Boys’ voices don’t “break”!


Please stop using the term “break” right now. It’s discouraging and inaccurate.

A boy with a nice treble voice will find that his voice changes with puberty. The voice may become very unstable as the larger larynx begins to make lower and louder pitches. The relationship between the lower and upper registers changes, and the pure upper register is commonly renamed “falsetto”. Going from a smooth treble sound to a rougher new sound is natural. Such a voice is not breaking. It is growing. No “repair” is needed to deal with this newness, as contrasted to truly broken things such as fractured femurs.

With the voice change, the boy has an opportunity to enjoy making new sounds, to embrace his identity as a young man, and to feel the power that a maturing voice can muster. It’s an exciting time that can be enjoyable and hopeful.

Click on some of the tags near this article to learn more about how to work with the boy’s changing voice. If the teacher has a positive, inquisitive, forward-thinking attitude, so will the singer.

Please choose your words carefully, especially with the young singer. Nothing has broken! Quite the opposite!

2 Replies to “Boys’ voices don’t “break”!”

  1. Unfortunately some boys voices do break. Like mine! I was unable to sing for 2 years, and the voice only slowly established itself. At 18 I was singing 2nd bass. At 25 I was being trained as a light tenor. At 50, I was having to repair / relearn the voice again, redoing all the compromises that I suspect I had used as a coping mechanism back then. (It may have been complicated by playing the oboe at the same time.) But the pubertal voice change can be traumatic. And for some, it needs considerable assistance.

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