|Originally published: August 25, 2020|
Updated: April 16, 2021
Everyone Can Learn to Belt
Did you know that belting is a combination of several finely-balanced skills? Many aspects of your singing technique need to be in place before you can do it. To get really technical, belting is a special kind of chest-dominant mix (a mix is where both the “thickening” as well as the “stretching” muscles of the vocal folds are engaged at the same time). Belting results from a high closed quotient in the vibration of the vocal folds. That means as they do their open-close routine, the amount of time the vocal folds are together is more than the time they spend apart. A singer really needs freedom from vocal tension and just the right air flow to pull it off.
Belting comes naturally to some singers, but for many, it can be somewhat illusive. In order to belt, you must first be able to sing in your head register with a bright and resonant sound (i.e. not breathy or wimpy). Your voice must be flexible, and not “locked in” to your lower register. You must, however, be able to sing in your chest (lower) register, not just on your lowest notes, but also on medium pitches, all the while being tension free and with brilliant resonance ensuring that it not be a “heavy” chest voice sound, but rather a “light” chest sound that will be more conducive to mixing.
Teachers will spend a lot of time working on breathing, resonance and getting rid of tension as they guide their singers to a true belt sound. This is why “belting” isn’t just one thing that you can learn to do in a day. It is the culmination of a whole lot of techniques. And yes. You can absolutely do it. Anyone with a healthy larynx can.
|To learn more about foundational singing techniques required for belting, upgrade and take Kerri Ho’s course Guided Vocal Training – Month 1|
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Kathy Alexander is VP of Curriculum for Singdaptive. She was a staff writer for 6 years at VoiceCouncil Magazine and works for the University of Victoria as a practicum supervisor. Kathy is also a singer, vocal coach and choir director. Career highlights include guest appearances in Europe with Quannah Parker jazz fusion band in Norway, and back on the West Coast with Vision TV’s Let’s Sing Again, The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victoria International Jazz Festival.