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


Just What Are My Vocal Folds Doing During Warm-Up?

All Voice Experts advocate warm-up exercises. The lack of a proper warm-up may contribute to vocal fatigue and even dysfunction in singers as well as anyone that uses the voice throughout the day. Poorly warmed-up voices are less durable and less sustainable!

What happens to the vocal folds during the warm-up?

Since the vocal folds contain muscle tissues as a major component they depend on efficient blood circulation in order to retain good function and viscosity. Good circulation is stimulated by a well-planned and methodical warm-up. All great athletes rely on efficient and optimal muscle function and therefore warm up their muscles as part of their initial exercise.

Just how does one warm up the voice? Believe it or not, it can be achieved in much the same way one prepares the body for a work out. This warm up includes:
• Full body movements to activate the breath, bring natural movement to the diaphragm and bring circulation to the pharynx and larynx
• Massage the jaw and facial muscles
• Gentle onsets with soft phonation using resonators
• Begin phonation with the head voice, then mixed register voice and finally chest voice
• Distinguish the articulators from the resonators by working: mouth, tongue, jaw, hard palate, etc.
• Integrate consonants with vowels and transition to forming words