The Break

I’ll only touch on this briefly as its such a hot topic all the time.
The striation of tissue (that DOES NOT VIBRATE LIKE THE REST OF THE VOCAL CHORDS) has been affectionately called “the break” because it sounds like one. The lightness of the “head” voice stops and the “chest voice” begins right at a place in the middle.

At this exact point no sound happens for a 100th of a second and it seems, as the quality changes form head to chest, that one trips over, or clunks over or smoothes over or SMEERS over (this is when you cover it up and it seems as if its not there, which it still is, of course, anatomically speaking) something.

The vocal break.
Tarzan’s calling card!

The never never land right in the middle of your range.
For some its totally no big deal. A natural quality in the voice not to be worried over or studied. Some people play around with it, use it. Jump over it, pull and stretch it. No big deal!

For some its HELL!

If you are in hell with your break, and you get all scardy cat as you go up your range, like a jittery horse, knowing something you can’t possibly surmount is … coming SOON! And you start pulling your artistic punches, pulling back instead of choosing what’s right for the SONG, the LYRIC and your audience…. this blogs for you!

THE most important thing to remember is….just sing the song. Make that the most important point of focus.
Let your emotion and story telling ability lead the way. And…….(here it comes….)…………………….

…… relax.

Its just a song. You’re just singing. If we hear your break, guess what? We have one, too! So our body recognizes a natural phenomena when it hears one!

ALso, its not ugly OR pretty, it just IS. Its in your vocal anatomy so just get used to it.

To practice controlling the areas on either side of it…pin-point (on the piano) the notes just before it clunks and just after.
Be quiet, soft and relaxed as you plot your break. Allow the vibration to naturally break from one thickness of your vocal muscle to another. Give yourself a bit of time with this. You can do it.

Then practice and strengthen the three notes on either side of the break. In the lower head voice and the mid chest.
Then smeeeer over the break area just for fun… from the top (head) down and from the bottom (chest) up! Play around with these two area’s and get used to the feel of going over that striation of tissue! You’ll sound a bit ‘yoddely’ at first, it’ll bring out the country SANGER in you’all! Go ahead and be Tarzan and learn to love and control the “Oh my god isn’t my break right around here?” zone.

This is just one of MANY little ricks to get yourself nice and friendly with the break area.

Then you can CHOOSE to jump to your head voice (for men “falsetto”) from chest voice.
Or you can CHOOSE to extend, with a little effort, your chest voice. Stretching it past the break area. OR you can pull that falsetto bown below the usual breaking area and get a reall smokey, Mezzo sound.

This came up in a Skype session with a student from Florida yesterday so I thought I’d mention it! LEarning how to traverse the break area is simple part of learning to sing with me. Its never an issue.

Love to all and remember, just because someone once TOLD you you had a “middle voice” its anatomically confusing to say that around your body! Your body only knows whats REAL, not what’s conceptual. So stick with what the body already knows is natural and you’ll stop babying your voice so significantly.

Sing like a kid! Get over yourself!

SIng well and without any fear.

CIao for now.

This is Divy Nelson for

The Singers Daily
May 2009


Now, in this new season of my life, I’ve ended up with the friends I started out with. Even some from high school (thanks to Facebook!)

Some old friends have become new friends. We grew apart then came together again. Some of the newer ones are more like Brothers in Arms. Man what we’ve seen and been through… it’s quite a bond.

But mostly I’ve got the friends and family I started with…
The Long Haulers. Through thick and thin.

Everyone in between seems to have drifted or self-destructed. Either way, they’re gone.
Even if they’re breathing, we’re not friends. Even in the knowledge of Oneness we don’t connect.

That’s just the way it seems now.

Singing, then, saves my heart its breaking routine…over and over.
For I ‘ve had this thought for so long, of loyalty and platonic friendship being somehow sacred.
When they leave it breaks my heart.

I think that’s left over from the playground but I don’t know for sure.

Singing by myself I put these people, whom I thought comrades, into the lyric. I sing to them and for them.
Its a joy to bring myself to tears…while singing to them.

I’m so easy.

Somewhere, I convince myself, they must hear me. How could they not?
Such a plaintive, tearful rendition of “It Had To Be You” or “Smile”…
Or One of my original compositions written specifically for an old, departed (at least from MY life) pal.
Oh my god the tears doth flow. What a sap.

And after singing the requiem for them I FEEL BETTER!
I do!

Singing, just the physical/spiritual act, is so balancing and cleansing.
I pour my entire desire for them through the song and ‘poof’ I’m free…
free of the whole, heavy syndrome of
perceived loss.

Ahh the Daily Singer…that’s what I am. I sing daily and it heals me totally.
Why would anyone want to learn to sing?
Hmmmm Good question! To be famous?

For me its the only church in town. The one that travels with me.
But, on occasion, when I do sing in a church, I can really bring the house down,
knowing how much God sings to himself. Telling Himself its all worth it.
That we will all sing and heal and play in the garden together
once again…

and be friends.

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers Daily
May 2009

The Singers Daily

This blog will be about singing and voices and learning how to sing and keeping your voice healthy once you know how!
It will also be a forum, I hope, for questions to be answered and topics to be explored about your voice!

During private sessions and in vocal performance groups people usually ask really great questions. Most of the time we are so busy vocalizing and performing that answering these inquiries takes a back seat to the very practical focus on singing. So here I”ll try and address some of those radically cool questions and take my time doing it!

The only time I make super sure to take the time to really delve into the deeper end of the singing pool is when I’m facilitating a singer to become a Vocal Coach. We really get into it then. I think students would love to sit in on these training sessions sometimes. They’re pretty fascinating.

If you’re already a singer or a vocal student with me or with someone else ask questions anyway…its FREE!
Singing is NOT rocket science so, getting another opinion is smart….because,vocal coaches basically get it, and if they can EXPLAIN it and EXEMPLIFY IT for you clearly, YOU WIN! So do they…or they can talk about it in a way that confuses the HELL outa you and you wanna quit. That sucks. Everyone loses.

Anyway…this blog is a freebie!
My usual prices for answering vocal questions are quite a bit higher! Plus, I’ve been at this for about
28 years so, it miiiiight be worth it!


As far as I can tell on the topic of “talent”…
there is no such thing that I can find in anyone, anywhere. As far as I’m concerned its a myth.

It was always very dis-empowering to have someone say how wonderful my voice was but that, since I was so mega-Uber talented, well, that implied that I didn’t have to work at it. And that OF COURSE I was performing, being so talented made it super easy, RIGHT?

Nope. It took years for me to finally abandon what I thought I got out of holding onto stage-fright. Years I tell ya.

And making my voice my life meant constant and relentless focus on music with a total immersion into the expression that is singing. EVERY-frickin-DAY!

Not in a bad way…I mean it was a total joy! All I wanted to do!
I just say it that way because people sometimes grumble if they have to spend an hour per day practicing or rehearsing.

Lets break it down…

There is desire. There is the body (your voice) and the ability to express.
What any of us chooses to do with these elements is just that, our choice.

Slowing the process down momentarily, to see how these elements interact is essential to mastery.
Once this process of observing the body/mind/vocal energy combo dance is relaxed into ..abilities seems to soar!

So , in getting REALLY good at this did I, all of a sudden, become more talented? Or just more aware?

Was I born with more “talent” or did my environment and deep past encourage more awareness concerning the subjects of music, music education and vocal expression?

Awareness is essential in the “learning to sing really great” game. When you are performing and recording you grow your awareness of your self and your voice. Your level of vocal AWARENESS determines your level of artistry. It even determines how you are perceived.

This is not really understood by many so we should probably talk about it for about three years.
Or, just sing a LOT….a lot a lot.

Being seen as “talented” always helped my career, of course! But it was really just a judgement I used to my advantage.
I’ve trained many people with average or slightly above average voices to be absolutely astounding.
And had a blast doing it…
We worked on their… awareness!
Awareness of what?….TUNE IN NEXT BLOG FOR….the next…blog entryyyyyyy!
Okay: First blog in this series complete! Cool.
And I think that’s a LOT for the very first entry. I hope this sparks some healthy discussion and some great questions on being an amazing singer/speaker or vocalist of any kind.

Hey, so, what if you sang a quick tune right now (even if its quietly) just because you can?

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers Daily
May 2009