That’s my head voice?

Have you ever had an “ah ha” moment? Well, that’s what happened with my adult student today and it was her first lesson.

She had developed the habit of only using her chest voice to sing. She ignored her head voice. I guess she didn’t like the sound. It’s actually quite a common habit among singers.

The problem is if we ignore our head voice, then we can’t reach the high notes “appropriately”. That is, with a “mixed voice”. Oh, you may be able to reach that high note, but what does it sound like? Is it wide and splatty, and overall just plain not nice to listen too? Probably.

You see, you can’t get a nice sound on a “high” note without using some of your head voice. That’s why you need to learn how to mix the chest with the head so you get a balance of each.

Are you not sure what is your head voice? Well, try to sing the vowel “oo” (like the hooting of an owl), and make high sounds……like the siren of a fire truck or ambulance. Is it breathy? Then you are likely using falcetto…..that is not your head voice. Try again, but don’t let the high note be breathy. Lean into it a bit. There you go, that’s your head voice!

4 thoughts on “That’s my head voice?

  1. This is pretty funny. My music teacher in the 5th or 6th grade told me to lip-synch during our christmas carol (We 3 kings of orient are) rather than throw everyone else off, lol. This was rather than give me some individual attention and help me learn (as in music TEACHER). That was about 50 years ago. I’m 61 now. I sang (probably off-key) anyway. I used to love to sing until my mother told me I could not carry a tune and was tone deaf. Funny thing is I can tell when I or someone else is off in pitch. And I can sometimes be “on” too. I do suspect it’s more a physical thing that I can’t match the pitch without some effort and do need to sing with someone that has good pitch. I play guitar and have tried some of the online tests that ask you to pick pitches, ie which is the higher of two or three notes etc. I usually do pretty good. I’d give anything to be able to sing in tune and don’t know where to start. They’ve got an audio pedal called correct (TC Helicon) that can do minor pitch correction and can be used as an aid. Do you think this would help me? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. Hi Fred, Thanks for your comments.

    Good to hear that you can tell when you or someone else is on or off key. That proves you are listening and can hear the correct pitch, but you are just having trouble matching it sometimes. I suspect your vocal cords have never learned the correct coordination that is necessary to sing different pitches. Good news is with the right teacher you can definitely learn the “feeling” and coordination that is necessary. With Speech-Level Singing teachers, they will “trick” you into the correct coordination. It is then your “job” to remember what that feels like, and repeat it over & over & over.

    Unfortuntely, there is no easy answer. A good analogy is that it is like going to the gym for your daily work-out with a trainer. I highly recommend a coach rather than the ear-training CD’s, because the CD’s are made with every voice in mind. You need someone who knows your range and your voice, and can give you exercises based on those factors.

    I’m not sure where you live but you can visit http://www.speechlevelsinging.com to see if there is a teacher near you. Otherwise, keep in mind that most teachers also do online teaching via Skype. Good luck! Susan

  3. Hello Susan,

    I have a 12 year old daughter who does not stop singing, its all she wants to do, I love to listen to her but annoys her elder sister as she does not rest.
    We live in Spain and she has been singing in a band with rockacademy at a few festivals over the past 2 years and has been getting great experience.
    I am now wondering where to go with her for her gcse stage. I would like to put her in a school where she can develop her interest. Can you advise on this please.
    The UK is an option. Please let me know what you think, honestly. You Tube, Tallulah rock Academy, high way to hell.
    Thank you for your time,
    Sarah.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for writing. I watched the video…you have a very talented daughter. She is singing high C in her mix. With proper technique and the correct approach she should be able to take that nice mix up through the next bridge.

    To keep her voice in check I seriously advise you to see someone qualified in SLS. These coaches are trained to “understand” the voice of a rock singer. Your daughter’s voice is healthy and flexible right now, but if she doesn’t learn how not to abuse her voice, then she could ultimately deteriorate in sound. With a good SLS coach she’ll learn how to get those high notes, with the sound she wants, but with minimal abuse. Let’s face it, singing rock is going to abuse anyone’s voice…so knowledge is her best friend.

    I searched on the SLS organization site and found Miguel Manzo in Spain. http://www.miguelmanzo.com He is a level 3 certified SLS instructor.

    The other thing I highly recommend is that she keep at her music training…learning the piano and guitar would help her along the road to success. Forming a band and getting out and performing original plus cover tunes is another big step…although I realize she is probably already doing this!

    All the best! Susan

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