10 Practical Methods for Learning How to Sing in Head Voice

The best way you can increase the results of your singing performance is to work on your head voice. It’s the most-used register you have and is often found in songs regardless of the exact range.

In this article, we’ll show you how learning to hone your head voice can help you sing better, and layout the practical methods to get you started.

What is the Head Voice?

Head voice is called the higher portion of your singing voice because many singers notice the vibrations their body produces for form the sound radiates from the head. Each noise, whether the note is low or high, vibrates a particular area of the body. Singing in your head voice means the vibrations take place in that region of the body.

It’s one of the standard vocal registers singers use, among other common options like chest voice. Head voice is often known as the mix or middle voice. But it’s a balance. When you sing in the head register, you haven’t yet become breathy or strained to hit higher notes.

Your head voice begins around the place where your pitch moves from the middle voice or somewhere around the notes E5 to F5.

Why Do I Need It?

Most singers teeter between their chest and head voice during a song, and the best performers can seamlessly weave into other registers on command. Professional voice coaches call this method blending the registers, which requires you to adjust your vowels and breath.

Blending and belting out high notes may require you to sing using your head voice along with your chest. This process is called mixed voice, and you may also move from there into higher falsetto pitches. Techniques like this allow you to form a cohesive performance.

Understanding how to use all registers and noticing where you can feel your singing voice coming from in relation to your body helps you become a better singer. With practice, you can recognize what voice you’re using from the feeling alone. Vibrations are helpful because you probably won’t always be able to hear which voice you’re singing by yourself.

A level of understanding about your vocal range and registers can then allow you to strengthen your head voice, along with the other areas. It’s hard, but not impossible.

Does Everyone Have a Head Voice?

When a singer uses the head voice, they can hit high notes. Sopranos, for example, use head voice often. But everyone has a head voice, including altos. Many women don’t notice much difference between their head and middle voice, while most men use falsetto as their head voice. Either way, head voice is essential for reaching super high notes in any singer’s range.

What’s the Difference Between Head Voice and Falsetto?

Head voice and falsetto come from the same register. However, the head voice isn’t the same as falsetto. They’re both created from the head voice range, but falsetto notes are higher and vary in sound.

Many people confuse the two types of vocal registers because they’re often misused. Both terms describe high notes.

Sometimes people use the term head voice to mean all the high notes you create without using the chest voice. Both head voice and falsetto require thin vocal folds to correctly form the sound, and yes, both are higher notes.

They also confuse new singers into thinking the sound takes place outside of their voice. Your singing voice doesn’t come from the top of the head, but it’s where you can feel the vibrations take place.

Falsetto sounds, unlike the head voice alone, create an open glottis. This is the area of your body between the vocal cords, and a sizeable sound comes from the opening. But by narrowing the vocal folds, you can learn to add more power behind the sound.

The main difference between head voice and falsetto is in the sound. Where falsetto is breathy, hallow, and light, the head voice offers a more balanced, powerful tone. Think of the difference as two different ways to reach the same top pitch.

Am I Using Head Voice?

You can tell if you’re singing in your head voice if you feel the vibrations in your skull with your hand. Place your hand against the crown of your head. Feel the vibrations along the top back section of your head. Ascend and notice the waves as they move from the neck or mouth region into the top part of your head.

Many singers notice vibrations on the back of the hand as they run it alongside their neck, in the front of the face where the sinus cavity lies, and on the roof of the mouth (the hard palate) when they begin singing an ascending pitch. The top notes you can reach should cause vibrations in the uppermost portion of your skull.

You can also feel your head voice by singing closed vowels “ee,” according to Dummies. Unlike the open vowels that you would use to sing falsetto notes, closed vowels create a lighter sound. It’s much easier to feel the vibrations from the head voice with closed, lighter tones.

However, all singers notice vibrations in varying locations. Explore the voice and see how the vibrations feel to you.

10 Practical Methods for Singing in Head Voice

Many exercises can help you learn how to sing in your head voice. The following are our top 10 practical tips. Make sure to complete a vocal warm-up before exercising your voice.

Please note that each of these methods shouldn’t require much energy if you’re doing it right. If you notice you’re using your chest muscles, the sound has tons of weight, or you lose the breath, you’re doing it wrong. You should feel the vibrations in your head, not the chest.

1. Breathe

Proper singing posture and breathing exercises are the first steps toward using any vocal register. They’re also vital for training your head voice. The breath provides the power you need to release a note and stretch it for a more extended period.

Begin by deeply inhaling. Hold the breath, then exhale. Fill your lungs before you expel the air. Take your time, close your eyes, and focus on how breathing from your diaphragm. Feel the intake rise your stomach and notice the power you have with each release.

2. Relax

While posture and breathing are essential for singing, so is relaxation. However, this exercise is more mental than physical. It’s easier said than done for many people.

Your body, particularly the area near your vocal cords, must remain relaxed to avoid causing strain. Relaxation also helps the voice remain firm, never shaky. Plus, staying comfortable is a trick to help calm your nerves before a performance. A calm demeanor allows you to hit the right notes at the right time.

Relax by clearing all thoughts from your mind. Allow your mind to focus on the notes themselves, and make a conscious effort to sing each note accurately. There are many other relaxation techniques you can use when your nerves act up.

3. Smile

A genuine smile goes a long way. It can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable before a big performance, help the audience see you as personable or likable, and even improve the sound of your head voice.

The cool part is that you don’t even need to move your mouth for this exercise to work. Simply picturing yourself smiling in your mind can make the palate heightened. When this happens, airflow increases around your head. You don’t strain to breathe, and thus, perform much better.

4. Speak to Yourself

You can teach yourself to use your head voice more by talking to yourself in the register. If you can learn to speak and pronounce each word regularly in your head voice, you can definitely sing. It’s an excellent exercise for beginners.

Talk to yourself daily to practice. You can repeat the phrase “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin,” using your head voice for practice. Whatever you choose to say, make sure you’re using the right register.

If you’re not sure what else to say, you can also practice your pitch while reading children’s stories like:

  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Rapunzel
  • The Story of the Three Little Pigs
  • Little Red Riding Hood

5. Find What Feels Right

Rather than strain your vocal cords, you want to sing at an available pitch and avoid ascending into high pitches too quickly. Voices offer many variations. Make sure you don’t cause damage to your vocal cords by attempting to push too hard. You don’t want to lose your voice.

Take your time when finding your head voice. Find a pitch that feels comfortable to you, and keep your head voice within a suitable range as well. If you want to extend your vocal range and push your limits to include higher top notes, you can. But the help of a professional is the best way to stay safe. Otherwise, you may destroy your singing voice.

6. Listen to Other Singers

Another perfect way to learn how to sing in head voice is to listen to other singer’s vocals. Every voice differs. But they all have a range and need some guidance. You can hear the head voice in any artist, but it’s easier to pinpoint the tones in a singer with a similar range as you.

Listen carefully. You can hear the difference between head voice and other vocal registers easily. Where head voice is powerful and boasts out, falsetto notes are a bit higher and require lighter breath. Pay attention to when the singers breathe or pause, how they transition, and what falsetto notes they move into. You may be able to pull off a similar pitch degree with practice.

A few awesome mainstream songs to check out to pinpoint the sound difference between head voice and falsetto include:

  • Let It Be by the Beatles
  • Somebody To Love by Queen
  • Money On My Mind by Sam Smith

7. Keep it Simple

Avoid overcomplicating it. Start by singing at a pitch that works well for you and progress. Use these exercises and practice regularly to improve your skills. You don’t have to complete a crazy long period of training or try complicated methods. All you need is to keep the exercise simple. Once you master each pitch, move into another, and keep going.

With regular practice using your head voice, you can gain a decent foundation. From there, you can build the vocal power and consistency of each note. Practice regularly and as often as you can for the best results. The more you practice, the better you sing.

8. Sigh While Yawning

For this easy exercise, you want to imagine you’re sighing while yawning. The practice helps you improve singing in your head voice. The sigh is loud and highly exaggerated. Don’t be afraid to overdo it.

9 Hum “Mmm”

Speaking of simple methods, this one is easy enough for everyone. All you must do is hum the “mmm” sound, keeping your mouth open. The tongue should remain alongside the upper jaw, where it rests. The form alone is nearly enough to perfect the vocal register alone, but the letter M sound also helps learn how to sing in head voice.

10. Keep It Small

You may feel tempted to remain singing with your chest voice. However, you need to avoid making the pitch too heavy. The head voice requires a narrow and small voice. Think small as you reach higher notes. Visualize the vocal cords stretching thin.

Summary

Use these ten practical methods to learn how to sing in your head voice. Everyone who wants to hone the craft can try these tips. Learning how to sing in your head voice better will only improve your skillset.

Good luck!

Ged Richardson

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He's a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band 'Django Mango' and a lover of all things music. When he's not ripping up and down the fretboard, he's tinkering with his '79 Campervan.