How to Access Your Head Voice

Submitted by Hannah Fabean on Thu, 06/04/2020 - 15:47
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Welcome to June where we will switch gears from focusing on singing with an open throat to singing in a way that allows us to access our head voice range more easily. Two featured points I want to get across are airflow connection and airflow consistency. First, you need a full-body connection to the flow of your breath. Then, as you sing in a higher range of pitch, you must remain connected so the flow of breath can be sustained consistently through all pitch levels. If you don't know how to properly access your core support and engage the proper muscles to support the flow of your breath, visit the February concept and learn how by watching this video.

Most Common Approaches

Each of the next three weeks I will release a tutorial video demonstrating and discussing how to access your head voice range with greater ease and comfort. Many singers I have come across, including myself when out of practice, tend to struggle navigating the transition in and out of head voice. The first answer is smoothing out the passagio (AKA break area) and familiarizing with that pitch range. The second answer is singing more frequently in a higher pitch range on music under the condition of healthy vocal technique. I emphasize the pitch range on music because it is so common to only sing in one's comfort zone but never challenging oneself to sing in a higher key. I have to bring out the importance of challenging oneself using healthy technique because you cannot make any gains from challenging yourself to sing in a higher key if you do not do so correctly. You may to more harm to you voice by singing in the higher key if you take your old and unhealthy habits with you.

June Exercises with Explanations

You may want to subscribe if you are interested in the following exercises, which will be presented in my tutorials in the coming weeks. Singing on the [u] ("oo" as in "noodle") vowel in a whole-step pattern is one exercise I use in lessons to allow for upward space, lifting the soft palate. If you are going to sing higher, you need upward space as opposed to your sound falling back. It is important to have a physical sense of the difference between upward and backspace. I will be sure to compare the two.

A second exercise, which gets the breath flow moving, is the tongue trill. If rolling your r's is difficult, you can substitute this in with a lip trill (AKA horse lips). Trilling throughout the range, especially the range of pitches that feel uneasy, scratchy, or unstable will get the vocal folds to begin cooperating with you so you can transition more easily between registers. It also helps clean off because it demands the flow of the breath to produce the trill.

A third exercise, which eliminates unnecessary muscular engagement around the voice box, is the pure [a] vowel (as pronounced in the American English word father or Italian word tanto) in semitones (AKA half steps) moving from low to high pitch. When you begin singing the [a] vowel, you must place your thumb beneath your chin so you can feel whether the tongue muscle presses down. You should feel no pressure in or tighten the base of the tongue. This should be practiced slowly to truly sing the exercise without tongue pressure. In turn, all three exercises will help us sing in our head voice register so much easier and with increased comfort and clarity!

As always, to view my weekly tutorial videos you can visit Free Your Voice channel on YouTube and follow my IG account @letmefreeyourvoice for daily singing tips and music sharing, and you can like my Facebook page Hannah Fabean @letmefreeyourvoice to help promote me as a voice teacher. Like, subscribe and share the blogs and videos that help you!