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In any person's life there comes a moment when he searches for the answer to the
question: Why and more importantly how the voice of a boy turns into that of a man,
and a girl's into that of a woman?
Not many music teachers can soundly explain in detail the process of voice changes
during a child's voice “growing” stage. They only say that these changes are related
So, how do children's voices turn into the adult ones? What happens to them?
The thing is that during physiological processes in the body of a teenager there
is an active growth of vocal chords. This transition period in the throat is called
mutation. For the entire course of mutation, vocal chords grow and accordingly become
This process happens quicker and less noticeably in girls as their vocal chords lengthen
only by one sixth of their previous size. Therefore voice changes are not that prominent
The same process in boys is much more difficult and slower because their young chords
are subjected to a quite a rapid growth. During the period of mutation, they grow
to a third of their length! There are also great changes happening in the boys' throats:
the throat cartilage, which is referred to as Adam's apple, increases. It becomes
more prominent and visible externally in a teenager. That is why voices of men sound
lower than those of females'. We'll come back to explaining these voice changes using
a vivid example.
By the way, depending on the size of Adam's apple one can tell the timbre of a voice
of the adult male? Before he opens his mouth! "Basses" (low male voices) have very
prominent Adam's apples. In "tenors" (high male voices) Adam's apples are less noticeable
and much more smoothed out.
As chords grow quite quickly, it is difficult for a teenage boy to adapt to the increasing
voice changes and learn to use the chords. That is why from time to time you'll occasionally
hear them slip for a second into a high-pitched voice during conversation. Their
voice breaks off and instead of new, low "manly” sounds, the underdeveloped vocal
chords slip back into the "childish" voice. It occurs when boys want to say something
with slightly increased sound.
During the mutation period when voice changes, the teenage boys go through difficult
times. Some classmates, who in the future will have high voices (tenor), but mainly
schoolgirls, will often make jokes at the expense of a “squeaky” boy and make him
feel very uncomfortable. Such moments can be quite agonizing and bring the teenager
You, dear parents, should support your son when voice changes start happening. The
first thing you should do is to show your sincere joy about your boy getting older!
In order to understand and mainly explain to your son how his voice changes and how
it works, you have to do the following:
1. Take any musical instrument that has strings. For example, a toy violin or a guitar
will do. If there's nothing like that in your house, it can be found in the house
of your friends or in the store.
Mentally divide a fingerboard (part of the instrument where the strings are attached)
into three parts.
2. Choose any string and imagine that it is vocal chords. Firmly press this string
at the length of one third from the head of the fingerboard.
3. Without removing the finger from the pressed string, play the string and closely
listen to the sound.
4. And now take the finger off the fingerboard and play the string a few more times,
using the entire length of it.
5. Do both 3-5 times more and compare the sounding.
Did you notice what happened? Along the entire length the string produces a sound
much lower than when it's pressed. The same occurs to the voice of your son! This
is exactly how his voice changes. The only thing is that the transition from the
clamped string (children's vocal chords) to the entire-length string (fully formed
vocal chords of the male body) will last on an average for two years.
What can you possibly advise your teenage son during this period of discomfort when
the voice changes begin? Firstly, do not shout and in general try to speak in the
lower tone of voice. At the same time this habit will help make the child more calm
Secondly, if he wants to sing he has to do it very quietly, almost murmuring the
song but never loud by any means!
Thirdly, if your son has good vocal potential and has been taking singing lessons
for a few years, his voice needs special care. You have to consult with his teacher
in your child's presence and receive detailed instructions.
And at last but not the least: do not let things get out of your control. Be responsible
and follow the advice of the voice teacher. Your vigilance is the key for the undeveloped
voice of your son who does not give enough credit to the voice changes happening.