarily. That kind of naturality is not desired in singing, but "singing through the break", namely staying in pitch and articulation control reflexively while changing registers, is certainly part of the training regimen of singers. As is reducing the impact/change on tonal quality happening during the break.

A trained singer has a considerable latitude of where to change registers, and having the voice flip unexpectedly with large character change is about as likely as a gymnast falling over spontaneously while walking and breaking a limb. Does that mean that the singer or the gymnast are singing or walking unnaturally?

No. It means that they are trained and have better control, anticipation and reflexes.

That's not something you get to choose. It is a sideeffect of training and practice.

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"Singing from the diaphragm" applies equally to chest voice and head voice. It primarily means that you should use abdominal breathing rather than chest breathing, regardless what register you're in.

Achieving a smooth transition from chest to head voice is an important aspect of learning to sing, and you will probably spend a fair amount of time figuring out which notes to sing in what register, but you should always use proper breathing and try to get power from your abdomen rather than increasing tension in your neck and shoulders.

That said, have you asked your singing instructor? If you don't fully understand what they mean, they will hopefully have a better explanation than we do.

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  • so are you saying I should go with option 2 in my question, and not think about it, only think about the diaphragm?
    – mattsmith5
    Feb 6, 2022 at 15:17
  • I would suggest to focus on the diaphragm until you have made correct breathing a habit, at which point you can pay attention to the register; and to remind yourself of the diaphragm every time you feel you're struggling with high notes and tensing up. Also, listen to what your instructor is saying. That's what you pay them for. Feb 7, 2022 at 10:07

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