Troubles with balancing registers

Problems with balancing registers arise when the head and chest registers are sensorily not led through the same path. The voice cracks on the transition tones and suddenly changes its intensity and quality. The only way to resolve this problem is to direct the head and chest registers onto a common level. When you achieve this, the problems of transition tones and registers seem to almost miraculously disappear.

If this explanation seems too generic and difficult to understand, the following more detailed explanation may help. Typically, when students sing in the chest register they "drop" their resonance form and when transitioning to the head register they lose the anchoring on the diaphragm.

The audible voice change (called a voice break) is merely a consequence of the fact that the diaphragm work was suddenly replaced by cavity work and vice versa. In short, the student works only with the diaphragm or only with the cavities. To eliminate register transitions it is vital that even the highest tones are anchored on the diaphragm and that even the lowest tones exit through "open cavities". This feels like keeping an imaginary door open, which enables the smooth mixing of registers. If, for example, the voice tears away from the diaphragm when ascending to a higher position, the imaginary doors slam shut and the effortless path back is lost. On the other hand, if the voice falls when descending to lower positions, the result is the same: the chance to return effortlessly to the original position is lost. You must never sing in an isolated register. A properly trained voice must always contain both registers in a ratio that continually changes according to the pitch of the sung tones.


If the student is coached well, register transition problems should gradually subside as the head and chest registers come closer together toward a ideal common path.

But if the problems continue (caused by an insufficient resonance form in the chest register or an unanchored head register), it is necessary to do certain exercises that will show the students where they make the mistakes.


As you have surely noticed, for practicing the enunciation and holding of vowels I have intentionally included exercises in a high voice position (in which the head register should dominate), then several ones in a low voice position (in which the chest register should dominate for most children) and then several exercises where one alternates between both positions. This should help the children become aware of the different ways these tones are formed and help them try to balance the sounds of these positions (whether we like it or not, the vocal cords work differently when singing different tones, so we must give them a chance to transition smoothly).

Imagining a unified sound helps balance the registers. This mental image makes the diaphragm remain present in the sung tone in the high voice position, and on the contrary, the yawning sensation should remain present in the low voice position.