Tips to improve your vocal range

Simple Tips to Help Anyone Improve His or Her Vocal Range

One of the most frequent questions we’re asked by both aspiring and experienced vocalists is how to improve vocal range. Hitting those higher notes can make or break a performance, that’s for sure, but the most important thing is not to injure yourself in the process. We’ve consulted with a few of our vocal coach friends to present some simple tips to help you safely and comfortably improve vocal range over time.

As with any new exercise program (you’re conditioning your vocal muscles to be comfortable at higher pitches), it’s ideal to consult with an expert first. In this case, a professional vocal coach will be able to help ensure you progress in a healthy way. “If it hurts, stop,” are words to live by when it comes to protecting your voice. It’s also absolutely essential that you take care of your cords!

Know Your Voice

Before you can start to train your voice to sing higher, you must determine your natural range. All the singing you’ll ever do is within your natural range, the interval from your lowest to highest note. The goal in improving your vocal range is to ‘unlock’ the outermost notes of your natural range and be able to sing them comfortably, clearly and beautifully.

To find your vocal range, start at middle C on the keyboard. Middle C is represented as C4 on your sheet music, 4 signifying the 4th octave. Sing each semitone down until you cannot comfortably and clearly hit the notes, this is your lowest note. Then work your way up the keyboard from middle C, singing along with each semitone to find your uppermost note.

Practice singing your natural range daily via “friendly exercises.” A friendly exercise is repeating a sound that is easy for you to sing, such as ‘mum’ or ‘la.’  As your range gradually expands (one note at a time), add these higher notes to your friendly exercises. Don’t worry about holding the new note at first, rather concentrate on hitting it reliably multiple times (8-10) within a practice session. Work until you can comfortably sustain the note clearly for a longer duration of time. Trying to extend your vocal range will do you no good if it breaks or lacks control.

Use Proper Technique

You’ll find it ‘s nearly impossible, not to mention dangerous, to extend your range without employing proper singing techniques. Here’s a quick overview of the basics:

Your larynx should be low, at rest position. “Sing with an open throat,” is a common mantra to remember. Here is a great tutorial for practicing your open throat singing! Stand straight and make full use of your breath support. Your tongue should rest at the top of your bottom teeth and your jaw should be relaxed. Finally maintain consistent airflow.

When singing outside their regular vocal range, some beginning vocalists tend to either force more air through the throat, which can jam up the vocal chords, or restrict air flow, which can lead to a breathy sound. Maintaining your technique will help you avoid either of these situations.

You may also find it helpful to start at the top note of your vocal exercises from time to time. Starting from the top will keep your voice from getting too heavy, help you keep your larynx low and break the cycle of always having to move from your chest voice to head voice (higher register).

Modify Vowels and Substitute Words

Let’s discuss for a second that pivotal moment when you move from your chest voice to your higher register. It’s often around this point in your range that you may experience “the break.” This is when your voice tends to crack or strain, and our natural response if often to add tension to avoid the problem. A great technique for circumventing this problem is vowel modification. By using rounded, closed vowel sounds, we’re able to more easily transition from chest voice to higher register. Try it out! Use “oo” or “ee” when first singing higher notes. Once you can reach your desired register, slowly open the vowels to “oh” and “uh.” Change how you articulate a vowel to help make it more comfortable to sing, then gradually practice opening it up.

Similarly, when working on a new piece with a challenging note, try substituting the lyrical text with a vocal exercise. Use the word “noo,” for example, on the high notes. Once you can sing the notes comfortably, add your text back in. You can also use vowel modification within words. The word “that” might be replaced with “thet” in the upper register. Here’s a very detailed article focusing on vowel pronunciation and the acoustics behind it (skip to page 3 for vowel modification).

Now that you have some tips to try out, check out our Singer Pro sheet music store for the best selection of officially licensed, professionally arranged vocal sheet music. Our Singer Pro sheet music is created specifically for vocalists, with a vocal line separate from the accompaniment, so that you’re better able to replicate the original artist’s rendition or put your very own spin on the song.

Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for your fellow vocalists? Is there an exercise you’ve found especially helpful in improving your vocal range? Share your insights in the comments below!

 

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15 comments

  1. A complete under stable and brief article i can say…Totally Agreed with your points in the blog….Yes it is necessary first to see what is our vocal range…After that only we might be able to improve it..

  2. Jonnie Agresta

    Vocal Range notation is very confusing to me. Perhaps it is just me but I have purchased music 2 or 3 times in the wrong range. It would be much simpler to have staff lines showing the low note and the high note, two notes. It is expensive and annoying to have to purchase again to get the right key.

    • Michael

      jonnie. In almost any Music Recording software even the free one’s you have the ability to change the key to any music.

  3. Angie Greene

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    If you want to be a better singer, visit http://www.SingBetter.info – the tips on that website have helped me discover how to get the best tone out of my voice while improving my pitch so it sounds full and pure. It has helped me develop an ear with the ability to simply hit the right notes with confidence. It has explained exactly how to breathe so that I get the most out of my voice. I’m able to sing for hours without strain! The unique exercises have taken me beyond a simple warm up routine helping my voice “breakthrough”. My range has increased, I hit higher notes, and I feel less strain in my voice and notes that were once impossible to reach are now easy to sing. I like that the online course is much more affordable than expensive private singing lessons. I have the flexibility to do my singing lessons when it is most convenient and I can work through the modules at my own pace. The tips on that website are an incredible resource…it definitely has improved my voice! If it worked for me, I promise it’ll work for you too!

  4. Train your voice and body simply like an athlete.Drink water to keep your body all around hydrated, and maintain a strategic distance from liquor and caffeine. Before singing you ought to warm up without fail. Vocal activities are vital to making your vocal harmonies slacken up and empowering them to vibrate all the more freely. Utilizing right breath control is basic to keeping your voice in tip top condition.Let your voice shine,Pace yourself,Avoid phonotraumatic practices, for example, hollering, shouting, uproarious talking, singing too loudly,Adequate hydration.

  5. Good tips! know your voice is really important first. Everyone has own voice. You couldnt sing too far out of your range. You can try the highest and lowest note that you feel comfortable with and then practice in that scale.

  6. Thanks for the article. I have always been very shy about singing in front of people and when I sing in my car often my voice hurts after. I would really like to learn more and try to sing better.

  7. Thank you for your post!This tutorial is fabulous! Lots of great info including, Next is start warming up Find your range. I’ve only been watching her tutorials for a week and I already feel an improvement.Thinking, More Power without strain.

  8. Thank you for your post!This tutorial is fabulous! Lots of great info including,In the music world, there are many great female singers, but only a few have risen to the level of greatness that these giants of American pop culture have. I believe in Famous Women Singer are the best singers in American history.

  9. Wow this is amazing. I hope such things happen in my place as well.

  10. Very useful article. Additional elements I think are important: maintaining good posture and being fit. I have watched YouTubes of my favorite singer dating from 2000 to last week. It’s clear she’s developed a chin thrust, rounding her shoulders and constricting her airway. She is changing from a singer who hits the high notes in a relaxed, effortless manner to a singer who now employs her whole body to reach them. Exercising her upper body (shoulders, torso, neck) to support her throat and head; and regular workouts, yoga, pilates, etc. to increase her flexibility and endurance would likely also increase her breath control. She still has the most beautiful voice I have ever heard, but she is now having trouble maintaining her upper register and attacking cleanly the first notes of a song.

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