“He who sings frightens away his ills.” - Miguel de Cervantes
Whether you’re a baritone, countertenor, or a soprano, the voice is a beautiful musical instrument and both male and female voices can be powerful emotional tools when used correctly.
In addition to singing lessons, a lot of aspiring singers also look to increasing their vocal range. After all, this will help them improve their repertoire.
Since the voice is also a muscle, this means you can train it like you would any other muscle. To do this, you need to be motivated, work hard, and follow the right advice.
Here’s our advice for reaching higher and lower notes.
How to Reach Higher Notes
Let’s start with how to reach high notes. To improve your vocal range, you need to be aware of the different types of voice.
There are 4 female voice types:
There are three male voice types:
Regardless of your voice type, you don’t want to overwork your vocal cords and, by extension, your body. This is why to sing higher notes, you’ll want to use your head voice. The head voice starts just after your spoken voice.
Listen to your body when you’re working on reaching higher notes.
Secondly, breathing is also essential when trying to reach higher notes. With proper breath control, you’ll make better and more rapid progress towards reaching those higher notes. It’ll take patience to reach this goal.
Make sure to massage your jaw as every note you sing has to pass by here. Take care of yourself, too, as being in good health will help you reach those higher notes more easily.
Here are some things you might want to do:
- Ensure that you open your mouth properly when singing.
- Avoid lifting your chin to keep your tongue and palate in the perfect position for singing high notes.
- Regularly drink water to ensure your vocal cords remain hydrated.
This will help you to broaden your vocal range. Good luck!
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How to Reach Lower Notes
Higher notes can be difficult for any voice type to reach. However, reaching lower notes can be just as difficult.
Deeper notes are made by slowly vibrating your vocal cords; the opposite of high notes. To reach lower notes, you’ll want to use your chest voice, which, unlike your head voice, uses your thorax more when you sing.
To reach lower notes, some people will use a mixed voice. You must pay attention to your diaphragm when trying to sing both low notes and high notes. Don’t forget to warm up before singing lower notes, either.
It’s a good idea to practise with scales and start from the higher notes before heading downwards to the lowest note you can make. This might take some time, but it’ll help warm up your vocal cords. You can also do this with your mouth closed and humming until you reach the lowest note in your range. Go chromatically and you’ll get there.
You can also use the vocal fry technique, which involves tensing the vocal cords which will make your voice crackle when singing lower notes. Bit by bit, these exercises and techniques will help you lower your voice as long as you listen to your body and practise within the range of your abilities.
There are shortcuts and mistakes you might make that won’t do you any favours.
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Learning to Sing Higher Notes
Like with any skill, singing involves a lot of complexity and nuance, which means you’ll need to know exactly what you should be doing. There are a lot of errors you’ll want to avoid, especially when trying to broaden your vocal range to include more high notes.
Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when trying to sing higher notes. However, there are certainly a plethora of mistakes to avoid, but these are the most common and important ones:
- Forcing your voice: Remember that you should always sing without overexerting yourself. We all have our limits and you can’t go beyond them by pushing yourself too hard.
- Dehydration: Vocal cords need to be hydrated to function correctly so make sure you stay hydrated to reach those higher notes.
- Imitating others: Everyone has a unique voice. You mightn’t always be able to reach the same kinds of notes as your favourite singers. Similarly, you mightn’t even be the same voice type.
- Singing out of key just to reach the higher notes: Don’t just sing the highest note you can if it’s not the note you’re supposed to be singing. It’s far better to hit the right note than just any high note.
- Avoiding new things: Some people like to stick to the same songs and techniques and run the risk of never broadening their musical horizons or their vocal range.
- Breathing incorrectly: You need to manage your breathing when you sing high notes. Regardless of your voice type, tessitura, or vocal abilities, you can’t sing well if you’re not breathing properly. How you breathe will affect the note you’re singing, after all.
- Singing in a chest voice for high notes: This can quickly tire you out and if you want to sing powerful high notes, the belting technique can help.
- Lifting your head: To sing high notes, it’s a good idea to lower your chin or keep your eyes forwards to ensure that your tongue and palate are in the right position.
- Mumbling: Some singers garble the lyrics when singing high notes. This can ruin an otherwise excellent high note. Open your mouth and sing clearly!
- Taking it too seriously: Make sure that you enjoy your singing.
Which Singers Can Reach the Highest Notes?
A lot of singers can bewitch us with their beautiful voices and impressive vocal ranges. Let’s not forget that while they’re very talented, they also work very hard on their voice.
They can serve as a powerful source of inspiration for any singer. There are a lot of singers famous for the high notes they can hit, but here are a few of our favourites.
- Mariah Carey: She can sing across five octaves with an impressive whistle register that allows her to sing high notes.
- Jonas Kaufmann: This tenor’s high notes are marvellous.
- Ariana Grande: Much like Mariah, Ariana is another singer that uses the whistle register when singing.
- Luciano Pavarotti: This tenor needs no introduction.
- Christina Aguilera: This singer’s powerful voice spans four octaves.
- Prince: His voice overlaps a lot with female vocal ranges and spans four and a half octaves.
- Maria Callas: This diva could reach high notes that would bring tears to your eyes.
- Axl Rose: The singer of Guns N’ Roses has an impressive vocal range covering five and a half octaves!
- Celine Dion: This superstar’s voice is iconic.
- Sia: A singer with powerful high notes.
As you’ll have understood, your voice type doesn’t automatically define the notes that you can reach. There are plenty of ways to broaden your vocal range for singing. Don’t forget that it won’t happen overnight, though. You have to work hard on training and improving your voice. Good luck!
If you're interested in learning more about how to sing, expand your vocal range, or music theory, consider getting in touch with one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on the Superprof website.
You can enjoy face-to-face, online, or group tutorials with each type of tutoring having pros and cons that you'll need to consider before you hire a tutor.
A one-on-one tutor can offer very effective tutoring as they can tailor the lessons and teaching approach to the student. While this bespoke service tends to cost a premium, face-to-face tutoring is often the most cost-effective type of tutoring out there since every minute of every session will be spent focusing on the only student in the class.
Group tutoring is a good way to learn for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with the other students in the session. If you plan on singing in a group, it'd also be a good idea to get your singing lessons in a group as you'll want to have the experience of singing and harmonising with others.
If you can't find any suitable or available tutors in your local area, consider broadening your search to include tutors all over the UK and around the world offering online private tutorials. As long as you have a webcam, microphone, and a decent internet connection, you can learn using video conferencing software.
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