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Head voice help

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frisbeeman
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After I've been practicing awhile my throat tends to get kind of a tight feeling and a little sore. I think the bulk of my problem is singing high notes (I'm a bass so that's a typical problem I guess). I transition to my head voice at around middle C and I can not figure out how to use my head voice without quite a bit of strain. I try relaxing my jaw and opening up my throat, but it doesn't seem to alleviate the strain. I was taking vocal lessons, but have to stop due to a family vacation followed by heading off to college, so I don't have a personal teacher anymore, but feel that I have a working knowledge of proper technique. Can someone please try to explain a proper way to reach head voice? I really want a usable F# above middle C at some point (I'm trying not to rush into since I'm only 18 and have time to improve drastically and for my voice to completely develop. Just going to take things slowly on a day to day basis). I just worry about the longevity of my voice because singing is one of the activities in my life that bring me incredible joy and I want to be able to do it until I die.

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First of all, at 18, you are actually basically only one stage away from your full vocal development (the last development happens around 25 i think and it's just an icing on the cake thing. it won't "fix" your voice) and still perfectly capable of training to sing as well as everyone else. If you listen to my soundcloud those vocals were all recorded when i was 17-19 (i'm 19 now) and there are plenty of usable F#s and higher in there. We have another member on this forum, Adoney, who is also around my age as well and has been singing very difficult stuff in full voice for years, you can probably find his soundcloud in the people I follow. Both of us are kind of lower bigger voices so it's not that we're born freak-of-nature tenors to be able to do this, we just practiced for it and put in the dedication to develop our voices at this age.

So don't be afraid of rushing, there's no real such thing as rushing vocally at this age, only maybe when you're dead middle of voice change at age 13 or whatever. But being 18 is like any other adult age, if you want to progress quickly, do the work to progress quickly and it will happen. There is no disadvantage or condition to that based on your age. You do have to make sure, like any other adult, to leave some time to rest your voice from training, for a good portion of each day, (to simply not do so would be "rushing" by my definition) but as a college student busy with work I'm sure you'll be giving your voice a lot of rest by simply not being able to practice constantly. So then when college hits you don't even have to worry about rest just practice as much as you can around that and it will probably be a perfect amount.

So don't "try not" to rush, a better way to think of it if you prefer to learn slower is to "not try" to rush. Just let yourself progress at a natural rate that keeps you passionate as a human being. Don't force a different learning speed on yourself that doesn't resonate with who you are.

Don't worry about longevity either, and I don't mean that in the sense of, live in the moment scream like hell all the time blow out your voice because #YOLO, nooooo I just mean don't WORRY about longevity. Simply remain aware and conscious of it. But there is nothing to fear. The chances of your losing your voice are actually higher if you don't sing enough out of fear that you'll have used it all up in your younger years (it doesn't work like that) than if you sing a little too much every once in a while (from just being a human that makes errors) and then resting from it and continuing on, always searching for a balance between undersinging and oversinging, both of which cause problems in the voice and this is medically documented stuff. There are actual vocal health issues that arise if you don't use your voice frequently enough, just as there are if you use it too frequently. I'm not an expert on this but I'm positive they've done research on it, it exists. The main idea I want you to take away from this is, singing correctly is the main thing that will give you longevity, not using your voice less frequently.

As for technique, Phil pretty much nailed it. Those are two common errors, but if you send a sample you'll get a way more accurate answer

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Hi,

Generally, if you are straining when you are getting up into the middle and higher registers of your voice, you are most likely driving the voice because the swallowing muscles are closing the vocal chords. This is due to lack of proper support.

When you get up around C4, is your larynx raised up or is it in a lowered position? You can check for this by singing in front of a mirror. If your larynx is raised, then your swallowing muscles are closing your vocal chords, which can cause tension and strain.

The good news is that you are very young, so you have plenty of time to find a good teacher (if you can), and continue your training. I didn't start singing lessons till I was 23.

Regards

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi!

I'm a tenor, so I've never really had this issue, but I'll try to help!

When you start in your falsetto (head voice), contrary to popular belief, you are using more muscles, but less air. Because of this, it is completely normal to get fatigued rather quickly.

First of all, practice is the best way to get up there, so by setting this "range exploration" as part of your practice schedule, you will greatly increase your chances of getting higher faster. Secondly, you need to have a solid "higher" chest voice. For you, I'm going to estimate this area is between F3 and Bb3. If you have this area down to a science, all other high notes come out easier.

I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to try and offer some advice!

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