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i have a question 4 Agnes

Hi there,
I read in one of your replys, on another post that some girls go through a breaty change of voice when maturing. It's sounds interesting to me as i've noticed it a few it in some classmates at performance school. Could u possible tell me at little more about it eg:if it is permanent, what age group etc. Also what with male singers during their change in voice, in terms of getting their control back? is it sometimes impossible?
Thanks Anna

Re: i have a question 4 Agnes

Hi Anna

There is a wonderful teacher called Dierdre Trundle who has done a great deal of work on the adolescent voice. Her initial work was with boys' voices but she has also done some research with maturing girls. I attended a course she gave about 2 years ago.

The gist of it was like this. The larynx is a target for changes in hormone levels throughout life in both genders. For boys the main change is at puberty when their larynx grows 7 times faster than the rest of the body for a period of a few years between about 12 and about 17, although this can start as young as at 9 years old (!)

For girls there are hormone level changes in the 12 - 14 age group that may mean that the folds don't adduct properly for a few reasons. The hormones that cause menstruation can affect all mucus membranes, and so girls can experience swelling of the membranes of the larynx, particularly of the folds themselves, just before their period. (In France apparently you get a week off from singing in some choruses at whatever time of the month you are affected. How civilised!) Inefficient adduction (pulling together) of the folds will make the voice sound breathy.

Some girls record stuffy noses and other mucus problems at this time, not related to lifestyle choices such as smoking etc.

The female larynx does grow, but not in the marked way that the male one does. When boys go through voice change, they lose their top notes, and then the voice starts to lower note by note, with the top lowering more like 3 notes by 3 notes, so that the vocal range shrinks until the boy has just an octave and a note to sing with. John Cooksey in the US was one of the pioneers of researching male voice change, and identified 5 stages, culminating in New Baritone, where the boy's voice had a good deal of the range of a mature singer but not the characteristics of a mature voice (not such a full tone)

There are a number of songs which have this as the range of the song, and it is perfectly possible to do your grade 8 exam with a changing voice. The pianist just has to transpose everything.

Girls may find that they lose some of their top notes and develop some roughness in the voice, but there can be a number of reasons for this. One of the main reasons for rough tone in my experience is smoking, which no serious singer should even entertain the thought of doing. Smoking lowers and roughens the voice. It's a fact.

If you or your friends are experiencing problems with roughness or breathiness you should bring this up with your teachers. Do you have the luxury of weekly individual singing lessons at your school?

All the best


Re: i have a question 4 Agnes

Thanks for taking the time to answer back Agnes, i found the information very helpful! By the way yes i do under go weekly private voice classes also. Once again thank you for sharing the knowledge around