How do you gauge a singer’s skills? Most probably, you rate it based on how high the notes he can hit, right? Well, we can’t blame you. Singing higher is one of the most challenging skills that you can develop as a singer.
No matter how difficult it is, it is not impossible. Any singer can achieve this feat, but you can only do this through regular, dedicated practice and using the right techniques.
How to sing high? In this article, let us explore the many techniques that you need to apply to sing high notes properly.
How to Sing Higher Notes Without Straining?
What is the most common problem you encounter when hitting the high notes? Most likely, it is a strained voice. Most singers have this big question—how to sing high notes with power but without straining?
Here are some tips on how to sing high notes without straining:
Know your voice
The biggest reason singers experience voice strain is that they try to hit certain notes beyond their vocal range. This is a grave mistake since our voices are wired differently. Because of this, the tip on how to sing high notes for guys without straining may be different from that for women.
In addition to the gender differences, another factor to consider on how to sing a high note is your vocal range. Aside from asking how to sing high notes male, you should also determine your vocal range. After that, select the repertoire and keys that can help you become the best singer.
Once you are already an expert in your vocal range, you can proceed in pushing the boundaries and learn how to sing high notes without straining.
Understanding your voice characteristics is vital, so you would know which advice to apply. For one, you may have heard of tips on how to sing high notes in chest voice. You should understand that this technique is only applicable to female mezzo-soprano singers. If you have a different voice type, singing notes higher in your head voice is a better move since you will damage your vocal cords if you try the former advice.
Boost your vocal strength
If you want to hit high notes, you need to strengthen your vocal power. If your vocal power is not strong enough, you will have problems sustaining and hitting high notes.
To boost your vocal strength, it is recommended that you perform vocal technique exercises at least 4 to 5 times a week. Do this for at least 30 minutes and 60 minutes at most. These exercises are developed to stretch your vocal cords and expand your vocal range and protect your vocal muscles.
There are many exercises that you can try. These include Solfege, Lip Buzz, The Siren, and many more. You can discover how to do these exercises in the next section of this article.
Establish good breath support
When we talk about breath support, we would automatically think of our chest. The truth is good breath support when it comes to singing would be abdominal and diaphragmatic support. It is only through breathing through your diaphragm and abdomen that you can be able to facilitate the air needed from your lungs to your throat then to your vocal cords.
Here’s one exercise that you can try to strengthen your abdominal muscles to get the breath support that you need: Lie down on your back. Keep your knees bent and back flat. After that, place one hand on your stomach. Inhale as deep as you can and feel your muscles expanding as you do. Exhale and feel your muscle contract.
Do a sit up. While you do that, sing a major scale. Sing the top note when you are at the top of your sit-up. Keep singing the scale as you go down from your sit-up position.
Continue doing this exercise. At some point, you will feel that there is no longer tension in your diaphragm and abdominal muscles. When you’ve reached this, you already have established good breath support.
Relax your face
Tensions in your face muscles cause vocal strain. That is one fact you need to keep in mind. Lucky for you, there is one right way to prevent that from happening—relax your face. When you practice daily, you can stretch your facial muscles and allow them to relax more easily.
Before you start your daily singing practice, here is a stretching exercise that you can perform:
Put your trigger fingers on your chin. Using your thumb, gently massage your chin to loosen the muscles surrounding it. After that, open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can. Do this many times. Next, yawn as wide and big as you can to stretch your face and jaws. Lastly, stretch your shoulders and neck to get rid of the tension that is building up in those areas.
Do the dopey sound technique.
Vocal strain prevents you from singing high notes. The most common cause of vocal strain would be tension in your larynx.
Lucky for you, there’s one way on how you can relax your larynx. This is the dopey sound technique. Here’s how you can do it: Choose a song phrase that you’re having problems singing. Recite the phrase in a goofy manner (aka dopey sound). After that, sing the song using in the same dopey character.
When you do this, you will notice that it is easier for you to sing high notes. Are you curious why? Well, that’s because your tongue and larynx are relaxed when you use your dopey sounding voice.
But of course, you should not maintain the dopey sound. Instead, slowly wean off the dopey character until your larynx is already relaxed enough to sing a note in your regular voice.
Assume the proper singing position.
In addition to singing posture, you should focus on assuming the right singing position too.
The first step is to open your mouth wider. When your mouth is wide open, there will be less tension in your jaw and tongue, which is the most common culprit of vocal strain. Aside from that, it will be a lot easier for your sound to flow from your vocal cords.
Second, point your chin down. Most singers make the mistake of turning their heads up to hit high notes. Doing this can make your soft palate arch up. However, this move will also lift your chin and tongue. The lifting of the chin will make it harder for the sound to flow through your throat.
Third, press your tongue down. You may notice that you tend to produce thinner sounds when you are singing high notes. This is because our throat tends to close when we are singing higher. One way to avoid this is to press your tongue down on the back of your throat to prevent it from closing.
Exercises to help sing high notes
As mentioned, hitting high notes can only be made possible through dedicated practice. This means that you should invest your time and effort to train your voice to hit high notes without straining.
We know you already have the dedication and the time needed, but what should you do with it? How to train your voice to sing higher? Here are some of the exercises that may help:
To do this:
- Put two fingers on the sides of your cheeks. Purse your lip together and blow your lips and let them vibrate.
- Say the vowel sound “uh” while your lips are vibrating.
- Sing the “uh” sound in the note that is in the middle of your vocal range.
- Perform a scale with the vowel sound starting from the lower notes to the higher ones then work your way back lower.
- Do this again, this time in the lowest possible note to the highest possible note you can sing. Repeat this again and again until you are able to transition your voice from low to high smoothly.
“Ooh” and “Eee” Vocal Siren
To do this:
- Say “ooh” in the way you would say oops!
- Find the note in your vocal range that you are most comfortable with. Sing the ooh sound (in the same manner as before) in it.
- Sing the vowel sound from lowest to highest, then vice versa.
- Perform this exercise until you can transition from low to high without straining your voice.
Perform the same steps, but instead of “ooh,” you will do it with “eee.” Say the “eee” vowel sound as if you’re saying “eat!”
- This one is an exercise for breath support. To do this:
- You can assume a lying, sitting, or standing position depending on which you are most comfortable with.
- Slowly breathe in through your nose and allow air to fill your lungs.
- Exhale while gritting your teeth. Using your tongue, try to control the release of air. In the process, you will produce a hissing sound.
Learning how to sing high notes without straining is not easy, but it can be done. We have already provided you all the tips and exercises you need in hitting the high notes. Now, it’s your turn. It is up to you to invest time and effort in putting these tips into practice and regularly performing the exercises. This is the best way you can boost your vocal power and sing high notes without straining.