Sing With Your Head Voice

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The term ‘head voice’ can be confusing; after all, a voice from your head, what does that mean? In layman’s terms, the term ‘head voice’ is referring to the upper register of your singing voice. Usually, it’s the upper fifth to sixth of your singing range, but it can also be as much as the top octave – or more – of your range. When trying to sing with your head voice, try the following exercises to help you get your best results:

1. Breath from the Diaphragm: despite the term ‘head voice’ all voice comes from the lungs, and by extension, the diaphragm. As you’re trying to reach the higher notes of your vocal range, you need a lot of air, and so breath from your diaphragm as you sing. You do this by exhaling and contracting your abdominal muscles at the same time; you want to feel like you’re forcing the air out from the pit of your stomach. Yet, don’t breath too fast;
you don’t want to run out of air before you’re done or give the notes you’re singing too much of an airy sound to them.

2. Start with a Yawn: by using a yawning movement, you can get your throat to relax and get your larynx (your Adam’s Apple) to drop down. Once you’ve done that, make a sort of siren type of sound (a “woooo” or “wee” sound), and get so that you feel it within your head. Also, a simple hoot like an owl, repeated again and again, and focus on feeling the sound within your head can also exercise your head voice.

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3. Singing Dumb: the next exercise uses the word “dumb”; sing the scales, but use that word, and hold your fingers over your Adam’s Apple as you do so. You want to make sure that it doesn’t slide up as you sing. As you go up the scale, you should feel the sound shift from your chest to your head, and then back to your chest as you go back down the scale. Now, one little added point: don’t be concerned if you hear your voice crack a bit as you feel the tone shift from your chest voice to your head voice; that’s to be expected – at first. Over time, as you get better at it, the transition to your head voice will smooth out.

4. Mum is the Word: try just saying “mum” in your regular voice – no singing. Then, again sing the scales, only use “mum” this time. Do not sing loud at all, keep the volume soft and gentle, and just focus on singing the scales. You should feel the shift from chest to head, and it may be very weak the first couple times you do it, but it will strengthen in time.

5. Your Fingers Can Help: this may sound like an odd exercise, but you can also stick two fingers of your hand in your mouth, and then sing only five notes of your scales using “Ah” or “Eeee”. This will assist you in keeping you throat open, and reaching your upper range.

6. Be Careful: always take care not to sing so high in your range that you feel pain. At the first sign of discomfort – stop! To not do so runs the risk of damaging your vocal cords, and the injury can lead to permanent loss of your singing voice.

Finding your head voice takes special training, but it can be done. Use these steps and you can gradually build it up.

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