How to Sing Higher Notes Without Straining?🥇
How do you determine a vocalist’s true ability?
Well, if you’re similar to most people, you’ll rate it based on how well the vocalist can sing high notes, right? These are the notes at the climax of a song after all, which give you goosebumps.
The truth is, singing higher is one of the most difficult tasks for any singer, let alone a seasoned professional singer.
However, don’t be disheartened, with the right protocol and exercises, any vocalist can expand their range and begin hitting high notes with ease. All it takes is some time and perseverance.
However, let’s talk more about exactly how you can go about doing this?
How to Sing High Notes Without Straining?
One of the most obvious issues when reaching for high notes is throat tension which gives the sound of a strained voice.
However, how exactly are you meant to sing high notes without straining?
Well, we’ve done our very best to bring to you some of the best tips below:
Be aware of your limits
I know, this might sound very obvious, but just hear me out here!
As we talked about before, most vocal strain comes from trying to sing notes that are too high for the singer, therefore, out of their vocal range.
However, most beginner singers don’t know their current vocal range, for example, a typical male baritone’s range is around A2 – G#4.
With that being said, if that singer knew that the next song they’re about to sing has a note around C5 (Dramatic Tenor range), it provides awareness that the particular note isn’t reachable, at least just yet.
Of course, men and women have different vocal ranges, and so if you’re thinking about taking lessons, whether they are online singing lessons or private lessons, you’ll be able to figure out your range as you’ll feel tension and even slight pain in your larynx.
If you don’t want to take any lessons, you can follow the video below to work it out yourself:
Once you figure out your range, there are certain exercises that can help strengthen the vocal cords, especially when hitting those high notes.
Want to Learn Specific Vocal Exercises from World-Class Vocal Teachers?
Improve strength and coordination
As we talked previously mentioned, most singers have to strain when singing high notes, and this strain comes from a combination of the following issues:
- Lack of vocal fold strength
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Tension of the larynx
Because of this, it means that you’ll need to carry out vocal exercises to not only increase the strength of your vocal folds, but to better coordinate them.
To do this, we recommend carrying out vocal exercises at least 3-4 times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Similarly to any muscle, to build more muscle requires consistency and dedication.
Some of these exercises include Lip Trills, The Siren, and more which we talk about further down on this post.
These workouts will help eliminate vocal tension and widen your vocal range.
Establish and Maintain Breath Control
One of the most important aspects of singing well is to understand and put into action, the act of singing from the diaphragm instead of the throat. This means using your abdominal muscles to engage the diaphragm when breathing, as breath support, which is especially important for higher notes.
Here’s a workout that you can try, to help engage your stomach muscles and begin building muscle-memory:
First, you want to lay down on your back whilst keeping your knees bent. Then place one hand on your stomach and inhale through your nose as deeply as you can, letting your stomach expand. As you breathe out you’ll begin to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
You can then practice singing whilst lay on the floor, and you may notice it’s quite difficult at first, but as you train and develop your abdominal muscles, this will get easier over time.
Relax your face
Tensions in your face muscles cause vocal strain. That is one fact you need to keep in mind. Prior to you begin your daily singing practice, here is a stretching workout that you can carry out:
Using your thumb, gently massage your chin to loosen the muscles surrounding it. Next, yawn as big and wide as you can to stretch your face and jaws. Stretch your shoulders and neck to get rid of the tension that is building up in those areas.
Light is right – The dopey sounding technique
Straining to hit high notes can be demanding on your vocal cords, so much so that it can even begin to damage them, causing nodules and other structural issues.
However, how can you avoid damaging your voice, whilst working out your vocal cords? It’s all about singing lighter, and using a technique to lower the larynx, despite how ‘dopey’ it makes you sound.
How do you do this? Choose a song that you want to sing along with, and allow your throat to completely relax, don’t worry about pitch, what we’re doing is helping lower the larynx.
You can then begin to slowly wean off the dopey-sounding character of your voice, whilst ensuring that your larynx is still low, until it’s capable of staying low whilst singing normally.
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.Most singers make the mistake of turning their heads up to hit high notes. The lifting of the chin will make it harder for the sound to flow through your throat.
Third, press your tongue down. When you are singing high notes, you may notice that you tend to produce thinner sounds. 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 time and the dedication needed, but what should you do with it?
How to train your voice to sing high notes?
As we’ve briefly talked about, exercises are key in helping you train your voice to sing higher with ease.
Here are a few of such exercises that will help:
Lip Trills (Lip Bubbles)
In order to do this:
- Place your two fingers on the sides of your cheeks, near to your mouth. Purse your lip together and blow your lips and let them vibrate, sounding similar to a horse
- Sound the vowel “uh” while your lips are vibrating
- You can then add pitch to the sound, sounding the note at a comfortable pitch within 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.
- Repeat this process, but instead starting at the lowest possible note, leading to the highest. You’ll begin to get comfortable with this and notice that your range begins to expand and notes that you once strained to hit will be much easier to attain.
” Ooh” and “Eee” Vocal Siren
In order to do this:
- Sound “ooh”, as though you are saying “oops”
- Again, try to do this at a pitch within the middle of your vocal range
- Sing the “Eee” sound (in the same manner as before)
- Then begin alternating between these sounds, like a siren, starting from the lowest pitch leading to the highest note in your vocal range, and vice versa.
- You can do this until you feel minimal strain when transitioning between your low and high vocal range
In order to do this:
- Either take a lay-down, sitting or standing position
- Begin to breathe in slowly through your nose and allow your lungs to fill with air
- Exhale whilst closing your teeth together and using your tongue to control the release of air.
As we said before, we recommend taking an online singing program to follow the expert singing instructors as they teach and walk you through all of the best exercises to help increase your vocal range.
We know, learning how to sing high notes is not necessarily easy, but we hope that you’ve learned enough to begin your journey singing high notes the right way.
If we were to try and summarize the article, hitting high notes requires a good understanding of how to sing, including the correct posture, breathing techniques, and awareness of your own voice. It also requires that you follow a methodical approach to exercising, as you would do with building up any muscle within the body, hence why we recommend taking online singing lessons.
We hope that you’ve found the article useful, and that you know more about singing high notes with power, without straining.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below and we’ll respond ASAP.