How to switch from chest voice to head voice? ( 7 Easy Ways )

Most beginner singers think that switching or transitioning from one vocal registry to another is extremely difficult, this is far from the truth but you will need to learn a couple of new things to be able to do it. In some cases, you might even have to unlearn some bad habits which you might have picked up and which are preventing you to transition correctly.

You can switch from chest voice to head voice by focusing on two aspects, which are eliminating the break while doing the switch and knowing when to transition between the voices. Practice passaggio as much as you can, as this focuses on the transitioning of one voice to another. In addition to this, you should use mixed voice exercises as these will allow you to switch from chest to head voice a lot easier.

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Your chest and head voice sound totally different, this is why most singers use both of them while singing. While transitioning from chest voice to head voice might sound fairly easy, although some beginner singes do have problems with the actual transitioning part. The problem with some beginner singers is not that they can not sing by using their chest or their head voice, the actual problem is not being able to transition between the two of them.

Some beginner singers who can not transition correctly simply sing the entire song with either their chest or their head voice and their singing sounds just as you can imagine, awful. As a singer, you have to train all the aspects which contribute to singing, and sadly the most beginner singers never even arrive at the moment when they should start training how to transition from chest voice to head voice, as they have probably already quit by now.

If you are a singer who has a problem transitioning from one voice to another, do not worry I have you covered. After you read this article you will know everything about how to switch from chest voice to head voice, in just a few steps. Training your voice is extremely important to singers, and yes you can even train yourself to transition smoothly between your chest and head voice. If you are new to voice training, then check out my recent article for more information Can you train your voice to sing? ( In 6 Easy Steps ).

Most beginner singers do not know how to transition from chest to head voice, although the process might seem a little bit hard when you first start, but with enough training, you will be able to transition smoothly through them. All you need is some will power to be able to achieve it, and some good exercises that I will list down below, try them for a couple of weeks and you should see improvements while you are transitioning between your voices.

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Eliminate the break between the chest and head voice

If you have been learning from a vocal coach you probably know what the break is, if you don’t here is a quick summary. The break is simply when the singer tries to transition from chest voice to head voice and they make an abrupt break before the transition. This is actually not transitioning, as the break stops the entire process. In order to transition smoothly from one voice to another, you will have to do it without a break.

The elimination of the break can be extremely difficult for a lot of singers, as oftentimes they also breathe through it. All songs have certain timings where the singer can inhale air, the problem is that most of them use the transitioning period to inhale air and this is what causes the break in most cases. There are some cases that the break is not caused by the singer inhaling but by them, actually making a short pause while they are switching through the chest and head voice, this is not transitioning anymore, it is switching.

If you are a singer you have probably heard of passaggio, this simply means the actual transition between the different types of voices. In Italian, it means passage which is exactly what it is, a passage from chest voice to head voice.

Know when to transition between the chest and head voice

Most beginner singers do not actually know when they have to transition, the problem is that they oftentimes get confused if from the cues of the song which can be either interpreted as a cue when you can inhale or a cue when you have to transition. Generally speaking, most people can not transition from chest voice to head voice correctly is because they go fairly high with their chest voice.

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Once they start singing higher notes with their chest voice they will not be able to transition correctly into head voice. My recommendation is to record yourself as you are probably not even noticing yourself doing it. The chest voice should significantly be lower than the head voice, simply put use your chest voice for low and medium notes and use your head voice for the higher notes. Although this might sound easy it is fairly hard to accomplish.

One of the easiest ways to know when to transition is by doing a simple exercise that will allow you to transition a lot easier. Go in front of the mirror and sing one note, start with a lower chest voice, switch to a middle chest voice, and then switch to your head voice for the higher notes. At first, you will notice that you will make a lot of breaks during the passaggio, this is fairly normal. You should do this exercise until you no longer can hear or notice the actual break during the transition. Once you are able to transition with the exercise then it is time to start using it while you sing, my recommendation is to start with some tenor songs, click here to check which ones I recommend Tenor songs for females ( Top 18 ).

Mixed voice exercises for switching between the chest and head voice

Most beginner singers think that they have one type of voice and they only practice to develop that certain type of voice. The truth is that most successful singers actually have a mixed voice and while they are training their mixed voice they actually learn how to transition from one voice to another. My personal recommendation, especially if you are a beginner singer to start doing some mixed voice exercises, this way you not only will improve the transition between the chest and head voice but you will also have a far easier time actually find your true voice.

As I have previously mentioned, most successful singers have a mixed voice and this is what actually allows them to transition fluently through different voice registers. Most beginner singers even if they have a mixed voice they try to force themselves to just using one of their voices, in order to get better. While this all sounds fine and dandy the problem is that these beginner singers will actually neglect their other types of voices, and when it comes to singing they are not able or outright refuse to use their mixed voice.

The main reason why some beginner singers use only one of their vocal registries rather than their mixed voice is that with the mixed voice you will have to train a lot harder to develop all the vocal registries of which they are capable. A lot of people compare mixed voice vs head voice, but the truth is that both of them are fairly different from each other, the problem is that the definitions of both of them contradict each other, and I bet you have already noticed a pattern here.

Way too many vocal teaches and gurus have their own interpretation of mixed voice or head voice, and most of the time they even contradict themselves after just a couple of years, which only adds fuel to the confusion. Luckily there are some excellent mixed voice exercises with which you can learn how to sing in a mixed voice like:

  • Octave leaps
  • Arpeggios
  • Mixed voice exercises

Switch from chest voice to head voice with passaggio 

Passaggio or transitioning has to be practiced, without practice, you will not get the necessary experience to transition correctly from your chest voice to your head voice. There are a lot of songs which do will allow you to practice the transition, if you are not at the singing part yet then you can rely on vocal exercises which will teach you how to transition correctly ( you can find this somewhere above ).

For singers who have taught themselves how to sing it might be fairly difficult to also teach themselves to transition from one vocal register to another. If you are having difficulties transitioning then you might want to seek some help from a vocal coach if you have the budget for it. If you are on a tight budget you could also use some free apps which teach you how to sing, although the problem with them is most of them do not have any lessons about vocal transitions.

Know the difference between head voice vs falsetto

There is a lot of confusion between what actually the head voice is and what falsetto is. I can understand the confusion as if you search around the internet for the definition of head voice or the definition of falsetto you will get some contradictory definitions, and this is where most of the confusion comes from. Lucky for you I will simplify it, the difference between head voice and falsetto is not the sound which they make but the actual position of the vocal cords.

If the vocal cords are connected and touching each other then you are singing with a head voice, if the vocal cords are loose and not connected to each other then you are using falsetto. Another major source of confusion when it comes to head voice vs falsetto is the actual singers themselves, while you are using either of these you will notice that the sound resonates in your head and it could get very confusing to actually know if you are using your head voice or falsetto.

The main problem with falsetto is that it doesn’t have enough power to sing higher notes, and this is why most vocal coaches teach that you should learn to transition from chest voice to head voice and not from the chest voice to your falsetto. Singers who rely on singing falsetto most of their lives might even develop the vocal wobble, which is a condition where the vocal cords can no longer connect to each other and it makes a wobble sounding effect.

If you are a beginner singer who still doesn’t know what genre of singing style is good for your voice, then check out my recent article Types of singing styles and genres ( Top 11 ) as it will head some light on your confusions.

Head voice exercises for transitioning between voices

If you want to know how to sing in between head and chest voice you will have to learn how to actually use your head voice correctly. As I have previously mentioned, most beginner singers do not know the difference between head voice and falsetto, and oftentimes they try to transition from their chest voice through falsetto. The main issue for these singers is that they do not actually know how to use their head voice correctly, luckily there are a couple of head voice exercises which will help you in this department like:

  • Practicing your pitch
  • Lip rolls
  • Yawning exercises
  • Octave leaps
  • Portamento

In conclusion

Transitioning from your chest voice to your head voice can be somewhat difficult if you have never done it correctly. I have listed above several ways how you can actually learn to transition correctly, but only if you learn one thing from this article it should be the elimination of the break. Once you master to transition from one vocal register to another without taking a break you can consider yourself being able to correctly transition from one register to another, now all you have to do is to try it in reverse, meaning you have to learn to transition from your head voice to your chest voice.