#NMTVotW: Belting, part 2
As promised in my previous NMT belting post, there’s a lot more to belting than can be said in one post. In that previous post, we discussed that belting has to come at the appropriate time in a song.
To become #NMTfamous, though, belting cannot be thought of separately from mixing. You probably already know the difference, but since everyone thinks of it a little differently, here’s my definitions:
Belting – stretching your chest voice past its normal point of comfort into a range that would normally be sung in headvoice; generally unhealthy; sounds stronger
I can’t speak for everyone, but most people learn belting before they learn mixing because it’s “easier” (<-note: belting is not easy!). It’s easier to not switch voices as you’re going up to the notes you’re only used to singing in head voice than it is to maintain the same power but allowing a little bit of head voice into the mix.
You should never learn to belt or mix on your own – you’ll likely experience vocal trauma by learning bad habits. Even professional singers get serious vocal injuries by belting. Everyone has differences in their voices that will mean you’ll learn these techniques differently.
I found my mix voice by doing a lot of warm-ups that required me to switch from chest voice to head voice. A lot of warm ups. I learned to belt by doing those same warm ups, but not allowing myself to switch. Others have learned these methods by listening to videos and trying to match the tone quality of various singers as they belt or mix. Some people are metaphor people who learn when their teachers give them a reference point to think about. There are multiple methods out there, and it’s up to you and your voice teacher to find the one that will work for you.
Most people associate new musical theatre with belting, but mixing is rarely talked about. In actuality, both of these are a must for getting your chops up to the #NMTfamous level. Famous mixers are Kate Shindle, Krysta Rodrigeuz, Courtney Wolfson, Sutton Foster, Idina Menzel. Wait, you say: Those are belters! Exactly. Most consider “Let it Go” to be a belter’s paradise, but Idina is soaring effortlessly between mixing and belt to produce this sensational song.
The point I’m trying to make is that belting and mixing should be two tricks to keep in your bag.