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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Basics: What is Register Break? Achieving a Multi-Octave Range

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Having adequate range
to express yourself is very important.
When you're singing a song, in order to
build dynamic,
it's more than helpful, at the point of
build to use more range.
If you stay in a smaller range, you wanna
build dynamic and
build the feeling and it actually the, the
audience is waiting for that lift.
I'm sure you've experienced this listening
to other singers as well.
And that, the lift in dynamic is expressed
in a majority of the time with a range
So, if your range feels small,
Or you're not sure about one aspect of
your range, some people are, are more
comfortable with their upper range, some
people are more comfortable with their
lower range, and I would say that probably
the majority, this may include you,
are more comfortable with the range that's
around the speaking voice.
Cause we use our speaking voice more often
usually than we sing.
So, these are sounds that we're accustomed
to using and
accustomed to hearing ourselves use.
And then when you go out of that,
it's like taking yourself out of the
comfort zone.
Aside from it not necessarily being the
comfort zone, as you
try to use an extended range, the muscles
of your voice also need to be exercised.
If they aren't exercised properly, usually
what a singer will do
is force them to do things that if they
were developed to do,
they'd do it for you easily and naturally
not being developed the force actually
ends up making it more difficult and
by using force to sing higher, or get a
fuller sound.
This wears the muscles out, so eventually,
that road leads towards what I call vocal
blowout, where
the voice is reducing in its efficiency
ability to work for you and the result is
hoarseness, stiffness.
The full result of that would be no voice
at all, and needing to recover from that.
That also can lead towards what are called
nodes, which are little,
calluses that form on the inside of the
rims of your vocal folds.
And then, when they need to have, you
know, close in order to vibrate and
lie there, those bumps keep them from
assuming the position that they need to,
so there can be areas of singing that are
very tough.
It can lead to a lot of vocal discomfort,
a perpetually hoarse voice and I don't
want you to end up with that.
So, we're taking all the steps necessary
to ensure that
your voice stays healthy and expands
rather than reduces.
There's an earlier lesson that I gave you,
that, what I'm going to explain also
refers back to.
And that lesson is head voice, chest
voice, what's it all about?
If you skipped that lesson,
I'd like you to find it and listen to what
I have to say there.
Some of the elements that I discussed in
that lesson I'll bring forward to put
together into what we're, we're about to
do with these next vocal exercises.
In order to get into these next vocal
exercises, there are several components
that you've been practicing that need to
be totally fine.
Of course, you can guess it, that your rib
The elimination of I'd say about 85, at
least 85% of any
stomach tension or attempt to use the
belly to try to get sound.
If you have not achieved that level of
proficiency, I want you to
continue working with the earlier vocal
exercises towards that result.
The third component, very important for
what we're about to do
is that you're able to keep your jaw open
and still without using your hand.
And again, if you haven't achieved that,
that's okay.
Just keep working with the earlier vocal
exercises until you do, and
at that point, with the rib expansion and
the stomach relaxation, you've got the
outer instrument
this phrase is weird but under your thumb
so to speak, you're in control of it.
And the inner instrument, which really is
the main part of your voice,
will be able to function freely for you.
And then will be able to accomplish the
range expansion and
achieving a multi-octave voice.
I've taught now, tens of thousands of
singers around the world with all kinds of
all kinds of accents, coming from all
of other different languages than English.
Cultural differences in sound.
Backgrounds in terms of variation of prior
techniques used in singing.
And the, the one thing that tends to be
the biggest, one of the biggest mm,
points of concern, has to do with what's
called register break.
Register break, is if you're not familiar
with the term,
has to do with your singing.
Or you know, some how, I'm pretending that
[LAUGH] Your voice sort of breaks on a
note, or you,
you lose the consistency of the sound of
your voice and it gets suddenly weak.
There's an, an area of usually about three
notes in the,
between what, huh, I hate using these
words but
you might think of it this way between
head and chest voice.
Or your lower range and your upper range,
there's those few notes where the voice
gets weak, uncontrollable you know, what I
So that we'll call register break.
You don't have to get fancy and
figure out all these maneuvers in order to
somehow mask it.
It's the result of very simple elements
that we're gonna work on getting rid of.
The first is, if you've got that kind of
situation going on with your range,
and singing, it's the result of lack of
development of your voice muscle-wise.
So that the muscles are not able, they
just haven't been exercised properly.
You might have been using your voice a
But that doesn't mean that you've
exercised the fundamental
aspects of how the muscles need to work?
That's one.
Register break occurs when there's too
much effort of air
underneath the vocal folds and
that pressure keeps them from being able
to change positions that they need,
need to do in order to continue vibrating
faster and faster.
Like any string instrument, when your
singing lower,
like, say around your speaking voice
pitches and below.
The full-length of your vocal folds will
Singing below your speaking voice, they
actually fatten up.
They're, it's an amazing tool, amazing
instrument, and
the muscles in the vocal folds fatten them
That allows your vocal folds to vibrate
As you increase your range, the vocal
folds need to vibrate faster and faster.
In order to do that, they zip up or
if you're, If you play a string
instrument, you fret the strings that, and
that shortens the length of the string
permitting them to vibrate faster.
Also with the string instrument, the
strings get thinner, so it's thinner,
shorter, gives, permits faster vibration.
The faster vibrations are your upper
With our voice, the vocal folds also need
to tilt down,
little by little by little, in order to
stretch and thin more.
They can't just stretch straight back.
So they have to go down a little bit.
If you have too much air pressure, it
pushes them out of position, and
they have a tough time.
So register break is where there's too
much pressure, it builds up,
it builds up, it builds up.
Your vocal folds need to tilt, they can't
because of that air pressure.
And all the sudden, the air, the,
the surrounding muscles that are sort of
holding everything back,
meaning the air, like a dam, has to
release, at that moment.
The vocal folds go down, boink, instead of
a smooth transition.
And that extra air pressure blasts
That's what's weakening the voice.
So, implementing rib cage expansion,
you're getting at this stage, I would
You're implementing it, and you're getting
accustomed to what it feels like not
having that extra pressure against your
vocal folds from too much air.
And allowing the diaphragm to actually
regulate the air.
It does take getting accustomed to.
If you're used to certain sensations,
you kind of expect to have those same
sensations going on and on and on.
And in that way we end up perpetuating
problems without intending to, of course.
But I'm try, working on getting you
accustomed to different sensations so
you can start forecasting what that's
going to be for yourself?
And that opens up new doors, and it also
connects with an earlier
lesson that we went over that I called
Having the What if Approach.
In order to achieve a multi-octave range
we have to exercise the vocal
muscles which we can only properly do if
the air stream is correctly regulated.
And as I've said many times now that gets
achieved by the rib cage expansion.
And not pushing your belly in as you're
The other element that assists is keeping
the jaw open and still, so
you aren't ending up using muscles that
have to do with moving the jaw.
Which are contrary to the muscle actions
needed to occur internally
to assist in the creating of your voice,
the sound of your voice.
These next exercises will work with that.
And that is why I've given you the three
things most important
to achieve prior to getting into these
Alert, alert, [LAUGH] make sure that
you've accomplished that
before you get into these next exercise.
Because then having accomplished those
elements and
able to apply it, you'll get tremendous