Informational Articles

How to Sing Higher Without Straining Your Vocals

Playback singer recording album in the studio

Do you want to learn how to sing higher? Do you use the best vocal microphone but your voice still sounds flat? Do you find yourself struggling to hit those high notes, often straining your voice? It is possible to increase your singing range, safely, and without straining your vocals. It just takes the right techniques and plenty of practice.

When you push your vocals using the wrong techniques, not only will your tone and pitch suffer, but you can risk doing some serious damage to your vocal cords.

Learning how to sing high notes using precision and power is an important part of learning how to sing. But like any muscle in the body, the vocal folds must be trained in order to achieve the type of flexibility that will allow you to easily and safely hit those high notes.

The following tips can help to train and strengthen your vocal folds over time.

Training Your Vocal Folds

If you’ve ever recorded yourself singing to hear what you really sound like, then you’ve probably noticed at some point you tend to yell when you’re straining to hit higher notes, especially if you’re starting off with cold vocals. This is often due to weak or poorly trained vocals.

Take at least fifteen minutes to warm up your vocals before you launch into your favorite song. You can find a number of singing exercises online that you can follow along with. These exercises should be done daily. Not only can they help to strengthen your vocal folds, but they’ll also loosen them up, making it easier to sing and minimizing your chances of straining your vocals.

Discovering Your Voice

Before you can begin to seriously train your vocals you should first determine your natural range. Training to sing higher can actually unlock your range allowing you to sing higher notes comfortably while helping to develop and mold your voice.

In order to find your range begin at middle C on the piano. On sheet music middle C is C4. Start by singing every semitone down until you’re no longer able to clearly and comfortably hit each note. This will be your lowest note. Next, you’ll work your way up the keyboard until you reach your uppermost note.

Try practicing singing in your range daily using friendly exercises that won’t harm your vocals.

The following exercises are commonly used by vocal coaches to help strengthen the vocals and to warm up before a session.

Exercises to Improve Vocal Range

When you sing higher, if your voice has a soft, breathy quality to it, this means that your vocal cords are not coming together properly.

In order to sing higher and achieve a stronger singing voice, the vocal folds must come together correctly and firmly. This works to reduce airflow that can interfere with vocal clarity.

These exercises can strengthen the vocals while encouraging the vocal folds to come together firmly:

Begin by saying “ a a a”

Now try the same sound using the five-tone scale, moving up and down your range. During this time, don’t relax your vocals

Next, try this exercise using different notes: do, rai, mi, fa, so, la, ti.

As you move up and down the scales, focus on relaxing your breathing. Avoid sucking in your stomach or holding your breath.

While practicing these scales, try humming. Humming as you do scales has been proven as one of the most effective exercises that can strengthen the vocals and improve range, especially when it comes to singing higher.

During this time, remember to use your breath to support your singing while you breathe from your diaphragm.

Practice singing every day in your range. Singing should feel comfortable. Over time, you can gradually increase your range, adding higher notes to your daily exercises.

In the beginning, try not to focus on holding the higher notes. Instead, concentrate on consistently hitting it during each practice session. Each time you practice you’ll notice that you’re able to hold the note for a longer period of time. If your range lacks control or your voice cracks, attempting to increase your range before you’re able to consistently hold each note, will be pointless.

Basic Techniques

Basic Vocal Techniques

Attempting to extend your range can be dangerous and impossible without using proper technique.

As you sing, the larynx should be in a resting position. The term “Sing with your throat open” is commonly used by vocal coaches. Remember to stand up straight and focus on using breath support. Your jaw should be relaxed, with your tongue placed at the top of your bottom teeth as you maintain a consistent airflow.

Typically, when people first attempt to sing out of their vocal range they tend to force too much air through the throat. This can result in jamming up the vocals and can prevent you from carrying out higher notes. Using the proper breathing techniques can prevent your singing from sounding breathy while allowing you to hit those higher notes.

Some singers prefer to begin at the top note of their vocal exercises. Beginning at the top can prevent the voice from becoming too heavy while keeping the larynx low.

Vowel Modification

A break in your voice can occur when you move into a higher register from your chest voice. Modifying vowels is a great way to avoid this common singing mistakes. Try using closed, rounded vowel sounds in order to transition easily from the chest voice. When first singing high notes, try using “ee ee” or “ooo” open the vowels slowly to “uhhh” and “ooh” once you’ve reached the desired register.

To make it more comfortable to sing you can change how you pronounce a vowel, then start practicing how to open it up.

If you find yourself working on a song with a challenging note, instead of using the lyrical text try substituting it with a vocal exercise. You can add the text back in once you’re able to comfortably sing the notes.