How To Find Head Voice
Singing is a simple process of resonance, pressure and vibration – but learning how to do it well can be a frustrating process, in part due to all the confusing terms like head voice, chest voice, mix voice and the many different methods that use these terms in different ways or use complicated terms like Appoggio for something that is truly simple such as breathing. Fortunately, there is an easier and more efficient way to learn how to sing better, and it starts with finding head voice.
One of the first steps you need to take to improve your voice is to connect chest and head voice, so let’s get started!
What is Head Voice?
Head Voice and Chest Voice are simply two different forms of resonance – tonal centres for your resonance if you will. If you sing a low note, you will notice that the sound vibrates somewhere around your chest, or even your mouth. Now, if you sing a high note (don’t push, just do it light!), you’ll notice that the vibration actually moves within your body – most likely to the top/back of the head or bridge of the nose. Congratulations, you just identified Chest Voice and Head Voice. Learn to resonate efficiently within each of these forms of vibration is a result of your approach to vowels, the shape of your tongue and the shape and size of your vocal tract while balancing between your resonators. The first step to increasing your range and improving your voice is to learn to connect these two forms of resonance in a fluid manner to create one long and connected note that travels from your lowest to highest pitch.
Can’t Find Head Voice?
Many singers struggle to find their head resonance and either push their Chest voice until they strain, or they sing in falsetto without clear resonance due to improper vocal fold closure. The main reason that you lack head resonance is fear of sounding weak or ‘girly’ in your high range – but this is an important part of the process. Do you go straight to the 100kg barbell on your first trip to the gym? No. Do you get behind the wheel of a Ferrari before you’ve taken your driving test? No. Do you shred before learning to play your first chord? Of course not – singing is exactly the same.
It’s important that you start light and gentle. Don’t immediately try to go for a massive Rock Star tone or distortion if you’re just getting started, learning how to sing is a process of balance, not a race or feat of muscular bravado.
The standard learning curve for singing looks a little like the diagram to your left, and as you can see, the beginning stage might seem a little exciting when you make a little bit of progress with the basics like breathing and resonance, but the Stage 2 rut is a real pain that so many singers get stuck in and never progress beyond.
As you can see, this learning curve is very inefficient and is honestly very ineffective. A better approach is the Foundation, Growth and Balance approach to singing where you first develop a working relationship with each individual aspect of the voice, from Head Voice, to Mix, to Onsets, to Vowels and so forth in the Foundation stage. By setting up a rock solid Foundation first, you will avoid the dreaded Stage 2 rut altogether by progressing to the Growth stage where you build and grow each element of the voice from range right through to tone, articulation and finesse – leading to the most exciting stage, Balance, where you achieve an extensive range, an impressive tone and you can approach songs that you could have only ever dreamed of with that original ineffective learning curve.
As you can see, this is a MUCH more effective way to learn how to sing. In the same way that we identified your head and chest voice in a simple and straightforward manner, you’re also going to learn how to sing a balanced onset, shape your vowels properly, create resonant space and so much more in the Foundation stage of learning how to sing.
By first identifying your head resonance, your chest resonance and then working through each element of the voice in the Foundation stage of singing, you can work towards bridging a connection between your chest and head registers and ultimately create the impressive and powerful singing range that you’ve always dreamed of.
A great place to start is this free Foundation singing lesson which will show you how to get started with this powerful and practical approach to singing. If you’d like to get started straight away you can head straight on over to the Foundation 101 Singing Course to find your true voice!
If you have any questions about learning how to sing or finding head voice, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.