Solving Nasality with Register Balancing

I have a student who is struggling to rid her singing voice of nasality. This issue is difficult for several reasons. One, she doesn’t speak with nasality. Two, she isn’t being nasal on purpose and three the nasality is long term, going back a number of years. Four, she is otherwise a skilled singer and performer and the voice itself is of very high quality.

After trying a for a few months to address the soft palate more or less directly, and having little success, I decided to work strictly through register balance. This voice has a developed head and a chest register, and I had hoped not to juggle it around too much, but after the other exercises failed, I had no choice other than to attempt to get through to the deeper musculature through register balancing.

In the most recent lesson, the “default” position began to shift, to a “chest on the lower pitches and head on the higher pitches” adjustment. This is a radical change since the “mix” she has is strong and comfortable. (If it ain’t broke why fix it?) I am, in effect, promoting a “break” between the two registers so that we can get a lighter sound so that the tongue can relax, so the larynx can descend, so the soft palate can rise. All of these changes must happen without manipulation, on their own. Then the nasality will disappear. We had good success with that.

The side effects of getting the internal muscles to make a different response is that the singer has a chance to discover a new sound and a new way of experiencing sound-making. You wouldn’t necessarily think that changing the register balance would be a way to get nasality to diminish, but it works well for many problems, not just that one.

Something to think about.

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