If you’re a singer, you already know how difficult those high notes can be. The thing is, they don’t have to be difficult if you learn the right techniques. All singers are different and have different capabilities, including the ability to sing different octaves with ease.
Learning your own range and capabilities is the first step in determining what to do next to improve your skills in singing high notes, and it’s all a lot easier than you think.
Five Tips to Singing High Notes
Let’s get started by discussing some of the many ways that you can improve your skills at singing high notes.
1. Know the Type of Voice You Have
Everyone has a different voice type, and they fall into these main categories:
- Mezzo soprano
If you have a very low singing voice, you may not be able to sing as high as someone with a higher voice. You can greatly improve your range by practicing certain techniques, but everyone has limitations and you have to know what your limitations are.
2. Learn to Relax Your Face
Singing high notes is more than just opening your mouth wider and pushing out more air. In fact, if this is all you do to sing high notes, you may actually damage your vocal cords. Instead, learn to relax your face and mouth before you start singing.
Yawn real big to get the muscles to relax, and stretch your neck and shoulder muscles to get rid of any tension there. You can also massage the fleshy part under your chin so the muscles will loosen up a bit. All of these things help to relax the facial area so you can hit higher notes.
3. Make Sure That You Are Hydrated
This may be a surprise to some people, but soft drinks, coffee, and alcoholic beverages are all bad for your voice. Caffeinated drinks especially are bad because they are diuretics, which means you’ll pass urine more frequently and thus are prone to becoming dehydrated.
And as you can imagine, being dehydrated is bad for your singing voice. Give up those drinks and stick to room-temperature water, and it’s best if you drink 9-13 cups a day. Singers need more water than people who do not sing.
4. Learn to Breathe Properly
If you want to sing high notes without straining your voice, you have to learn to breathe the right way. This means breathing from the diaphragm, which is the area right above your stomach. There’s no need to raise your shoulders and pull in all of the air from your stomach and not your chest.
If you take a few large breaths, you’ll feel the diaphragm expand, and that’s what you want. When you exhale, make a “shhh” sound and try not to have any breaks in the breath itself. This is a good exercise to help you learn how to breathe the right way.
5. Learn to Be a Vocal Athlete
What does this mean? Simply put, it means knowing how to hit the high notes so that they are full and controlled and hitting the low notes without making a gravelly sound. A clean and confident sound is what you want regardless of the types of notes you’re hitting.
This is much easier if you practice daily, consider hiring a voice coach, and learn a variety of vocal exercises to make hitting both high and low notes a lot easier. But also keep in mind that you cannot sing all day long. Even if your aim is to be a professional singer, you need to take a break from singing throughout the day.
Where Do High Notes Come From?
With the right techniques and a lot of practice, anyone can hit high notes. This is because all singing is produced by the vocal cords, also called vocal folds. Vocal folds are a pair of mucosal membranes that stretch out across the inside of your larynx, also called your voice box. These folds open whenever you breathe and come together whenever you sing or speak. Think of the vocal folds like a rubber band that can thicken and stretch.
Each time you speak or sing, these vocal folds come together and resist the air coming from your lungs. Simply put, low notes are achieved with short, thick vocal folds, and high notes are achieved with vocal folds that are long and thin. When the vocal folds come together to resist the air, vibrations are created that resonate by your nasal cavity, throat, teeth, tongue, and lips.
If you take a rubber band and strum it when it’s stretched out, then when it’s not stretched, you’ll notice a difference in sound. This is much how vocal folds work when you sing high notes versus singing low notes. In other words, singing high versus low notes is determined by how much your vocal folds can shorten or stretch.
What High Notes Should You Expect From Your Voice?
As mentioned earlier, not everyone can hit the super-high notes, but regardless of where you are now, you can increase your ability to sing high notes with the techniques mentioned above, for starters. You should also make it a habit to practice certain vocal exercises four or five times per week for 30 to 60 minutes each time. These exercises will stretch the vocal cords and help to expand your range, in addition to preventing damages to your muscles and vocal cords.
Other techniques, including keeping your chin down and your jaw slightly open, also help. If you want to expand your range so you can sing as high as your favorite singers, remember that it has to be done slowly. Most singers have a range of between one-and-a-half and two octaves, but many professional singers can cover three and sometimes four octaves.
The thing is that you don’t get this way overnight but only by regular practice, practicing the right way, and getting a voice coach so that you practice all of these suggestions the proper way. This is the only way to be successful at it in the end.