One of the biggest challenges in the way of every budding musician (or karaoke hero) is learning how to sing falsetto. Learning and perfecting a falsetto singing voice is a bit tricky. It doesn’t come naturally to most people – that’s where the ‘false’ comes in – but luckily enough, it’s a skill anyone can learn.
As with every skill you might want to learn, you have to start at the beginning and work your way through the steps until it comes more naturally to you and you can pull it off as effortlessly as the pros. To get you on your way to belting out those high notes, here’s a quick but effective guide on how to sing falsetto.
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It might sound a bit strange, but this is the first thing you’ll need to do. Get into your little boy voice (Mickey) and try talking with it a bit. You should sense a difference not only in the sound, but in how speaking this way actually feels. It will feel as though the sound is coming from somewhere higher and further back in your oral cavity, back up towards your sinuses. This is your falsetto.
Now that you’ve identified your falsetto, you can now begin to work on it. Unless you were literally born for the stage, you won’t be able to carry any kind of falsetto tune just yet, but that’s what you’re reading this for.
A god exercise to sharpen your falsetto at this point is singing the vowels ‘eee’ and ‘oooh’. The way our throats and vocal chords are set up, these are the best vowel sounds to practice falsetto with. Keep to a low volume as you get yourself used to softly singing in falsetto, and it will gradually become easier.
Now, you’ve got your basic falsetto down, but you need to figure out how to place it on the musical scale of tones in order to manage any kind of song. This is where things get a bit technical. First up, you’ll need to pay attention to the placement of your forehead and sinuses. Deep notes emanate from your belly, but falsetto calls for you to produce sound from the very top of your esophagus and upper sinuses. Your tongue will be flattened and forward to the tips of your teeth.
Once you’ve mastered this position, you’ll need to practice what’s referred to as ‘opening up your head’. This isn’t as violent as it may sound. It refers to generally keeping things loose, free, and open – your center, your lungs, your sinuses, all the way through to your mouth.
With that done, you can now determine your range. If you’ve managed to get things right up to here, you will be singing, however low and broken it might be, in what’s known as your register. This is basically your baseline falsetto. You now want to find your range – from the high falsetto to the low. You can do this by simply singing in your baseline falsetto and then attempting to sliding your notes upwards and downwards as far as you can each way. This is a difficult part for many, but as with all the other steps, it gets easier with practice and an initially narrow range can broaden impressively with time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged.
Congratulations! If you manage to stick things out and put in a bit of practice, you will have learned all the basics you need to really get into some tunes with ease. It’s a learning process, but you now have the tools to tackle it.
Be sure to regulate your breathing to accommodate the new falsetto breathing pattern – you will have to train yourself to avoid the urge to pinch or hold your breath at certain points. Loosen up, breathe in deep every time, and let the notes flow out! Don’t worry if it sounds a bit weak or breathy, it will get better with practice.
Always keep in mind what every professional singer will tell you about how to sing falsetto – it’s not something people are born with. It takes time and effort to get the basics right before you can hope to achieve excellence, and even though not everybody will get to perform at the opera in this lifetime, we can all get good enough to impress a few people on karaoke night.
For a complete guide on how to sing, check out an in-depth article here. Best of luck in your vocal endeavors!
Here’s a video breaking down the process of singing falsetto: