27.7.22 –“Why does everyone have to belt?”
Rachel Lynes, Founder
Have you seen the Billie Eilish documentary?
This line struck a chord. I know it’s required for most MT numbers but… is there too much emphasis on big notes?
There’ll be as many singers here who love their belt, as those who dread it…
Because we all have different instruments.
Different size vocal folds, yes, but crucially different shape resonators which makes as much impact.
I’m all for expanding our limits but does the spotlight on ‘belting’ leave the rest of your range in the dark?
What about tone, exploring your lovely lower harmonics? Falling into musicality, bringing out the phrasing, blending with the backing track or band, playing with vowel sounds, allowing your emotions to colour and drive you?
Belting is exciting. It sounds primal. When done well, it connects with the same parts of us that we release in moments of high emotion and urgency.
The audience feel that, too.
But when it’s not working, it can feel like the song is drawing closer to the edge of a treacherous cliff.
In these moments, our bodies are not always helpful. Our sympathetic state ignites, our breath holds, our muscles tense.
As if ‘belt’ is an antagonist in a ring that you need to tackle to the floor.
In lessons, this can be a challenging state to work with. The body is not in a place to play.
In these moments, can we be unafraid to step back. To move the spotlight to the rest of the song, or to another song, or move it down a few tones?
Then let what we learn there, eventually spill out into belt notes that are now just another part of the road in your journey through the song…
That was an unintendedly long thought… But barely touching a big topic…
Rachel is the founder of The Sing Space, home of the Vocal Gym™.
The Sing Space was created by Vocal experts and industry leaders who came together to form the space they craved most as singers and coaches. We are recording artists and West End performers. We work with global superstars from Olivier and Tony award winners, and West End stars to No.1 selling artists like Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey.
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