Teachers of bel canto and anything bel canto-based, including Speech Level Singing, will spend a good portion of their teaching focusing on the elimination of the infamous voice break. “We must break the break!” Therefore, it can be jarring when you realize that singers often use their voice break on purpose! For a singer with a well-trained mix, achieving a voice break can seem next to impossible, because it's been trained away. Your muscles remember what you practice, so if your voice isn’t used to breaking, it can be hard to create a voice break—it’s kind of like trying to write with your non-dominant hand!
It took me a little while before I decided to include nasality in my fringe techniques collection. It can be such an annoying sound, and many people cringe when they hear it—“It sounds like he needs to blow his nose!” But it can also be an extremely useful technique in some musical genres that require the unique sound that nasality provides.
I remember panicking when a girl came in years ago asking to learn how to put a rasp in her voice that wasn't already there. “How could she want to do that?” I wondered, “That's the opposite of what she should want! She should take up chain-smoking, not voice lessons, if that’s what she’s after!” Looking back, I see I was such an ignorant snob since many great singers are well trained to sing with a rasp.