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** These Q&As from Mark Baxter originally appeared on our sister site, Getsigned.com. They are reprinted here by permission. Copyright 2000-2019 Getsigned.com, Inc.

Question: Hey, Mark, I was hoping you could tell me how to blend my registers like Chris Cornell and David Coverdale. --Thanks! Heath

Answer: Start at a low volume and practice on single vowels like EE and AH. Allow your voice to crack and break up when going through the break. The trick is to dial in the right amount of air -- which changes as you rise and fall. Cracking doesn't hurt you physically, but most singers clamp up when they sense it's about to occur and that kills everything. Until you find the right balance (sing through the break) it's best to keep the volume low. Raise the volume only when the lower volume is successful. In the end your reflexes should be adjusting the air to automatically accommodate the change of registers. That's what Chris and David have going on. If you are afraid of cracking you will over ride the reflexes and force the voice not to change. It ends up sound wimpy.

Question: Hi Mark. I can't seem to hold notes as long as I use to. Has that got to do with my smoking?

Answer:  Yup.

Question: Do you use all of your chest voice before you go into head voice, or do you switch out the top head voice notes with low head ones? --Thanks, Sean

Answer:  This depends on the quality of sound you are looking for. What's important is that you can switch into different registers at different times. That leaves you with options that let you express a multitude of emotions.

Question: I have an okay voice, but not the best. I was wondering can I learn to sound better or is that something that just has to be naturally there? --Thanks, Tina

Answer:  There's no such thing as "the best" voice. The sound of a voice is the result of many things. The biggest influence is personality. What you believe sounds good dictates muscle behavior. The mechanics of singing in pitch and with dynamics is easy to train in. Tone is also an adjustable issue. Most people, though, don't quite produce the sound they were going for when they sing. In turn, this makes them think the sound is less than desirable. The truth is: no one knows exactly what a singer was "going for" -- only what they produced. Most performers are unhappy with themselves after a show even though their fans thought the show was great. It takes courage, not a love of your voice, to sing for others and let people form their own opinions. Be brave and sing!

See ya next time,
Mark

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