Voice cracks can go away if you take the time to prepare correctly as a singer. One thing I often noticed growing up around singers is the embarrassment of the dreaded voice crack. All throughout my high school days, I’d hear about this singer cracking during recitals, and that singer cracking during a college audition.
Everyone had this fascination and fear going on at the same time when it came to voice cracks, and boys, going through puberty, had it the worst. It especially affected guys that had a higher range, also known as tenors, as their voices were going through many changes in the early and mid-teen years.
I used to chock the whole idea of a voice crack up to puberty, thinking that it only hit guys who were turning into men. Unless I was coming down with a cold, I didn’t think my voice would be at risk. And when I was having a cold or experiencing some extreme allergies, I’d enjoy hearing the weird sounds of my voice cracking while singing around the house. I was having fun, and I thought it was nothing that I’d ever have to worry about. I mean sure, I get nervous here and there and hit a few wrong notes, might forget some of the lyrics, but I’d never experience a voice crack.
Everything changed when I was performing a song in my mid-20s, and let out a big and beautiful crack in front of a church solo while trying to go for a high note. Turns out, there are many reasons a voice can crack while you’re singing, one of them being ‘too shy to hit the note fully’. I was afraid of this note, didn’t know whether I wanted to hit it full force or in a soft tone, so it came out as a sad attempt at both. While I was nervous and embarrassed, I was immediately thinking in my head about what I can do to avoid this happening ever again.
There are several things that can cause your voice to crack when you sing or even speak. The most common reasons are that you didn't warm your voice up well, you're not hydrated, you are trying to sing at a difficult volume, your breath support isn't at its best, or you're simply going through puberty.
If you’re about to perform, especially in the morning before you’ve spoken much at all, it is an absolute must to go through vocal warm-ups to avoid voice cracks. Morning time is when your voice is at most risk of cracking since it was resting for so long while you were sleeping. The last thing you would want to do is put your voice to work before it stretches first.
Without proper lubrication on your vocal cords, you are at risk of cracking and possibly damaging your voice. As a singer, you should be on top of your game when it comes to drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re one of those people who are bored by plain water, try drinking sparkling water or tea before singing as an alternative. While other drinks like juices and sodas are better than drinking nothing, you really want to get as close as possible to the pure stuff in order to take care of your instrument. A dry vocal passage means dry and ashy notes that can easily turn into cracks!
Don’t be like me and not have a plan for the volume that you’re singing at. Half-stepping a note that is supposed to come out full force is an easy way to come out of your mouth with a full-on voice crack. The same idea goes for the reverse problem: trying to follow up a really powerful note with a soft note can be tricky if you haven’t practiced the phrase. Be sure you are well-prepared to sing your song at the volume levels you will be performing. Only practicing a song under your breath that you plan to sing very powerfully is not the best idea.
Related Post: Best Times And Environments To Practice Singing
Similar to volume control, your breath control or lack thereof can really put you at risk of a voice crack. Holding a long note that you didn’t have enough breath to make through is an easy way to crack at the tail end of a note. While it isn’t as embarrassing as outright cracking on the whole thing, it’s still avoidable with proper breathing techniques. You want to make sure you’re breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not doing quick shoulder/head-heavy breaths that don’t engage your entire body.
Related Post: Get Better At Breathing With Breath Marks When Singing.
Passagio translates to "passage", which is a good term to describe the passing between vocal registers when singing. The more common term in non-classical styles for passagio is your vocal break. There are three general vocal registers that males and females have regarding the singing voice. Your vocal break or passagio lies in the transition between each of these voices. If you don't transition smoothly enough, you may experience voice cracking. Learn more about the passagio in my post here.
This one is for young men in their teens learning the ropes as a vocalist at a fresh age. Firstly, I’m proud of you for even reading this! The more you consume knowledge on your craft and practice, the better you’ll be! It’s also great that you’re getting a head start and learning this while you’re young. Don’t get too caught up in your voice cracks if they’re a result of puberty, just push through it and know you won’t be having this problem for too long. Be proud of your cracks, it’s a sign that your voice is developing into a wider range people will surely swoon and be jealous over soon enough.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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