I've encountered men and boys who are seemingly unable to sing in falsetto. They sing as high as their chest voice will allow, straining at the top, but are unable to slip into falsetto.

Presuming this isn't a physiological impossibility for them, how would a voice teacher approach teaching falsetto to them?

I've framed the question around male voices, because I'm allowing that men and women are trained differently, and my particular encounters with this limitation has only involved male voices. However, there's no reason answers can't address both.

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    idk… though for 30 years of my life I had just that… 3 ½ octaves of 'full voice' but am incapable of singing any higher by switching to falsetto. I can sing falsetto, just with the same limits. [I've now lost a lot of the top end, but the limitation remains]
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 19:56
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    Were they trained in any kind of singing before? Do they have a cultural/psychological aversion to singing in that register?
    – Theodore
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 13:52
  • @Theodore good questions. No and no.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 16:51
  • Very interesting, but IMO phrased a bit broadly. What would you like to know specifically about how male falsetto is taught?
    – user45266
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 21:08
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    @user1079505 I'm specifically asking about falsetto. My understanding of the difference is that it has to do with how strong the vocal cord vibrations are. But if teaching one teachers the other, then a discussion of teaching head voice would work for my purposes.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


Trying to describe any vocal 'process' can be very difficult, and often ends up by using nebulous instructions like "sing through the top of your head".

Teaching by example is often more beneficial than descriptions. Show them how you do it. Try to find some exercise that enables falsetto.

Falsetto can require more diaphragm pressure and breath control -- novices often complain that they can't sing as long phrases as with their chest voice; so it can indeed be more difficult, physically.

A first approach is to ask them to mimic yodelling: sing a low note and try to 'flip it' to a high one, without sliding.

Many people find their falsetto as a more relaxed method of singing higher notes, so encouragement to relax into it may help. Short repeated percussive 'ahs' at a high pitch may be a way to feel different ways of making the sound.

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