Do I have to stop with singing?

The moment has arrived: your voice has changed and become ‘adult’. The first symptoms of these changes can differ from person to person. Your voice might sound less firm and less solid. You may need to make a greater effort than in the past to sing. In your speaking voice you pronounce some of the outliers in a lower tone. Conversely, you find it harder to reach the higher tones. This is all perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. In fact, it is good news: your voice is developing exactly as it should. This so-called voice mutation is evidence that you are growing up, becoming an adult. Obviously, this change takes a bit of getting used to, and we would all like to carry on singing the high notes with the same power and purity. But this kind of high voice is not suited to your bigger body. Imagine what would happen later on in life if you went to apply for a job with the same squeaky, high voice you had when you were a child! Be patient: the voice needs time before it sounds consistently lower in all registers and is stable yet flexible in all situations. Only then will you be able to start singing difficult melodies again. For some people this change process only lasts a matter of months; for others it can take up to two years. Voice change in girls is less dramatic than in boys. Some girls hardly notice that the change is taking place, although sooner or later they all realize that they have lost the ability to reach the very highest tones. Voice change also tends to start earlier in girls than in boys. Does this all mean that you have to stop singing? No, of course it doesn’t. You enjoy singing – so why should you stop? What’s more, many of your singing talents remain unchanged. If you were to temporarily stop singing now, you would need to work very hard in the future to get back to the same level. You can compare it with sport or the playing of a musical instrument: if you don’t keep on practicing, your level of performance soon declines. So you should carry on singing – but there are a number of things you need to watch out for. During the period of mutation your voice is particularly sensitive to overstraining. For this reason, it is advisable not to sing for long periods. Instead, you should just sing in a tone and at a volume that feels comfortable and natural. Of course, you can still sing in the higher tonal reaches, but don’t do it all the time. All these changes mean that you might be asked to sing with a different voice in the choir, but don’t worry: your choir needs this ‘new’ voice just as much as it needed your old one!

EYSI BLAUWThe majority of choir leaders (68%) offer children and youngsters an option after their voice mutation takes place: they can either carry on singing in their existing choir or they will be referred to another choir, which will be more suitable for their changed voice.