The teen male voice change

We all know that at puberty, boy’s voices drop in pitch. The larynx grows larger, new notes emerge, and then follows the work of strengthening and coordinating the “new” voice.

However, the adolescent male voice change is not a one-way ticket to the bottom of the future voice. Some boys will settle into the baritone range and stay there, and others will eventually become tenors. Some boys will seem to be headed toward being true basses, but then the voice settles as a baritone. This is because it is common for a teen male to acquire some very low notes early in the voice change, and then have the bottom 2nd or 3rd go away as the voice matures. In other cases, voices will pick up more pitches on the bottom with age. Others drop and stay there, with the upper part of the range gaining in strength over time. There are many patterns possible.

Put another way, both a raising and a lowering of the overall pitch set can occur during the teen years after the initial voice change. As a voice teacher, it is my job to show the student how to strengthen, coordinate, and free up the voice, and let the voice show us what it is becoming.

Generally, it works to give teen boys songs in an easy baritone range at first, and not be in a hurry to extend the range in repertoire until it is apparent, through exercises first, that the voice is heading in a certain direction.


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