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Light mixed voice is one of the most sought-after abilities by singers. This skill enables singers to sing with a chest-voice like tone in their upper range without having to belt or yell for it. Given the apparent effortlessness of light mix, most singers miss the counter-intuitive secret of developing this voice coordination: vocal strength training.

Why Does Light Mixed Voice Require Strength?

In light mixed voice, the vocal cords are resisting airflow with greater intensity than they do when producing head voice. This added pressure on the vocal cords can fatigue the voice quickly if the proper strength has not been developed. Additionally, a lack of strength in light mix often results in a raised larynx, which produces strain and makes the voice sound choked.

Building Vocal Strength

Vocal strength-building is very similar to strength building at the gym. If you’ve never done a bicep curl, then you don’t begin with 60-pound dumbbells. You need to start with a lighter weight and learn the proper form. However, once you master the proper form, then you need to add more weight to make real progress. No one curling one-pound weights will get very strong. It is the same with singing.

Eliminate Strain then Build Strength

Vocal strength-building done incorrectly often causes voice disorders. The part that many singers get wrong is that they try to sing powerfully before eliminating strain. That’s why we talk about letting go of strain and developing ease so frequently at Singing Success.

However, too many singers get stuck in the eliminating strain phase, even after they’ve developed good technique. This is where another problem arises. Once you have the proper form, you need to add vocal weight! You won’t be able to sing in a light mix with ease and control if you don’t develop strength beyond that coordination. In other words, developing a fuller mix will help your lighter mix.

How to Develop Vocal Strength

Vocal edge exercises are the most direct way to strengthen the muscles required for a good mixed voice. Mastering these exercises will make a remarkable difference in the ease and control you have over your light mixed voice.

One word of warning: most singers do not have the discernment to know whether they are adding vocal weight properly or if they’re straining, so my best recommendation is that singers take some lessons to ensure they’re doing it properly. If you do it on your own, just make sure you don’t strain when adding vocal weight through edge exercises.


Benny Meza is a Master Associate at Brett Manning Studios in Nashville, TN. He’s taught over 7,000 vocal lessons and has worked with clients from Warner Music, RCA, Universal Music Group, and many others.

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Benny Meza

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