Identification of the adolescent male voice: Unchanged vs. falsetto
Wayman, John B.
MetadataShow full item record
Music educators have been trained to assist male students through the voice changing process. A major challenge of assisting students through this change is identifying where they are in vocal maturation process. According to John Cooksey, there are six stages in this process. Identification of the first stage, the unchanged voice, may be especially problematic. Is the boyâ€™s voice unchanged, or has it changed and the boy is singing in falsetto? The purpose of this study is to examine the abilities of the pre-service music educator to identify, describe, and distinguish between the male adolescent unchanged and falsetto voices when listening to a stimulus recording. Secondary questions involve pre-service educatorsâ€™ confidence in their decisions and their verbal descriptors of the unchanged and falsetto voices. Methodology consisted of developing a stimulus recording (N= 16) containing adolescent male falsetto (n=8) and unchanged (n= 8) vocal samples selected by a panel of experts. Pre-service music educators (N= 61) then assessed the stimulus recording, followed with a Likert ranking of the confidence in their choice and written descriptors of the adolescent male falsetto and unchanged voice. Some of the significant findings revealed in this population were: the unchanged voice was more often correctly identified than the falsetto voices; males had greater identification accuracy than females; and males that had participated in elementary/middle school music programs were more accurate in identification than those in only secondary programs. The results yielded supporting data for stronger pre-service music educator training including, but not limited to: accurate vocal range identification, aural skills, selection of appropriate solo and choral curriculum, recognition of vocal and physical cues from students, and the ability to assist the adolescent male through the vocal maturation process physically and emotionally.