Annieorphans.com

So I was talking to my singing teacher today about the use of belting in kids, and she said that the "Annie belt" can be harmful to children's (or anyone's) voices.  I know you can use mixing in your voice to get a belt-like sound without actually having to belt.  I was just wondering if there have been any former Annie kids who had real lasting trouble with their voices due to continuously having to belt.  Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

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Yes, you can do harm to your voice at any age if you sing improperly and don't support your voice with proper breathing. I was taught how to sing correctly at the age of 9 and never had any vocal problems in all of the years I belted 8 shows a week in "Annie." I teach singing to kids now and the first thing we work on is how to breath and sing properly.

 

Julie

Your singing teacher is right.  Many people have questioned Charnin, Meehan and Strouse for righting such vocally demanding music for such young children.  The answer?  Warm up good, drink lots of water and tighten up your backside muscles when you hit those high notes.  Maybe someone who knows more about the physiology of singing can answer that part of the question better. 
Here's the problem; Andrea is a natural belter. So, her voice is in a natural state when she sang in Annie. Other little girls who may not be belters but say have a typical lyrical kind of voice try to immitate Andrea with a faux belt and that's when they get in trouble. Even worse there are teachers who try to help them acheive this un natural state for some people. Olivia Newton John will never be Ethel Merman and would damage her voice if she tried. Yet she has a beautiful voice in her own right. Some little girls are not right vocally for Annie and because they can sing they are forced to try to belt. Then you get girls who have no idea what kind of voice they have and they scream and mimic the records. Doing this with no support or no knowledge of how to support will cause damage and only get you so far. All the broadway Annies I would say were natural belters except for Sarah. I would even go as far to say Alyson may have been in the middle but forced herself to belt. Because she always sound like she had no control or nuance and just screamed. Those of us who were able to see Shelley and Alison and Andrea can tell that there is an effort less power to their voices. It's loud but not harsh.
I've been wondering about the same thing for quite some time. There were rumors toward the end of Amanda Balon's run, when her understudy was in a lot for her, that it was because she was having some type of voice troubles. It would not at all surprise me. She was one of those Annies that really had to strain and push her voice to reach those notes. For some people, it's a natural ability to be able to belt that high. For others, they have to work at it, and many kids voices just aren't ready yet. I'm 18 and I just finally belted a C# comfortably. It's taken me years of work to get it that high -- plus my voice is still developing. I can only imagine what it must be like for those kids whose voices don't do that naturally. Both Amanda Balon and Madison Kerth seemed to really struggle with belting the higher notes.

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