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Does belting damage your voice?

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Does belting damage your voice?

There are a whole lot of opinions about this.  The answer (to me) is a vague “it depends”.  The bottom line is any singing could hurt your voice depending on how you do it.  Belting in particular is a style/sound associated with  singing in the upper part of the chest voice.  When you are singing in the upper part of any register, chest/mixed/head/high, tension is possible and tension is the thing that hurts your voice.  Not the register you are singing in.  Not the note itself.  Tension is your enemy.  The reason that many pop singers get nodes, lose their voice or damage their chords is not because they are singing in their chest voice.  It’s because they are singing with poor technique.  They sing high notes with lots of tension and no support.  If you were singing classical or jazz or pop, the result is likely to be the same.  So why don’t classical singers get nodes?  Well, they do sometimes.  But between the pop and classical world, there’s a huge difference in education of the voice.

Here are a few major differences.  Most classical singers by the time they are professional have had between 6-10 years of consistent voice lessons.  They have had to take vocal pedagogy classes and learn about vocal health.  They probably have a degree or two in vocal performance.  They are singing hours a day and have been for the past 4-10 years.  They have been taught by usually retired professional opera singers.  Their repertoire has consisted of challenging and diverse arias and art songs.  Their stamina is great and their vocal technique is amazing.  Compare that to a pop singer.  While they could have had years of intense lessons, most pop singers that I’ve met and worked with haven’t.   Many don’t know about support or breath control.  They haven’t been taught or never understood it.  The thing to watch for when looking for a pop teacher is that many pop voice teachers don’t have legitimate training.   Always, always, always make sure your teacher has had good education and training.

It comes down to training and education, not register or pitch.  Many vocalists and teachers will disagree with me, but I am firm in believing that you can healthily sing any style.  Also, it’s important to note that I believe one singer can sing any and all styles they choose.  Pop singers often say they can’t sing opera/classical.  Classical singers say they can’t sing pop.  Most classical singers look negatively on the chest voice and pop in general, and are sure it will damage their voice.

Here’s the thing.  I have been singing both pop and classical for the last fifteen years.  Half of the studio work I get is classical and the other half is pop. I have never lost my voice, never had nodes, can belt up to a F5 and sing my lowest note,E3, in mixed.  My voice is stronger and healthier than it has ever been.  Yet, I have been told by dozens of other singers and teachers that I can’t be good at both.  I can’t be a pop and classical singer and do it well. It’s one or the other.  But that is NOT true. It’s a belief they adopted that someone told them.  But I’m here to tell you you can do whatever styles you want to do.  It takes a lot of practice and figuring out the styles and your voice but it is doable.  It takes support, solid technique, listening to your voice, good vocal/physical health, and treating your voice like a precious (yet hard working) instrument.  That is the good news.  The only limits on your voice are the ones you put on them.

So go sing whatever you want.  🙂

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