Home GENERAL SINGING - Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy Forum

The "Speed Bump"

Im entering week 4 of KTVA Volume 1 and I was wondering how long it took you guys to get rid of the speed bump in your voice between the call register and your head voice?  Also some tips to smooth it out as quick as possible.  I find my connection into head voice easier on the way up much easier than the way back down that is where my speed bump really occurs.


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,333
    edited December 2014


    Many students have more trouble stepping out of head voice than shifting into head voice.

    The main tool that you have to use is to bring down the volume and the velocity of the air to almost nothing.  Pay very close attention to how all of the feelings feel in chest voice, in head voice, when you shift up and when you shift down. 

    In your case, since it's when you downshift, you need to be more conscious of air pressure on the way down.  Make sure you shift at the same place in the scale on the way down as you did on the way up.  Notice the feeling when you are able to do it once or twice and it works.  Grab that feeling and duplicate those air pressure levels and velocities. Notice that there is a small interior shift in the position of the larynx, where the air feels like it is being directed, and when the change occurs, there is a momentary, brief movement in your throat.  Keep the throat open, and maintain support.

    Remember, very low air pressure.  Once you begin to be successful at low levels, you can begin to add a little volume, just a bit at a time.


  • rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    I've been doing the program for just over three months, and am just now getting it "right" about half the time, half the time still getting a little bit of a yodel.  Three things that I found helped me the most were 1) Less volume/air during the scales, 2) Less "stepping" between notes.  I try to move smoother from note to note, rather than a "crisp step" (that crisp step makes it MUCH harder to move into head voice), and 3) Making sure I'm moving the sound up and forward a bit as I move up in the scales, not keeping it down low in my throat.  When I'm pushing too hard up high, it's MUCH harder to get into head voice, so really pay attention to when Ken says "Don't do this too hard or too loud..."
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,333

    Good point on the Smooth step instead of a crisp step, @rcrosier.

    At the passagio, we actually do a quick blend or mix from chest into head, or when coming back down from head into chest.  You could "word picture" it into using a clutch when shifting gears, although that does confuse some folks (maybe they never drove a stick-shift vehicle?).

    Ray is correct when he says that a crisp step will foul the process of blending from head to chest or chest to head. The whole idea is to smooth it out.  Lowering the velocities helps to keep the larynx from suddenly shifting when pushed by too much air pressure.  You also have to work with a difference in air pressures that happens at the shift and that can tend to make the transition happen too fast, hence the yodel when the position snaps into place too suddenly.  Ease the clutch in and out, don't pop it, and don't race the accellerator!

  • johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    Yes indeed, the 'smooth' as opposed to 'crisp' analogy is a very good description.
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