Acquiring Musical Skills • Ask Aureus • Vocal

December 2021

How Do I Reach High Notes?

Surely all of us have tried to reach those high notes like Mariah Carey or Sia, and end up disappointed when a strangled screech or cracked voice comes out of our throats instead. We would be considered lucky if we don’t end up with a sore throat at the end of such attempts. So, how exactly do the professionals reach those unreachable notes so effortlessly? Can one’s vocal range be expanded over time?

Well, with the right vocal technique and enough practice, no note is as impossible to reach as it seems! Below are a few singing tips and exercises that will help you expand your vocal range and improve the quality of your high notes without compromising vocal health.

Relax Your Muscles

In order to have free reign over your voice and hit all the notes you want to hit, it is important to keep your facial, neck and shoulder muscles relaxed at all times. One way to do this is to start all your vocal practice sessions with a few large yawns and to make sure to stretch your neck and shoulders to relieve them of tension. Simple inhaling and exhaling exercises while keeping your breath slow and even are also helpful in relaxing these muscles.

Breathe the Right Way

Sustaining high notes requires lots of breath support and this can only be achieved if you are breathing deeply enough and keeping a well-controlled stream of air through your vocal cords. Inhaling too much air at once can cause pressure to build up in your throat and create resistance below your vocal cords which may lead to voice cracks, while shallow breaths will result in a weak voice. Therefore, it is best to adopt a controlled breathing technique with the use of your diaphragm, ensuring that you have a consistent airflow to make that high note sound right!

Lip Trills

Simple lip trills, while seeming like a rather silly exercise, are one of the best ways to expand your vocal range, and an easy one to add to your warm-up routine. Lip trills train you to sing smoothly from the bottom to the top range of your voice without straining your throat. It is also a sure way to make sure that you are using a steady stream of air to sustain your notes.

Keep Your Jaw Open

It might be the natural reaction for singers to want to close their jaws in order to reach those high notes, but closing your jaw too much can reduce volume, power and tone. The simplest trick to hitting high notes is actually just to have your mouth open wider. This will immediately release all tension in your jaw and throat, and create a passageway for air to flow more easily.

Point Your Chin Down

The mistake singers often make unconsciously when trying to reach high notes is to reach upwards. While it helps to keep your soft palate and cheeks lifted, your chin and tongue are parts you will want to make sure are kept down at all times. This will help you reach high notes with more ease and power.

Never Strain Your Voice

While it is tempting and even natural to give your voice that extra push to hit a certain high note, having tensed vocal cords actually make it harder to sing higher. By adding unnecessary stress to your vocal cords, not only will you risk your voice cracking in the process, you may even be doing the opposite and limiting your vocal range in the long run. The golden rule is always to keep a relaxed and open throat.

Rest and Hydrate!

For your vocal cords to function at its tip-top condition, don’t forget to give it ample time to rest! Spending too much time at a go working on high notes can easily cause vocal fatigue, so be sure to add suitable breaks in between your practice sessions. Ensuring that your vocal cords are warm and moist also helps to keep them in good shape. You can do so by keeping a humidifier in your living space, or just by making sure to drink lots of water!

Sometimes, being a king or queen at singing is all about keeping up with all the little good habits! Also, don’t worry too much if you are unable to hit all the high notes at once, because it takes time and constant practice to strengthen your vocal cords, which will then go towards expanding your vocal range.

The workings of the voice is a truly wonderful thing and there is nothing more mystifying than this instrument that is a part of our human body! Discover what your voice can do with our professional team of voice teachers at Aureus Academy! Book a free trial lesson with us and experience the joy of singing your favourite tunes like a pro!

Alex Sarabi