Home Vocal Health and Wellness

Ongoing Issue, Losing Notes in Head Voice

Hoping to get some advice on a frustrating issue. I have an appointment with a voice institute next month, but maybe there's something I can do on my own. It started two years ago when I was trying a song that I wasn't ready for (My Kinda Lover by Billy Squier), and kept trying to hit the A4 in full chest voice. Not resting enough in between, and I guess I was beating up my cords in the process. I didn't feel any strain or pain or hoarseness though, no warning signs. But after a few nights I noticed that I could not phonate from about a G4 to a C5, especially in head voice. And it took a few weeks of no singing before I got it back. Well since then I have worked a lot, have added a couple notes to my chest voice, and can pretty seamlessly connect all the way through to E5 in full/mixed voice. I don't sing forcefully, I have good support, and never feel any fatigue or tension or pain in the throat or neck. I have a lot of ping to my voice. I probably do use too much air though. Anyway what happens now is that after I sing for less than a half hour where some notes are in the range A4 to C5, I start to lose my head voice. It starts out gradually, breaking up here and there (especially after a consonant), then it gets to where I can't sing those notes at all in head. I can still sing the A4 and B4 in chest voice, but in head it sounds weak or flips up to some higher note... like I have no control or flexibility. And I can't blend chest with head like I normally can. I don't have mucus to speak of, I eat only a slice of cheese a day and no other dairy, and always hydrate a lot. Sorry for the book, but I'm really hoping to get some insights on what I can do about this.. as it's very frustrating to have put in so much work and made a lot of progress, but be held back by this issue. Thanks in advance for any help!


  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 450
    edited July 2021
    You claim to have “a lot of ping” but follow that with “I probably use too much air”. This is as close to a dichotomy as I can think of in the singing world. If you’re using too much air, you’re probably nowhere near as pingy as you think, because too much air will kill ping and it will dry out and irritate the vocal chords. Without hearing you sing, I would venture you’re probably just as airy in your head voice and over time your chords are becoming inflamed and you’re losing phonation. While I can’t be certain this is the case without hearing you sing, if it is, I think reviewing support is in order. Also, a cue that helped me with breathiness is “sucking in the note” rather than pushing it out your mouth. Try drawing each note up and into the the throat. Hope this helps.

  • tsterletsterle Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the response Randy. Good point. I did not mean too much air, I used the wrong word there.. Really I meant too much pressure. I think I have pretty good cord closure most of the time. But I also sing in high gear most of the time, whereas I need to back off and vary the intensity more.

    Anyway I just recorded this as my first take... this evening. The raw, vocal only track of the Journey song. Trying out a new mic and pop filter. A very challenging song, and I know I still need to work on making the B sound better/... and probably other things. And the head voice parts in general. So it is very raw, but maybe there is a clue there as to why this issue creeps in. I was able to switch to head voice several times here. But a few takes later, I started having trouble with the head voice notes. I can post that part later if it would help.


    Thanks to anyone who has insights or comments regarding this, or anything else.

  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 450
    I think you’re still hitting your chords with a lot of air. At the end of your phrases I hear a glut of air as you release the last note. I also think you’re belting much to loudly; you’re shouting the majority of the song. When you flip to head voice, you’re also not as bright as you could be. To summarize, I believe belting too loudly without adequate support and lacking chord closure in your head voice is causing inflammation of your chords and causing a lack of phonation at the top of your register after only a few takes. Dial up the support, reduce the volume, and realize that this is a monster song and may take years to have the technical ability to sing safely in the original key. You may also want to post full “lah” triads in bridging and stretching with the piano track playing softly in the background to receive more comprehensive feedback. While it’s helpful to have video from the waist up while you perform these, it’s not necessary if you wish to remain anonymous.
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    Agree with everything randy says. You need to sing that in a light voice. You’re putting way too much belt in to it. I’ve been working on that song for awhile with good nights and bad nights but the one thing I can promise is that you’re singing it way too hard
  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 450
    @sjonrokz4u Can probably tell you better than I because he’s been practicing this song. This song will require judicious use of mixed voice and depending on where you are in your training, you may not have the ability to use it well or at all. In my own experience, I found I started to get a better grasp of mixing after practicing Volume 2 for several months. I still don’t think I have the technical mastery to do this song justice though.
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    The best advice i can give is to lighten up on the belting, its more of a light registration. its a little deceiving but try to hold back it will sound much better. its definatley not belted. if you belt you get yourself trapped
  • tsterletsterle Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the feedback and advice guys! I know exactly what you both mean. I will have to see if I can lighten up on the pressure and still hit the notes. It will require more control and maybe I don't have the mixed voice mastered enough yet, though I know it's come a long way recently. When it doesn't break apart that is. I have a big lung capacity so there is a lot of air to hold back. That's why you hear the exhales at the end of phrases. Maybe taking shallower or less frequent breaths will help. Or sticking to songs within my ability ;0

    If you or anyone else has time.. where in the course are the best places to learn about and practice mixed voice? I've gotten through most of Vol 2 I think and don't recall much that speaks to that specifically... though I know all the other training will help with that.
  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 450
    I recommend you take things in the order they appear. Become a master at each volume before moving ahead. The key to building a strong mixed voice is growing the chest voice. Ken has arranged the course this way for a reason.
  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 450
    Volume 5 concentrates on building mixed voice, but you will start building before that without realizing it.
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,042
Sign In or Register to comment.