Seamless Passaggio Tips

There is so much conflicting information on the ‘Registers’ of the Human Voice! Be it speaking, theatrical, or singing the terminology and methodology of the vocal mechanism can be an intimidating subject to grasp.

Effective Exercises for Creating Seamless Singing or Evening Out Registers…

  • Always warm-up! Activate your bodymind by moving! Singing is a full body, contact sport that is most productive if attention is given to engaging the whole singer.
  • Activate breathing for singing. There are many ways to do this & you need to discover what works best for you. To allow the abdominal muscles to release as air flows in and out, you might try:
  • leaning against a wall with knees soft, hips and shoulders flat, head floating above
  • lying on the floor.
  • Add sound to breath. Manage the breath by adding fricative consonants in rhythmic patterns to reinforce abdominal control of the stream of air.
  • Add pitch to breath, imprecise to specific – descending first.
    • Sighs, lip trills, rolled “r”. Then sigh down & back up until transitions are smooth.
    • Start comfortably high and slide down in a five-note pattern then back up to the starting pitch. Aim for a consistent timbre throughout the exercise. When the voice feels like it wants to switch or fall into a different ‘register’ do a few more, but try to keep it smooth for a few notes below what feels comfortable.
    • Flip your slide pattern upside down starting comfortably low then ascending through your upper range.
  • Sing your normal stuff!
  • When you are done with rehearsal or practice, REVERSE THESE STEPS to cool the voice down.

Current scholarship proposes that register shifts/lifts/ breaks are simply a matter of imbalanced muscle development. These slides are similar to lifting weights to balance the strength of the muscles that change the length of the vocal folds to facilitate changes in pitch. Do these things every day and you will hear (or not hear) 🙂 a difference!

‘Til next time!

Melissa Shallberg


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Melissa Shallberg

Melissa Shallberg holds a Master of Music Education and Therapy from University of Kansas. She serves as a member of the staff of the Institute for Healthy Singing with the William Baker Choral Foundation conducting workshops and seminars on the science behind the voice. She also currently serves as Vocal Coach for Una Vocis Choral Ensemble in Mason City, Iowa and maintains a private voice studio specializing in the teen girl's changing voice.

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