How to Learn Singing “Helpless” from Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Learning to Sing “Helpless” by Crosby Stills Nash & Young

“Helpless” is a classic folk-rock song well-known for its melodious simplicity and expressive vocal harmonies. This lesson will focus on the singing techniques used in the song, notably the use of ‘vocal twang’ and ‘mixed voice’.

Vocal Technique: Twang & Mixed Voice

‘Twang’ is a vocal technique which adds a bright, nasally resonance to the voice, enhancing projection and volume. It’s often used in country and folk music, making it a key ingredient in “Helpless”. Try the How to Twang Exercise video to develop your twang.

The ‘mixed voice’ technique, blending chest and head voice, is also heavily featured in this song. It enables singers to transition smoothly across their vocal range, a crucial aspect of the harmonies in “Helpless”. Check out the Mixed Voice video to understand and practice utilizing your mixed voice.

Practising the Song

Use the vocal range test to determine if “Helpless” is within your comfortable singing range. Then, utilize the Vocal Pitch Monitor to visualize your notes as you practice the song.

Repetition is key when learning a new song. Break the song down into sections and work on each individually. Use the How to learn a song effectively article for guidance.

Common Songs Using These Techniques

You will find the twang technique in many country and folk songs, for example, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Mixed voice is popular across genres, but particularly in R&B and pop music; listen to Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” for a demonstration.


By understanding and implementing the techniques of twang and mixed voice, you’ll be able to capture the auditory essence of “Helpless”. Remember, correct technique and consistent practice are the keys to improvement.

Additional Resources

For comprehensive singing training, consider the 21-lesson Singing Course. You can track your progress with Pitch Training, and continue to challenge your skills with the Song search tool, finding songs to match your improved range and abilities.