How to sing Musical Theater – Singing Techniques

Today we are going to be talking about my
favorite genre and that is musical theater! Hi everyone this is Kerri Ho from Thank you so much for writing to me and
requesting some more tips on musical theater because I am such a musical theater freak,
I’d be more than happy to do this for you. And I’m going to have so much fun making this
video, so thank you! Today I’m going to contrast 2 different styles
of musical theater and give you some tools so that you can apply it to your own musical
theater performance. 1. The Contemporary Music Theater Sound – This
is characteristic of musicals such as Wicked and Hairspray. The singers that sing within
this musical usually will use more of a chest dominant mix. I’ll talk a little bit more
about that in a second. 2. More legit musical theater sound -This
is characteristic of musicals like Phantom of the Opera and The Sound of Music and in
these musicals the singers will usually sing with a much more head dominant sound. So let
me show you practically how different they sound. With the Contemporary music theater genre,
for example in the song Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked, this is the chest dominant
mix that is used (Kerri singing) And in the legit musical theater style, this
is more the sound that is used, and it’s more of a head dominant mix, for example in
the song My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music (Kerri singing) How do we actually develop these different
contrasting sounds for our own musical theatre performance? I’m going to show you right now.
Here’s an exercise for you to practice to develop your chest dominant mix. When we talk
about a chest dominant mix, we’re talking about a mixed voice that has more chest voice
in it. Which gives it that powerful, loud, in your face sound. That most contemporary
musical theater songs are characteristic of. Now here’s an exercise I’m going to do, now
I need to say to you that before you begin to do any chest dominant mix exercises, you
must already have a very strong developed head voice. Because doing this prematurely
before you’ve developed your head voice, it can result in you pulling your chest voice
up because you will not have had a strong enough head voice to mix your chest voice
with. So do make sure you do that, so if you haven’t got a strong head voice yet, please
go along to my videos on developing head voice and work on those first and when you have
a strong head voice, then come back and do these exercises. Here we go, this is a really
good one to develop your chest dominant mix and it’s about incorporating the call. You
know when you call out to someone and you go hey! Hey you, stop! That kind of feeling,
that’s what I want you to think about when you are singing this exercises, don’t think
of it too much as being overly sung but more just called out. As if you’re calling
out to a person across the street. So like this, this exercise is he-ya (Kerri doing
it) Okay with the chest dominant mix, you should be able to
get up to about Eb 5 but feeling very very comfortable, if you’re feeling yourself
straining, then you really need to go and work on your head voice strengthening, just
keeping your throat open and the soft palate. Go and check out my videos on how to belt
and also my video on how to belt without straining. Now the 2nd style was the legit musical theater
style. Here’s an exercise where you can develop a head dominant mix sound that is still grounded
in your chest voice, so it got more head voice in it, that is why it’s called a head dominant
mix but there is still chest voice under guarded it is not completely head voice. We are not
doing like (Kerri singing) That is completely head voice and that is
not what we are going for. We’re going for a head voice dominant sound that is under
guarded in your chest tone (Kerri singing). A little bit more spoken okay? What’s a
good one? You’re going to laugh at me actually but you know the song, Row row row your boat?
The 2nd bit, the merrily merrily bit merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream (Kerri singing) So there you go! You’ve got an exercise for
you develop a more chest dominant mix for your more contemporary music theater style,
and you’ve got a head dominant mix exercise to help you develop
for a more legit musical theater styles.

81 thoughts on “How to sing Musical Theater – Singing Techniques

  1. Hey Kerri! I have a question for you…
    I don't have a chest voice.
    At all.
    It sounds weird, but it's true!
    Even when I talk, it's in the mask of my face.
    I mostly sing from the mask of my face with a ton of resonance up in my head.
    If you, or anyone for that matter, has any tips on how to get that contemporary musical theatre sound with my inability to use a chest voice, then those tips would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

  2. Can u do a video on how to sing "wouldn't it be lovely" from my fair lady. I have to sing this for my musical theatre course in college so it would be helpful! Thanks :)xx

  3. Omgee!! I love it! Apparently I'm more of a Head voice musical type and didn't know that. you got me pumped up to develop my head voice more!! Thank you! You're making this so much fun I haven't sang in over 5. 🙂

  4. Omgee!! I love it! Apparently I'm more of a Head voice musical type and didn't know that. you got me pumped up to develop my head voice more!! Thank you! You're making this so much fun I haven't sang in over 5. 🙂


  6. Love your vids! Would you be able to do a "How to Sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow"? I got casted as Dorothy and am need of lots of help!! X

  7. I know this video was ages ago but please could someone tell me which category les miserables would come under? Xx

  8. You're amazing!!! I love how you use classics and modern plays, and I also couldn't help but notice how beautiful your voice is

  9. Hi.I'm going to perform a musical play for the first time and I'm looking a video how to develop my voice in musical because I'm not that really good.Then I found your video I think it could help me.Anything you can suggest me?Thanks

  10. i have an audition for little shop of horrors im not a really great singer and i really wanna get better to at least to try ya know

  11. hi guys, the greatest success that I have ever had was by following the Bens Singer Blog (i found it on google) without a doubt the most helpful idea that I've followed.

  12. I've started working on my voice and while doing that I found a interest in musical theatre. I'm still trying to find my voice


  14. Thank you very much for this! I can sing well, but im too scared. This helped me loosen up. I have middle school aladdin auditions next week. If i fail, ill ask to be the rug.

  15. I love singing so in my drama play I asked for a singing part, but I sing more like Melanie Martinez or something I don't do musical theatre and I have to sing 'Electricity' from Billy Elliot. Help? 😛

  16. Hello! I've been told that if I'm singing in my head voice but I'm able to reach low notes with it and feel my chest vibrating that means I'm in my head dominant mix, is that true?

  17. I have a quite deep voice (I’m 16) and I do theatre at my highschool and plan to do so until I graduate and even major in theatre when I go to college. My problem is I think my voice might be too deep for singing. Most roles are given to those who have a higher and wider vocal range right? Idk I’m just worried, is there something I can do to become better at controlling my voice?

  18. I just got the part of Mother Superior in the Sound of Music (I sing “Climb Every Mountain”). I am so privileged! This is the closing night tonight. So glad I learned your tips for the finale!!!

  19. I was looking at someone else’s video (Katherine Steele, idk if you know her) and she said to start off your rep with a classical up-tempo, a classical ballad, a contemporary up-tempo, and a contemporary ballad. I was wondering if the legit mix is also known dams classical? Also what is the difference between a ballad and up-tempo?

  20. This was very helpful, and ive evaluated I have a much better/stronger (definetely a first soprano lol) head dominant mix, with an almost operatic voice, and I was wondering if you could do a video on how to like incorporate that into a chest dominant mix so that I could be a better candidate for contemporary style musicals.

  21. Hello do you mind telling me which type of musical voice it is for the song “She used to be mine” from The Waitress Musical?

  22. i was highly disappointed when you didn't demonstrate the Think of Me cadenza for the legit musical theatre sample!1!1!

  23. i’m doing an audition for my school musical ‘Bring It On’ next week and i’m so nervous this definitely helped me develop my voice just enough to reach the high notes thanks

  24. i can barely lift my chest voice past a G4 ;( rip me
    i have a generally more classical voice and it sucks being in musical theater when you cant get that loud grounded sound 🙁
    like ive never gotten a role in a musical and the feedback is always "you were too quiet"

  25. When she said “Musical theatre” at the beginning, I couldn’t help thinking, “Before I became a biologist, I had a must truer, and DEEPER passion. My first love was… and FOREVER will be… MUSICAL THEATRE!!!!” If you understand this, you shall be one of my best friends.

  26. Ma’am I’m in a musical and everything sounds just fine when I rehearse in a regular room but when I have to rehearse onstage I can’t hear my voice as well it sounds like I’m yelling and all techniques go out the window. Please help!!

  27. I have a much mor choral voice but would also like to develop a musical theatre type voice how would I go about doing this?

  28. This was great I’ve been singing all my life and didn’t realize how much I love Musical theatre … I just googled music genres today trying to figure out which I was singing. Wow thank you!

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