During the past couple of years, since Adele has become famous, there has been an ever-increasing number of students who want to focus on developing and improving their falsetto voice. Everybody can learn to sing with their falsetto voice, the trick is to do it safely and correctly for the maximum benefit of your vocal health and singing ability.
You can sing falsetto by singing with your chin up, while you are singing with your chin up you actually stretch your vocal cords, and the more stretched out your vocal cords are the easier it will be to sing falsetto. Once you are able to sing falsetto with your chin up it is time to focus on controlling your vibrato, the better you are at controlling your vibrato the better your falsetto voice will sound.
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There is a lot of confusion about falsetto singing, some think that it is only an alternative name for head voice, while others think that only men can have a falsetto voice, and this includes some of the most famous vocal teachers also. The problem is that during the past couple of decades with the help of TV shows and entertainers a lot of “experts” started to interpret the actual meaning of the singing terminology.
Basically, some vocal teachers will say that falsetto is the head voice or that only men can have a falsetto voice. The truth is that both men and women can have falsetto voices, and there have been numerous studies made on this topic proving its existence. Falsetto is not your head voice, although you will need to be able to use your head voice correctly to access your falsetto voice. When it comes to singing falsetto, there are slight differences between men and women, so if you are a female singer then check out my recent article How to sing falsetto female? ( In 8 Easy Steps ).
The main problem why so many singers struggle with falsetto singing is that they do not know how to do it correctly, and often times they end up like they are screaming or shouting. On the other hand, singers who have mastered falsetto singing like Adele, Justin Timberlake, and even Michael Jackson have gained somewhat of a cult-like following due to their amazing voice. What most vocal coaches tend to ignore is how dangerous it can be for a singer to constantly sing falsetto.
As a singer, your most valuable musical instruments are your vocal cords, and if you use them incorrectly they will get injured fairly quickly. A lot of falsetto singers had to undergo vocal cord surgery because of their falsetto singing, and if you hear them sing you would think that their technique is flawless. The problem is that even with a good falsetto singing technique, you could still develop vocal cord nodules, especially if you use your falsetto voice far too often. If you are struggling with singing high notes then check out my recent article How to sing high notes? ( Top 15 Tips ).
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Sing falsetto with your head voice
Your first step into falsetto singing is to find your head voice, generally speaking, your head voice is used to produce a higher-pitched sound, while your chest voice is mainly for singing lower notes. Your vocal cords are like a string instrument such as a guitar, the tighter together your vocal cords are the higher the pitch of your voice. There are a lot of ways on how you can find your head voice, my favorite is to pitch read.
Imagine that you are reading to some children, and try to enunciate the pitch, this way you will notice a lot of variation in your pitch. I know that you would rather jump right into singing falsetto as soon as possible, but if you do not know how to use your head voice then you will struggle a lot.
Sing falsetto by developing a powerful head voice
Oftentimes singers struggle with singing falsetto because they do not have a strong enough head voice. Your head voice is the support of your falsetto voice and without proper strength, you will not be able to sing falsetto. Developing a more powerful head voice not only will allow you to hit the higher notes but will also let you sing falsetto a lot easier. If you want to develop a strong head voice then check out my recent article How to sing in head voice with power? ( In 10 Easy Steps ).
Find your falsetto voice
The main reason why your first step for singing falsetto is not to find your falsetto voice is that the falsetto voice needs a lot of support. There is simply no point in finding your falsetto voice without having a powerful head voice as you will not be able to use your falsetto voice. One of the easiest ways to find your falsetto voice is by doing sirens like “ohh”, “ahh”, “ehh” start from the top of your register, which is actually your falsetto voice and start gradually going down and up again.
Just note that you should start as high as possible, not somewhere midline, and then go high into your falsetto voice. If you are a beginner singer, attempting this for the first time, then do not get discouraged if it sounds awful as it is normal.
Sing falsetto by breathing correctly while singing
A lot of beginner singers make the mistake of not focusing on breathing properly while they are singing, this is fairly normal as if you are a beginner singer, then there are so many things on which you have to focus. If you have read my articles on breathing or different singing styles, then you probably know that I put a lot of importance on breathing as even a mediocre falsetto singer can sing better than a true falsetto singer just by breathing correctly.
If this is the first time trying out diaphragmatic breathing then my suggestion is to try the following. Lay on your back and put one of your hands on your stomach, now just inhale, but instead of inflating your chest, you should focus on inflating your diaphragm. If your stomach is moving up and down then congratulation you now know how diaphragmatic breathing should feel. Now stand up and start singing with your falsetto voice while having one of your hands on your stomach to keep yourself in check so that you use your diaphragm to breathe.
Don’t worry if you fail the first couple of times, with enough practice, diaphragmatic breathing will become second nature and you will not even have to focus on using it.
Relax before singing falsetto
If you have ever seen a singer who is not relaxed while singing then you have probably noticed that their voice sounds fairly awful, even if they are a talented singer. The tenser your body is the harder it will be for you to sing, it is like pissing against the wind. Go in front of a mirror and start talking with your speaking voice, now start singing with your falsetto voice and you will see that you might point your chin up, raise your shoulders, or even tense up your throat muscles.
Sing falsetto quietly
As a beginner singer you might want to sing as loud as possible when using your falsetto voice, this is not a good idea, as oftentimes you will fall back into using your head voice and you might not even notice. There are a lot of singers who think that they are falsetto singers, but in reality, most of them use either their head voice or a combination between their head voice and their falsetto voice.
Singing high notes with your falsetto voice is fairly challenging for your vocal cords, add in this mix loud singing also and you have a potential for serious vocal cord injury. Instead, my recommendation is to try to sing with a medium voice, like with your speaking voice. Once you are comfortable singing that way you can start gradually increasing how loud you sing.
Sing falsetto by controlling your vibrato
While you are singing falsetto you have probably noticed that while you are changing between your head and falsetto voice that there is a short break and a vibrato effect to it. Beginner falsetto singers oftentimes do not know how to control their vibrato correctly and they end up sounding almost like they are singing off-tune. Advanced singers are fairly good at hiding this vibrato effect and you probably will not even notice it. If you don’t know how to control your vibrato then my recommendation is to check out my recent article Too much vibrato in voice? ( How to Fix? ).
Sing falsetto with vocal placement
If you are a beginner singer, and you have never heard of vocal placement then you probably confused so let me explain. While you are singing with your chest voice you usually have a fairly deep voice which comes from the back of your mouth, however when singing higher notes you should focus on placing the falsetto voice in your forehead, this way you will actually have a sensation that the sound is coming out of your forehead, this is also called, forward placement technique.
Open your mouth while singing falsetto
When singing high notes, no matter if you are using your head voice or your falsetto voice you have to open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can. If you have been struggling with falsetto singing then go in front of the mirror and yawn, notice how wide you have opened your mouth. Now start singing with your falsetto voice in front of the mirror, preferably something with plenty of high notes.
You will probably notice that while you are singing the high notes that you do not open your mouth as wide enough as when you yawn. Try the exercise again, but now focus on opening up your mouth wider when you are singing the higher notes, you will instantly notice how much better it sounds.
Sing falsetto by focusing on passaggio
While you are switching between your head voice and your falsetto voice you will notice a small pause or break in your voice. This is similar to shifting gears in a car, for a split second you will hear a small pause between the different gears. Eliminating passaggio entire is simply impossible, no matter who claims that you should learn to sing without passaggio. Every singer has a small break in their voice, no matter how advanced their singing technique is.
Eliminating this break is virtually impossible but what you could do is to make it less noticeable. Oftentimes beginner singers who do not have a lot of practice of switching between their different voices will have a fairly noticeable break in their voice during the passage. The only way to make this break less noticeable is by practicing switching between your different types of voices.
Take care of your vocal cords if you want to sing falsetto
In order to sing falsetto, you will have to focus on the health of your vocal cords, falsetto singing is fairly hard on your vocal cords, especially in the beginning or if you do not use it correctly. Constantly forcing your vocal cords will only end up in you losing your voice, or even worse, developing vocal cord nodules. If you are a beginner singer then do not practice singing long enough for your throat to hurt, take it easy with one step at a time.
Practice singing falsetto
Practice makes perfect and this is also true for falsetto singing. Although there is a fairly important problem with practicing falsetto singing, which is that if you have not learned how to correctly use your falsetto voice, then you might be practicing incorrectly, way too many beginner singers think that they are focusing on goals of becoming a better singer, but all they are actually doing is forcing their voice with their singing practice, without ever-improving.
No matter how good or bad of a singer you are, you can still sing with your falsetto voice. Singing is a journey of self-discovery, and you often will find that you are able to sing notes which you thought that you will never be able to do, after just a couple of months. So my recommendation is to keep on practicing, and most importantly to practice the correct things that will actually allow you to develop your falsetto voice.