Singing Louder in Head Voice - It's Easier Than You Think!

Singing Louder in Head Voice - It's Easier Than You Think!
Photo by Luke Thornton / Unsplash

Many singers have a strong chest voice, but find they start to sound weak and airy as they reach their head voice. This is completely normal, but incredibly annoying when trying to sing powerful higher notes. Singing louder in head voice is something that comes easily with training, so I have written this article to give you the tips you need to get there.

Controlling the airflow through your vocal cords and increasing resonance will increase the volume of your head voice. This is achieved by lowering the back of your tongue and soft palate to add nasal resonance and strengthening your diaphragm to control the airflow through your vocal cords.

You learn more about adding nasal tone and strengthening your diaphragm below. You will also find some easy exercises towards the end of this article that help increase the volume of your head voice in this way.

How to Sing Louder in Head Voice

Head voice is often softer and more airy because the vocal cords are thinner and further apart than in chest voice. This is simply how the anatomy works and says nothing about the quality of your voice. However, a trained singer is able to overcome these natural set-backs.

Singing louder in head voice is all about controlling the air flow from your lungs. Controlling the airflow can change how much air passes through your vocal cords and where the air (and sound) goes from there. There are several muscles in the body that control this airflow, but the main muscles are the tongue, soft palate and diaphragm.

The tongue and soft palate can change the direction of the airflow, directing it through your nose or through your mouth. This can add or subtract resonance from your voice. The diaphragm, on the other hand, can control how much air passes through the vocal cords.

By adding more resonance and controlling the diaphragm, you will increase the volume of your head voice.

Add More Resonance to Your Voice with Twang

There are two resonance chambers (open spaces) available to make your voice louder. One is the mouth, or oral cavity, and the other is the large open space at the back of your nose (the nasal cavity). By using both of these chambers, you are maximising resonance and therefore volume.

Most people naturally sing using more oral resonance, which means that the airflow is mostly passing through their mouth. On the other hand, you can also sing with too much nasal resonance, where the airflow is mostly passing through your nose. If you struggle with too much nasality, take a look at this article to learn how to reduce that tone.

The key is to manipulate the airflow so that you use both resonance chambers. The air should swirl around your nasal cavity, but ultimately still come out your mouth.  This is known as adding nasal tone to your voice or, more commonly, 'finding your middle voice'.

A pure nasal tone is the tone we hear when listening to a witch's cackle. It is very harsh and piercing to listen to. However, when mixing this into the soft tone of head voice, this creates a rich, clear and loud sound. You can actively increase nasal resonance (nasal tone or twang) to your voice in the following two ways.

  • Lower Your Soft Palate
  • Lower the Back of Your Tongue

Try manipulating these two muscles in the back of your throat when singing one long note. Lowering both of these muscles allows the air to flow through your nasal cavity (by lowering the soft palate), but then also through your mouth (by lowering the back of the tongue).

If you are struggling to move these muscles on your own, you may need to strengthen them using the exercises at the end of this article. These exercises use sounds we are used to making to lower these muscles.

Sing From Your Diaphragm by Engaging It

Another way to sing louder is to strengthen your diaphragm. If you learn to control your diaphragm, you can use the force of the air in your lungs to project your voice further.

The key here is to hold a big reservoir of air in your lungs while still allowing air to pass through the vocal cords. This is achieved by relaxing the diaphragm slowly after a big breath in.

This a similar process to lifting weights. Once you have lifted the weight, you can either completely relax the muscle and drop the weight down quickly, or you can relax the muscle slowly, controlling how fast you lower the weight.

Lowering the weight down slowly, or releasing the air in your lungs slowly, is called engaging your muscles. Therefore, when your singing teacher tells you to sing from your diaphragm, they simply mean engage your diaphragm while you sing. Don't let all the air out at once.

Letting all the air out quickly is what gives your head voice its airy light sound. This is because the vocal cords are further apart in head voice than in chest voice. The more open the vocal cords are, the quicker air will escape (if you let it).

I have also included exercises below for strengthening and engaging your diaphragm.

Exercises to Sing Louder in Head Voice

Animal Sounds

There are a number of sounds we make when imitating animals that naturally use a nasal tone. This includes the following.

  • Buzz like a bee
  • Meow like a cat
  • Whimper like a puppy

Singing through these sounds will automatically lower the soft palate, allowing more airflow into the nasal cavity. You should try making these sounds while raising and lowering your pitch. This is great for kids learning to sing, but is just as much fun for adults!

The next step is to transition into an 'Ah' sound while the soft palate is still lowered, in order to also lower the back of the tongue. The exercises below will help you with this.


Sing an 'oo' sound while sliding the pitch of your voice up and down. This will sound very much like a siren. The formation of the vowel sound 'oo' is another way to lower the soft palate. By singing this up high, and then sliding down lower, you are then forcing the back of your tongue to also drop.

Ring Like a Bell

Like the sound 'oo', the 'ng' sound in 'ring' also lowers the soft palate. Therefore, by singing the word 'ring' and hold the 'ng' sound as long as you can, you are holding your soft palate in this position.

In order to then lower your tongue, try to transition from the 'ng' sound to an 'ah' sound. Make this transition as slow as possible to focus on keeping both the soft palate and back of the tongue down.

Targeted Scales and Vowels

Singing scales is a very common vocal exercise. You can find out more about singing scales here. For the purpose of exercising the nasal tone in your head voice, you should target these scales to your head voice range.

You should also only use sounds that encourage the nasal tone. Some good examples you can use are: 'ya', 'mi' and 'nu'.

Your head voice is usually the upper half of your natural vocal range (check out this article to find yours). Therefore, focus on singing through scales that include these notes.

Engaging Your Diaphragm

Whenever you release the air in your lungs slowly, you are engaging your diaphragm. One great exercise to do this is to use a 'sh' sound. Take a big breath in and then hold the 'sh' sound for as long as you can.

You can also try holding a single note for an extended period of time. I would recommend doing this after first trying the 'sh' exercise, because it's a lot easier to let all the air out when holding a note.

Whichever exercise you do, make sure to time yourself. Let the air out as slowly and possible and turn it into a game where you try to beat your personal best. Each time you are letting the air out slowly, you are engaging and strengthening your diaphragm.

How to Sing Louder in Falsetto

Singing louder in falsetto follows all the same principles I mentioned above. When singing in falsetto (both males and females), the vocal cords are even further apart than they were in your head voice. In fact, they are no longer touching at all, which is what gives falsetto its unique airy sound.

Because the vocal cords need to be separated to achieve those higher notes you're used to hearing in falsetto, more air can escape your lungs. Therefore it is even more crucial to work on your diaphragm control to hold the air in your lungs.

Increasing the resonance in your voice by lowering the soft palate and back of the tongue will also make your falsetto register louder and clearer. For more information on the difference between head voice and falsetto, click here.

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