What is the average for a guy? I know it can go up to the 20s. My voice changed when I was 13, now it’s an average voice not high, not low, but when I sing there’s just some notes I struggle with, I also have a vocal coach. Right now I am 16, so I think my voice might be done changing.
Answer: Be sure you listen to your coach when s/he answers your question. Mine will probably only enlarge on his/hers slightly. [I am privy to some of the advice he received from other teachers.]
The voice (larynx) is the last organ of the body to mature. Our female friends usually have it together considerably before we do (in many respects)! In the process of the “mutation” that your teacher mentioned, there can be a lengthy developmental period in which the muscles of the voice develop as the singer learns to use his/her voice within the range that is accessible and comfortable.
While you may feel, at 16, that your voice is “done changing” because it has altered from being a soprano to a baritone, there is actually a WHOLE LOT MORE developing and maturing that takes place in the coming years. It is important that in these years (16-21) you are establishing GOOD SINGING HABITS, because it is likely going to be in the years that follow these that the range and character of your voice really blossoms.
Getting back to the subject of the “vocal organ” maturing: The housing of the voice (thyroid cartilage) and the structure that holds it together – to which the muscles are attached – is quite “pliable” at 16, making it hard work for a young man your age to make those large clear ringing tones you hear from older singers. Those ligaments harden with age, giving increased stability to the muscles of the voice. This hardening is part of the “changing” or “maturing” process. In a woman’s voice the ligaments have reached their “hardening” point by about age 28, and this takes several years longer for most men – usually until about age 35.
If you will work under a good voice teacher so as to establish good vocal habits, you will help your voice develop to its potential. Over the years you will notice that your range expands, the sound you produce will become consistently clear and rich, and you will have expressive control to make strong energetic sounds, and lyric quiet ones without getting unnecessarily breathy. This is all part of the “changing” that has already begun as your voice matures over the coming years. So, PURELY PHYSICALLY, your voice will be “fully developed” around 35. But to tell the truth, it’s not static, and you’ll find that your voice will continue to work in ever freeing ways if you have learned to sing with good habits – those that you learn and establish during the next 6 or so years.
Note: this is a gradual process that takes time. There’s no way around that. Have fun singing.