Curious about how to sing in falsetto? Check out these helpful tips from Ann Arbor, MI singing teacher Elaina R...
If you’ve ever listened to Justin Timberlake, you’ve heard falsetto, the upper register of the male voice. Falsetto is the male version of head voice, something that everyone with vocal cords has. Head voice is very important in all kinds of music, since it allows singers to easily access high notes.
Do you want to learn how to sing in falsetto? Don’t worry – it’s a lot easier than you think. After a little practice, you will impress everyone with your gorgeous high notes!
What is Head Voice?
First of all, let’s discuss how head voice works. Singing in head voice makes a lot more sense if you understand how it is produced.
The vocal cords are controlled by two muscle groups: the thyroarytenoids and the cricothyroids. The thyroarytenoids work to shorten the cords, while the cricothyroids stretch them out. Can you guess which muscles produce head voice? If you guessed cricothyroids, you are correct! Think about the way string instruments work. The thinner and tighter the string, the higher the produced pitch is. The same thing applies to your vocal cords.
Head voice is technically a register of the voice. The other register often used for singing is chest voice, which is thyroarytenoid-dominant (and thus lower than head voice).
Finding Your Head Voice
To find your head voice, try talking like Mickey Mouse. You will find that the sound you make is higher and has a difference quality than your normal speaking voice. To find your chest voice in relation to your head voice, try yodeling. Yodeling involves rapidly switching from chest to head register and back. Do this slowly, and you’ll notice the shift.
Exercises for Success
As with all types of singing, practice makes perfect! Try these exercises to strengthen your familiarity and skill in your head voice range.
First of all, to successfully sing in head voice, you need to relax. Your thinner, stretched-out vocal cords won’t work if the body around them is tense. Find a mirror and look at yourself as you talk in your Mickey Mouse voice. The more relaxed your body is, the easier it will be for you to produce sound in head voice.
Here are some specific areas to check and relax as you make sound in your head voice range:
2. The Concert Woooo
Have you ever been to a concert and heard someone yelling “Wooooo!” in a really high voice? This exercise comes from that concept. Take in a good breath and do some of these “woo” noises while maintaining your relaxed body. Open your mouth as you go up in pitch. Make sure that you are not pushing; you should feel as though your voice is finding its way up rather than being forced.
3. Ghosty Singing
This last exercise borrows from that spooky “oOoOOOooOO” high voice that all of us are familiar with. Using your breath, practice doing this in your head voice. Remember to stay relaxed!
One last tip for success: your mouth has to be much more open when you sing high notes. Have you ever seen an opera singer singing a high note? Our mouths are wide open! On these notes, no one really cares whether or not they can understand the words; it’s the sound that matters. So keep practicing these tips on how to sing in falsetto, stick with those voice lessons, gain familiarity with your head voice, and let your mouth flop open as much as it needs to!
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She is currently working on a Master of Music at the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!
Photo by Mohammadali F.