Wondering what happened to those soprano notes you belted out as a child? Or perhaps you’re a teen hoping to hit the charts with your dulcet tones one day, but you’re worried puberty will throw a spanner into your dreams of stardom?
Here’s what really happens to your voice during those hormonal teenage years. And why you shouldn’t worry about puberty changing your singing ability.
How Does Your Voice Change?
The first thing to note is that everyone’s voice changes during puberty. This is because the ovaries and testes release a surge of estrogen and testosterone into the body. Both boys and girls get a rush of both hormones, but the testosterone level is greater in boys. Since testosterone is responsible for the changes to your voice box, voice changes are more noticeable in them.
Testosterone makes your voice box, or larynx, bigger. The vocal cords sit tightly across the voice box and control your pitch. As you speak, the cords press together, and air from your lungs comes through them, creating a vibration that becomes your voice. The lower your pitch, the looser your vocal cords will be, and the higher your pitch, the tighter they are.
Your vocal cords also get longer and thicker to accommodate your enlarged larynx. And your face starts to change, giving you more space behind your nose and the back of your throat. This gives your voice more room to echo for a deeper, more distinctive tone.
Boys’ voice boxes tend to grow larger than girls, and at a slight angle, creating an Adams’ apple. And it can take a while for the body to get used to these changes, which is why the voice sometimes cracks.
Can Puberty Improve Your Voice?
Although puberty significantly affects your voice, it has very little to do with how good or bad you are at singing. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! The more you work on your voice, the better it will be.
Having said that, puberty gives your voice a chance to expand and develop. So, you may find you can hit notes you couldn’t before. When you reach maturity, your voice box should be fully developed, and you will be able to stretch your voice further than ever.
Maintaining that ability is a different story. As you age, your voice starts to deteriorate. The better you look after your voice as you are younger, the more likely you will be able to sing until long into your later years. Check out our blog on How Does Your Voice Deteriorate with Age (And How Can You Protect It?)
When Will Your Voice be at its Strongest?
Vocal maturity is different for everyone but happens for most sometime in their twenties. Vocal maturity is when your voice is at its peak. This is when you can really test your vocal cords and see what they can do.
Deeper voices usually take a little longer to reach maturity. And with the proper training, you can constantly be working on improving your voice long after the hormones have done their work. If you dream of becoming an opera singer, you won’t reach your peak until many years after you’ve hit vocal maturity, as you’ll need to build up your lungs to hit those other-worldly notes.
So, Can You Start a Singing Career Before Puberty?
There’s no best age to embark on a singing career. Whenever you decide to start, if you practice and get into good training habits, you’ll be able to ride the changes that puberty brings with ease. Even boys, who might temporarily lose their ability to hit the highest notes, can train their voice to go up an octave or more, but it takes hard work, perseverance, and an excellent singing coach.
Just remember, puberty rarely ruins your voice. It just gives you the tools you need to project and deepen your notes. If you work with it, you can sing better than ever!
Want some more advice or itching to get started? Check out our singing classes and work with your voice, no matter what your hormones are doing now! All you need is a willingness to learn and a great vocal coach by your side.
Tags: Learn singing as an adult
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