Many child singers have nice, soprano voices. But as they get older, some of them, especially the boys, will see their voices deepen. We all know this is going to happen, but do you know what, exactly, is happening to their voices? Read on as we discuss this upcoming change in your child’s life.
The process when a person’s body changes from a child’s to an adult’s is called puberty. One of the changes they experience is growth of the larynx, also known as the voice box.
A child’s larynx is small, and their vocal cords are small and thin, too. But when they go through puberty, the larynx gets bigger and the vocal cords lengthen and thicken. Short, thin vocal cords, much like similar strings on a musical instrument, produce higher-pitched sounds. When they get longer and thicker, like their musical counterparts, they produce lower-pitched sounds.
Everyone’s voice changes at a different time, so while some children may hear their voice deepen as early as 11, for others it might take a few years.
While girls’ voices do get a little deeper during this change, boys’ voices change much more. The testosterone boys’ bodies develop causes that significant change.
Boys also have a visual indication their voices have changed. As their larynx grows, it shifts to a different angle and starts to protrude from the neck. This is known as the Adam’s apple.
You’ve probably heard a young teenage boy’s voice crack as he talks. It may be embarrassing for him, but it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon. What’s happening is, his body is getting used to the change in his larynx. This normally doesn’t last more than a few months.
If your child is a singer, it’s important to remember to work with these changes, not against them.
“Young singers and voice coaches alike should approach pubertal voice changes with patience and latitude,” CEENTA ENT doctor Darrell Klotz, MD, said. “Pushing one’s voice to keep within a previous singing range or trying to reach for an anticipated – and sometimes long awaited – range during this transitional time can result in vocal injury.”
So if your singing group has a lot of pre-teens, it might be time to pick some songs with a heavy baritone section. You might lose a lot of your sopranos soon.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Klotz practices in CEENTA’s SouthPark office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You may also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.