How to Sing Through Vocal Break / Passagio / Don’t Pull Chest

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How to Bridge the Vocal Break / Singing Through Passagio / Don’t Pull Chest

In this episode, master vocal coach Kevin Richards explains and shows you a way to sing through what is commonly referred to as the “vocal break” or passagio.

Technically the passagio doesn’t really exist; it’s not a “thing” or some dark tunnel in your range you have to navigate, but is an imbalance between vocal fold tension (the pull on the cords to stretch to higher pitches) and breath compression (the amount of pressure your exhaled air is exerting on the vocal folds).

The vocal “break” is really an area of resonance where it transitions from a throat/mouth dominate sound to a mouth/sinus resonant sound. If the balance between cord tension and breath compression is not correct, the voice sounds like it does a ‘flip’ or ‘change of gear’ into a weaker and thinner head voice or falsetto tone. This problem can be fixed quickly if you know the process and the path of navigating your resonances.

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VIDEO PLAYLISTS:
Vocal Warm Ups:
Performance Tips:
Fixing Vocal Breaks:
Bridging to Head Voice:
Breath Support:
Head Voice Techniques:
Advanced Vocal Technique:

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34 thoughts on “How to Sing Through Vocal Break / Passagio / Don’t Pull Chest”

  1. Louie Kem Babaran

    Can I ask a question? sometimes when I’m warming up when I get to my first and second bridge w/c is an F to A after middle C, after I add some pharyngeal my voice starts to rasp and I can’t make it stop! Why is that?

  2. Thanks for all your videos. I study “classical” style voice and it’s fascinating how the information you provide crosses over from rock to a more open type of sound production. I’ve watched quite a few videos on youtube on voice and I don’t think I’ve come across anyone else who has the kind of depth of understanding you have about healthy vocal production *and* is able to articulate it clearly. Awesome work!

  3. hi. As a baritone my voice is naturally deeper, they are very rich and dark when i sing. I was wondering what do i need to train in order to get a  brighter tone and if i needed to sing in my “mask” in order to achieve this.thanks you.

  4. Kevin, great video. I love how you said “lower resonance and higher resonance” as opposed to head voice and chest voice. One voice.

  5. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    One voice with many resonances. The term “chest voice” is a misnomer as nothing resonates in the chest – its just a sympathetic vibration.

  6. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    Thanks Matthew. I was taught by a classical child prodigy who translated classical teachings to Rock singing. I’ve carried on his torch.

    There are other coaches on YouTube who know there stuff but I do feel I have a better knack at translating complex information so everyone can understand it.

  7. Sounds like you’re going from G3 to G4…

    My voice is breaking at E3, so is it better to drop it down a bit and practice from F3 to F4?

    And is it important to keep the same volume and not go louder to make the top note?

  8. You mention that it is a “woah” sound, but it sounds to me like a “wo-oh”.

    Is it more of an “ohhhh” sound rather than “ahhhhh” sound?

  9. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    Thats how “woah” is spelled phonetically but for the exercise you are keeping the closed “oh” sound

  10. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    volume is a choice not a necessity for notes. Keep the volume as level as possible.

  11. Clinton cavosora

    When I do it like that I have no air to out I mean I have no more air in my diaphragm to out.! How that happened? I have trouble to sing little high notes because of that?

  12. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    go to my channel playlists about “breathing”. you have trouble controls your exhale of air.

  13. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    it takes time and lots of practice, stick with it. the more you do it the better it gets.

  14. I’ve been recording some clips of my voice with decent gear and my chest voice stuff up to midway up the 4th octave sounds ok but when I go into mixed voice it sounds very weak. It sounds weaker on the recording than it does it my head but is that just me or do you need to treat recorded mixed voice differently, using different EQ or compression settings? Or would the problem be more likely to be because of technique?

  15. I think I finally get this now. What made me understand it was the laryngial tilt and opening the back of the throat, just like this o-shape. So I visualize that I gently “lead” the note through the passagio and the o-shape in the back of the mouth. All of a sudden I’m in my falsetto. From there, I can just add some twang and lead the note right to the head to get that nice piercing head voice resonance. 

    I’m not sure if I understand the laryngial tilt fully yet, but I do visualize that the “lump” on my larynx is tilting up and down and not the whole larynx. Just the front, just lightly. And what’s interesting is that it seems impossible to do without proper breath support or without getting the tongue out of the way. Keeping that open throat. Because if breath support is not there, the throat as a whole tries to absorb the pressure from the air. And that makes the whole larynx rise and lots of muscles around the neck start engaging. Am I getting this correctly?

    The real key seems to be not to go too fast forward. Everyone wants to learn as fast as possible. But this is about the mind as well, not just physical muscles and muscle memory. Every time I advance in some technique, I like to go back to the very basics. Because I get a better idea of how the whole machinery works. And getting a solid foundation really seems to be key. 

  16. Thank you Kevin, I believe that your video has helped me understand how to do this 🙂 It’s like every note has it’s own acoustics and it changes slightly… I feel like the “chest” “head” and “falsetto” voices conceptually were a part of my “pushing”.

    Now I feel like I’m traversing my passagio fluidly with this exercise, but I was wondering if you had more tips on how you “opened” up the sound like you did in the video. I try it, but it doesn’t feel very powerful. Perhaps it will get better with more time and practice.

  17. Well done Kevin. I like the point you keep making that refers to the narrowing of the acoustic energy, instead of “splatting” as you go higher. Which in turn, amplifies the formant. A good coach that knows what he is talking about, not SS who are clueless but put on a good BS story to trick customers. Cool artsy B&W. http://www.TheFourPillarsofSinging.com.

  18. Great video Keven !
    I’ve got to go back to the basics after getting Ken Tamplins vocal course & doing it wrong. 🙁
    I started pulling chest to get a big sound, it left me very hoarse & my vocal break started coming back. ( his course was hard to understand after six months of learning SLS/SS )
    It helped me with breath support ( that SLS lacks ) & i’m sure it works if people can follow it better than i could lol.

    I’ve just started to get back into singing after 3 years off ( found it hard to sing after my Dad passed away ) But i’m back trying to master my voice again & videos like yours are of great help.

  19. Try any number of classical musical scales (you can easily find them with a simple online search) and see which notes on the bottom and which notes on the top are impossible for you to clearly sing.

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