Why Does Your Voice Crack When Singing? Will It Hurt Your Voice?
Voice cracking is one of the most embarrassing that can happen to you as a singer.
Your voice may crack for different reasons.
If you are going through puberty, around 11-16 for girls and around 10-17 for boys, a cracking voice is a part of everyday life.
Your voice is growing and this includes your throat, neck, larynx, vocal folds and all the components that make up your voice.
As you get bigger physically, your brain struggles to coordinate with your instrument/voice (because now it’s bigger than before).
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do about it.
Think of your voice as a software update that is installing in your body. It is not going to sound perfect while it is still ‘loading’.
Solution: Be patient and wait out the process. Use your time now to develop correct vocal technique that will serve you well when your voice has finished growing.
Not blending registers well
Your vocal range is how high and how low you can sing. Your range can be divided into different parts called registers.
Your voice is naturally heavier/warmer in your lower register (chest voice) and lighter/breathier in your upper register (head voice).
Your larynx (voice box) and the ligaments inside it need to change to a different position for you to sing higher and lower. This changes the length of the vocal folds/vocal cords.
When you sing low notes, your vocal folds are shorter and thicker. When you sing high notes, the folds get longer and thinner.
If this change in laryngeal position and vocal folds length/thickness is not done smoothly, your voice will crack.
Solution: Apply the open throat concept techniques when you sing.
Dysphonia: swelling, nodules
When we sing, our vocal folds come together and the air from our lungs vibrate them at the frequency of the pitch that we are singing.
Vocal damage due to overuse/abuse/misuse and tension in your throat can make your voice crack.
At the beginning stages, your vocal folds could just be swollen.
If you keep pushing your voice instead of resting it, you will end up with nodules on your folds.
When swelling or nodules occur, your vocal folds will not come together properly. This makes it hard for them to vibrate normally and voice crack will happen.
Solution: Apply the open throat concept techniques when you sing. If your voice is sore/tired, REST!
Note too high
If you are singing out of your range or the note is too high for you to sing well, then your voice will crack.
Your vocal folds get longer when you sing high. Ligaments in your larynx will be stretching the folds. If those ligaments are not strong enough or if they are pushed too far, your vocal folds will not vibrate properly - making your voice crack.
Solution: Pick songs that are within your range. Avoid singing too close to the extreme end of your upper register (avoid singing too high).
If it feels like you are straining, you probably are. If you have to sing the same high notes many times in a song, make sure it is a note that you can sing repeatedly without burning out your voice.
Go here to find out how to choose the right song for your voice.
Vocal folds not closing well
When we sing, our vocal folds come together (adduct) and the air from our lungs vibrate them at the frequency of the pitch that we are singing.
If you are a high voice or have not had much formal vocal training, you may not know how to adduct your vocal folds well.
This can cause voice cracking.
Solution: Doing onset exercises will help.
Not having an open throat (not enough space, too much tension)
There are five parts of our voice that we control to get more space - so we can sing with more freedom and projection without having to try so hard.
This is called the open throat concept.
It is the foundation of Classical and contemporary/modern singing.
If you do not do the techniques in the concept when you are singing, or if you do them the wrong way, you will have tension in your throat and neck.
It will be hard for you to blend your registers and sing with a clear tone/sound.
Voice cracks can happen because of that.
Solution: Check out your free Singing Confidence Training Package to find out more about the open throat concept.
Supporting your voice with the right amount of breath is absolutely essential if you do not want your voice to crack.
You voice may crack if you push too much air out when you are singing. High breath pressure happens and your vocal folds will not vibrate properly.
Too little breath may also cause voice crack but it is less common.
Solution: Do breathing exercises daily. The complete breathing technique for singing is covered in the Singing Confidence Academy.
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