Belting is NOT screaming!

There is nothing wrong with belting.  If done correctly it will not damage your voice.  But young belters sometimes think that belting means singing at 110% for the entire song and what it ends up sounding like is screaming.  Belting is not screaming.  Belting is not even always chest voice.  Yes casting directors are sometimes looking for power belters, but they also sometimes are just looking for someone with a non-classical sound that sounds more like speech and they generically call it a belt piece, others may call it a contemporary sound.  There is no real voice classification system for musical theatre, descriptions tend to just get made up as they cast the show.  Since you never know what type of voice a new show is going to call for, you are best off just being yourself and singing the way you do.  Young singers also tend to forget that singers in professional musical theatre are always singing on a microphone.  Amplification gives power to a voice that can never come from just the throat alone.  Yes there are some amazing singers out there with huge belt voices, but those tend to be the superstars.  For every superstar belter, there are hundreds of others who make a living performing but rely on a microphone for their power.  Its important as a young belter to not give more than you have to so you don’t damage your voice.  Besides, we want to hear artists, not just loud singing.  Listen to the following YouTube clips and pay attention to the levels of volume, tone color, and expression the singers find in the song.  If you have a copy of the song, make a photo copy and write numbers between 1 and 10 throughout the song to denote the volume levels you hear the singer using throughout the piece.  I think you’ll be surprised at often the singer hits volume 10, I imagine quite a bit less than you think.

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