There is an ever-increasing trend of singers who want to learn how to mask sing, which is all fine and dandy but you should first know what is mask singing and what you actually need to know before you can actually start mask singing. The problem is that you will need to know a lot of different singing techniques in order to even attempt learning mask singing, and this is why not a lot of singers learn how to mask sing, but once you learn and use it correctly then a whole another world of singing will open up for you.
Singing into the mask means that the singer sings like he or she is wearing a mask, usually they do achieve this by using different vocal placements. The main goal of masked singing is to resonate the sound from different parts like the forehead, cheeks, and below the mouth. Masked singing can be learned by practicing humming and by knowing how to transition correctly between your different voices.
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Mask singing is a fairly advanced singing technique and a lot of singers seem to be confused by the whole concept of singing into the mask. First I will explain what is mask singing, mask singing is a metaphor for where you place your vowels and your sound like you would be wearing a mask, generally speaking, most mask singers have their vocal placement right in front of their mouth. Now I know that this might sound complicated, but imagine that you are wearing a mask and you start singing.
As you are wearing a mask the sound will not come out where it normally should from the mouth, instead, it resonates all along with the mask and it comes out in different places like the forehead cheeks and so on. The problem is that most singers who use mask singing, tend to have a nasal voice, this is because they are not using mask singing correctly. If you want to be good at mask singing you have to be able to resonate your sound through your face as this is what actually makes mask singing actually unique.
Some singers will say that singing in the mask is wrong, but this simply makes no sense as it’s something like someone saying that singing from the chest or head is wrong. Mask singing is a singing technique, and nothing else, it is neither wrong nor good. On the other hand, there are plenty of singers who use mask singing incorrectly and in this case, they just need to improve their mask singing technique.
A singer who knows how to mask sing will often claim that when they are using it that the sound of their voice feels like it is coming out their cheeks or their forehead. Although this is not quite accurate as the sound still comes out of their mouth, but as they are using mask singing they will force the sound to go up, and oftentimes the sound is redirected by their own forehead. You will come across some people who will correct you that it is not actually mask singing but singing in the masque, it doesn’t really matter which one you use as both of these terms are correct,
The whole concept of mask singing is about forward placement singing, which simply means that you put your sound and vowels right in front of you, and oftentimes above your mouth. Even if you do not know how to exactly mask sing, just put one hand in front of your mouth and start singing, slightly change the angle of your hand and you will find a sweet spot where your sound starts resonating in harmony. Do note that to be able to use forward placement singing then you will need to have a fairly strong voice, for more information check out my recent article How to get a strong mixed voice? ( In 12 Easy Steps ).
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Mask singing with open throat singing
If you want to learn mask singing then you will need to know how to sing with an open throat. The problem is that a lot of singers who do want to learn mask singing do not know how to use open throat singing. Open throat singing is vital for mask singing, although there are some singers who manage to sing into the mask without using open throat singing, but these are the exceptions from the rule.
A lot of singers actually give up learning mask singing because they do not know how to use open throat singing. Open throat singing is nothing magical or complicated but the problem for most singers seems to be that they can not control their voice and their throat properly. As a general rule, if you try to learn open throat singing and you feel like you are going to puke then you are doing it wrong, you probably are scratching your head now but try open throat singing a couple of times and you will know what I mean.
As for why you need open throat singing for masked singing is because open throat singing will actually help you in the forward placement and most importantly it will make your voice resonate through your face. It is not only important to know throat singing but you also have to be able to control it adequately, most beginner singers who attempt it put way too much pressure on their throat while they are doing it, so if your throat hurts then you are probably doing it wrong.
While some discomfort is normal the first couple of times when you try open throat singing, but if it actually hurts then you are putting way too much pressure on your throat and you are probably not opening your throat wide enough. You as a singer have probably heard about the importance of controlling your larynx, well now it is time to learn how to also control your pharynx, as this will allow you to achieve the best resonance of your voice as you can get.
Sing loudly to sing into the mask
A lot of singers have a problem singing loud for one reason or another, but loud singing is extremely important for mask singing. Singing loudly will allow you to resonate your voice a lot better, oftentimes if you do not sing loud enough then you will not be able to resonate the sound as effectively. If you are using a teacher to learn how to sing into the mask and if the teacher is constantly telling you to sing louder then you should probably follow his advice as this will allow you to resonate a lot better.
On the other hand, singing out loudly simply isn’t an option for a lot of singers, they are either having roommates or they do not have a place where to sing. Some singers also use vocal dampener masks, which you put on your face, and allegedly you can sing as loud as you want without disturbing the others, the problem is that this will probably cause you to not resonate from your face but from the dampener mask, although I am not sure as I have never used one myself.
Sing into the mask with diaphragmatic breathing
It is vital that you know how to properly breathe from your diaphragm if you want to learn how to sing into the mask. This is why mask singing isn’t for beginner singers, as oftentimes most beginner singers either do not know how to breathe from their diaphragm or they simply do not have a strong enough diaphragm to be able to support their masked singing. As breathing and the control of air pressure are what actually allows you to sing better, it is essential to have a good diaphragmatic breathing technique and a strong diaphragm.
As a side note, no matter what singing technique you might want to learn, the foundation of any singing technique is diaphragmatic breathing. A lot of vocal coaches will say that you will need support from your diaphragm, while this is true but the problem is that instead of support they should actually say that it is a pillar post as this is what allows you to sing. As a beginner singer, you should really focus on first learning how to use your diaphragm for singing before you attempt mask singing or forward placement singing technique.
Vocal placement f0r singing into the mask
Singing from the mask can be fairly difficult, and you will have a hard time learning it correctly. My personal recommendation is to start experimenting with how you can place your vocals, believe it or not, everybody can learn vocal placement and the sound which you will produce will be unique due to a combination of technique and physiology of your throat and head. While experimenting you will also learn where are your best resonators, so make sure when you are doing the below exercises is to record yourself singing normally and then by altering the vocal placement with your hand.
- Palm Scoop: Make your fingers into a scoop position and make sure that your fingers are actually close together. While you are singing place your palm on your lower jaw in a way that it doesn’t affect the movement of the jaw. The other side of your palm should be able to let the air out. Start singing and slightly adjust the angle of your palm and this way you will start resonating your voice from your nose and forehead.
- Open palm: Place your palm a couple of inches before your mouth in such a way that your actual palm doesn’t touch your face at all. Start singing and slowly start rotating or adjusting the angle of the palm.
- Cheeks: For this exercise, you will be using both of your hands, or more precisely your index fingers. Place your index fingers on both of your cheeks, slightly pushing inward. While you are singing either put more pressure on your cheek or release pressure with your index finger. If you do this in quick succession you will hear a wobble effect, that is not what you are looking for, instead aim to make a good resonating sound.
- Palms closed together: Place both of your palms on your mouth like you are going to shout towards somebody. Once you start singing simply open the space where the sound comes out or slowly close it, you will find that your sound will resonate from your palms directly, and this will make your voice sound a lot more powerful.
Use your imagination to sing into the mask
In order to find the best way for you personally of mask singing then as I have previously mentioned you will have to experiment with your resonators. When you are experimenting with your resonators, my personal recommendation is to simply imagine that you want to be heard singing by a person who is around 200 feet away from you. This will definitely make you sound louder, do not worry about it as long as your voice is clear.
This way you will amplify your sound a lot more and you will focus on making yourself heard which in turn will directly impact how you will use mask singing. The problem with masked singing is that some people are way too quiet, they might do the mask singing technique correctly but only the ones who are closest to you will be able to hear your sound resonate. Another good way is to imagine that your voice box is actually right below your nose, this will make masked singing feel more natural.
Another good imagination trick on how you can teach yourself to sing into the mask is by imagining that you are belt boxing. There are some singers who use their belt box mask, if you are an advanced singer then you probably know how to belt, use this for your advantage.
Use your head and chest voice to sing into the mask
If you want to know how to sing from the mask then you will need to be able to not only sing with your chest but also from your head voice. The problem is that most singers do not have both their head and their chest voice well developed enough to be able to sing with their mask voice. Oftentimes a lot of singers will say that you will need to use your mixed voice for mask singing, although this is somewhat true but the truth is that if you do not have a well-developed head and chest voice then you will not have a well-mixed voice.
For masked singing you will be constantly switching from your chest to your head voice, some singers even go further and they use their falsetto voice or their whistle register. Although singers who are using their whistle registers and their falsetto voice for mask singing are fairly advanced singers and they are probably doing mask singing for a long time and this is why it comes naturally to them.
My recommendation if you are a somewhat beginner singer is to focus on your chest and head voice before you actually use your falsetto or whistle register for mask singing. The truth is that most vocal coaches will overly complicate what kind of voice you should be using for your mask voice, just keep it simple. If either your chest or your head voice is weak, then my personal recommendation is to read my recent article as it has already helped several singers My singing voice is weak! ( What to do? ).
Passaggio for masked singing
If you are a beginner singer then you probably will not know what passaggio is, passaggio is when you actually switch from your chest voice to your head voice for example. This is a transitioning technique, where you switch between your voices. The problem is that for mask singing you will have to have a somewhat good passaggio technique, otherwise, you will sound way off. Believe it or not but not a lot of singers do actually know how to transition correctly.
While some singers can get away with it due to the genre of music which they are singing or because they have a natural feel for how to transition correctly, but you are probably not one of them. The truth is that you will need to have a good passaggio technique to use to be able to sing into the mask. Another important skill related to transitioning is your ability to transition quickly without a break.
As I have mentioned above, singing into the mask technique is an advanced singing technique, not because it is hard to do, far from it, but because you need to know the basics of singing and some extra singing techniques which you are probably not familiar with. If you are having problems with your passaggio from your chest to your head voice, then check out my recent article How to switch from chest voice to head voice? ( 7 Easy Ways ).
Good vocal health for masked singing
As mask singing is fairly complex, it is vital that your vocal health is in the best shape possible. Not a lot of singers do take into consideration their vocal health when learning different singing techniques, the problem is that you as any other singer are limited on what you can learn due to your vocal health. By vocal health, I do not mean that you should practice singing when you have the flu as you already should know that is a bad idea, what I mean is that you should take your vocal health seriously and eat and drink foods and drinks which actually give you an edge for singing.
Having good vocal health doesn’t only mean that you have healthy vocal cords, but also to heave healthy support for them from your throat to your diaphragm and lungs. In addition to this, it is a good idea to also work out, as this will increase your stamina and will allow you to practice for longer periods of time.
Singing into the mask by practicing humming
A lot of singers think that humming isn’t important and it’s mainly good for beginner singers, the truth is that humming exercises will allow you to hear how you resonate from your cheeks to mouth, nose, and even forehead. In essence what I am saying is that if you want to lean mask singing then you will have to practice humming, even if it is considered somewhat a beginners exercise. The truth is that most beginner exercises are considered by many singers as beginner exercises because they have started to learn singing with them, although they are actually very useful even later in your career as a singer.
Relax your throat to sing into the mask
As mask singing will need you to sing with an open throat then it is vital that you are able to relax your throat. Otherwise what will end up happening is that while you are trying to resonate from different parts you will force your throat with increased air pressure, and the last thing you want a singer is to have a sore throat. Not only that but if you are not able to relax your throat you will not be able to sing with an open throat correctly.
Sharp vowels for masked singing
There are some singers who discover that they actually can mask sing by focusing on sharpening their vowels. Oftentimes when a singer is focusing on sharpening their vowels and making them not only sharper but also a lot clearer then they will have no problem transitioning into mask singing. The problem is two-fold, on one hand, some will tell you that you will have to focus on technique, and on the other hand, there will be singers who will say that you will have to focus on sharpening your vowels for mask singing.
Practice singing into the mask
Learning mask singing will not happen overnight, you will have to dedicate at least a couple of months in order to fully grasp the concept and to have the ability to use it correctly. There are some singers who seem to have a natural ability to sing into the mask, these singers have no problem with learning to sing into the mask in just a couple of weeks. Do not worry if you are not among these singers, as with time even you will be able to mask sing.
Get a vocal coach
Oftentimes singers who have trouble mask singing will be able to learn a lot easier with some help. I do know a lot of self-taught singers who have tried to learn mask singing, but the problem is that mask singing is one of the more complex singing techniques and you will probably need all the help that you can get in order to learn it. Now I am not saying that you must go to a vocal coach but if you have a difficult time then you might as well make it easier for yourself.
Singing into the mask can be a serious challenge for any singer, you will have to know the basics of singing and how to use them for mask singing. This is why most singers do not even attempt to learn mask singing, it simply requires you to know a lot of different techniques and to use them in harmony which sounds a lot easier than it is actually done. My personal recommendation before you jump into mask singing is to first learn the basics, as even if you do not know how to mask sing these basic techniques will still make you a better singer, and if you still choose to learn how to sing from your mask then you should know that you will not be able to if you do not know these basic singing techniques.