“I’ve never been able to belt”…
Belting is the very first sound you create as a human, which we continue to make until socialisation occurs (EVTS, 2005). A lot of people are scared of creating this sound but why? It may be because of the multitude of myths connected to the production of this sound? Here are a few I’ve been told or heard in the past – Pre-Estill training.
- Belting gives you nodules
- Belting is dangerous
- You need to take a big breath
- Belting needs diaphragmatic support
So we’ve heard what people ‘think’ Belting is but what really is it? and how can we do it…safety? Belting is a very loud sound that is often associated with Musical Theatre, its exciting to hear in the theatre and utterly too loud for small spaces. When produced incorrectly this sound can be extremely dangerous.
So if Belting is unsafe, then how are these three amazing performers still performing? It’s because they are producing the sound safely.
So how can we do it safety?
As an introductory exercise, shout ‘YAY’. With your hand on your larynx make the shout again and notice the effect on the larynx placement.
Now, think of a very funny joke and hold the position of laughter and repeat the exercise with this same laughing posture.
Notice how your body reacts to support this sound (anchoring).
Retract the false vocal folds – Think of a really funny joke and hold the laughter position within the vocal tract.
Don’t tank up – Filling the lungs with air with only cause to much air pressure underneath the folds and resulting in unsustainable sound or the vocal just giving up.
High Velum – Lift the velum to create as much space in the mouth as possible.
High Larynx – The larynx will inevitably be high, the skill is to keep it high.
Engage and Anchor – The muscles around the neck, back and ribs all contribute to stabilising the larynx. Engage these to enable the larynx to remain high.
Relax the abdomen – This learnt behaviour will only cause unwanted air pressure.
Jaw and Lips – Keep in ‘Mid’ position (neutral…to you that is).
Tilt the Thyroid Cartilage – The will make the sound sweeter.
Practice, practice, practice! If you feel in danger at any point STOP and perhaps practice the preparation for the sound in silence.
Please comment with any good examples of Belting that you have come across. Mike.