Everyone wants to learn how to sing high notes, but beginners and even some intermediate-level singers do not exactly know how to do it without straining their vocal cords. Unnecessary strain only spells bad news for you in the long run. Therefore, it is important to know how to sing high notes without straining. Keep reading this article to find out how!
Why Can’t I Sing High Notes?
Reaching high notes is very hard, especially for someone untrained. If you have attempted to reach for a high note before and made a soundless squeak or had a break in your voice, then you are likely putting too much strain and tension on your vocal cords. This constricts your vocal cords and prevents you from pushing air out properly, which is necessary to create clean high notes.
Can Anyone Sing High Notes?
You might be wondering: can alto sing high notes? The answer to that is yes! The vocal range is flexible and, with the right training and technique, you can definitely expand your range. As with most things, it is just a matter of practice. Resilience is the key to improvement.
Even if you do not immediately find a massive change in your voice the night after you began practicing, it does not mean the work out is not doing anything for you. Muscle training takes some time and your voice box is filled with muscles that need time to get accustomed to the way you desire to use them.
How to Sing High Notes
Enough small talk! Let us dig right into these tips on how to sing high pitched notes.
1. Know What Your Voice Type Is
Every person has a different vocal range that categorizes them into one of the eight main voice types. If you do not know these, read this in-depth I wrote.
Identifying your specific type of voice will not only give you a starting point but also allows you to track your improvement as you practice to sing high notes. Doing so also helps you in your search for exercises to improve your existing range.
Here is a quick look at the vocal range of the eight different voice types:
- Male Voice Types:
- Bass – E4 to C2
- Baritone – G2 to G4
- Tenor – C3 to C5
- Countertenor – Equivalent to the range of a female alto or in a sopranist’s case, a female soprano.
- Female Voice Types:
- Contralto – Equivalent to the range of a male tenor or baritone.
- Alto – F3 to F5
- Mezzo-Soprano – A3 to A5
- Soprano – C4 to C6
If you do not know your vocal range and would like to find out immediately, here is a handy range finder tool that you can use d!
2. Observe Proper Posture
Observing the proper posture when you are learning how to sing higher is very important. Why is this so important? Try this quick exercise:
- Lie on your back
- Try to sing
- Then stand up straight following the tips on the image above.
- Try to sing
Is it not much easier to belt out a tune while you are in the right position? Even a sitting position can make it slightly more difficult to sing but why?
Singing involves your entire body (2). Even the bend of your knees and the balance of your soles contribute something to the way your voice sounds. A good singing position allows you to breathe properly and gives the organs and muscles responsible for your vocal quality and tone enough space to move and function without strain.
Here is how you stand with a proper singer’s posture:
- Straighten your neck so that you are neither looking up or down. Make sure to reduce the tension around your jaw and neck area.
- Your shoulders should not be moving while you sing, allow them to fall into a relaxed position.
- Do not crane your neck forward but, instead, keep it in line with your spine.
- Keep your arms to your side, do not clench them or fidget with them as these types of actions will only serve to make you look nervous.
- Allow your torso to feel large and open for optimal breathing.
- Use your hips for support.
- Soften your knees so they are neither too stiff or too wobbly.
- Your feet should be spread apart the same width as your shoulders. This will provide you with perfect balance and prevent you from leaning too far back or too forward.
Relaxation is very important when you are learning how to sing high notes. When you are stressed, your muscles tense and contract, your jaw clenches and your tongue become a little stiffer. This tension makes it harder for air to push through your vocal cords. In turn, you’ll have difficulty articulating the lyrics and to open your jaw and let the sound reverberate through your palate.
All of these factors make it more difficult for you to reach high notes. The more you stress, the more likely it is that you will not be able to achieve your goal. Trust in your ability and relax.
4. Observe Proper Breathing
Proper breathing has a positive impact on your overall vocal quality. After all, a huge part of singing depends on how your body can manipulate the air you take in to produce a beautiful sound.
Proper breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, will make it much easier, for you to sing high. It will also enable you to produce high notes with strong and clear quality. Here is how you can do diaphragmatic breathing:
A relaxed chest and neck area allows you to use them fully for your voice. This is what makes diaphragmatic breathing so important as it frees your neck and chest from tension and optimizes your breathing.
- Find a flat surface to lie on but keep your knees bent as you do.
- Feel your chest and your abdomen by putting your hands on top.
- Inhale solely through your nose. Let your diaphragm expand. You will know you are doing this successfully if your abdomen is moving.
- Once you exhale, exhale through both your mouth and nose. You should feel little resistance as you do this while your diaphragm works to push all the air out of your lungs.
- Throughout this whole exercise, your chest and shoulders should have little to no movement.
Need visual help for this exercise? Here is a great demonstration video:
If you would like to find several breathing exercises to help you with your vocal workout routines, you can check out this article here!
If singing high notes is already difficult for you before, imagine trying to reach for high notes without the proper warm-up? Not only will this make your high notes screechy, but it will also give your vocal cords unnecessary strain. Not warming up before doing anything vocally, especially something as hard as hitting high notes or belting them can pose a serious problem for your vocal muscles.
The unnecessary vocal strain can easily be avoided by committing to a daily warm-up routine that will make sure to get your voice to its best form every day, ready to take on those high notes and allow you to sing high without pain or strain! Here is an article that will provide you a full daily workout plan for your voice.
Vocal exercises are already important to improve the overall quality of your voice so it should be obvious that it is definitely the key on how to sing higher; a skill we all desire so bad. However, there are several exercises that will benefit you more in your endeavor to reach high notes. Here are some of them:
Everyone knows how to hum. It is one of the most soothing things we have heard from our parents and it is something we do when we are happy or content.
Once you start humming, start from the lowest note you can make. Try to include the ‘H’ sound at the beginning as this will help open up your vocal cords. Slowly make your way up the scale and then back down.
This exercise also helps you have a better grasp of your mixed voice.
Here is a nifty guide for this exercise:
You have heard the siren of a police car or an ambulance. Using this ‘oooo’ sound, start off at the Middle C and make your way down the scale to the lowest note you can sing. After this, slowly make your way up the scale up to the highest note you can sing.
Remember that there should not be any pain while doing these exercises. If you feel pain, stop and dial back, check your throat for tension, relax and try again.
This video will help you get through this exercise:
- Sing “mah, meh, mee, maw, moo” in a monotonous voice.
- Start from Middle C and then make your way down the scale.
- Once you reach your lowest note, make your way back up the scale to your highest note.
Here is a great guide for this exercise:
If you are interested in finding even more exercises to help you learn to sing high pitch notes and your overall vocal quality, you can refer to this article I wrote!
7. Know What Vocal Register to Use
Knowing which vocal register to use while trying to sing high lessens the strain it puts on your vocal cords. Most high notes are produced by the falsetto register but to produce a stronger, less breathy sound, you must be able to use a mixture of both the falsetto and the modal voice registers. To learn more about vocal registers, check this out.
8. Vocal Lessons
Many beginners think that because of all the free resources available for them online, there would not be any need to find a vocal coach and invest in voice training. This is definitely wrong. While the internet has loads of information to provide us and help us self-educate, not everything on the internet is true and tested.
If you plan to make a career out of singing, it is even more important that you invest in your skills and get yourself some vocal lessons. Vocal coaches who are responsible for providing these lessons are experts in this field and can provide you with the correct information on how to sing high notes without straining, improve your voice, tone, pitch, and strength without damaging your vocal cords or developing bad singing habits.
Understandably, not everyone has the time to make their way to a meeting with a vocal coach as often as they would like or need. Luckily, there are online singing courses available online. Take a look at my recommendation for online coaching for singing and see if any of them is the right fit for you!
As with everything else, regular practice is one of the most effective ways to sing higher or learn to do so. Make a habit of doing so to maintain the peak performance of your vocal cords. Otherwise, the muscles in your vocal cords will atrophy and any effort you’ve exerted will go to waste.
Even singing in the shower already constitutes practice. Doing so also guarantees a boost in your mood.
10. Should You Keep Your Head Up or Down?
This has been something of a debate in the world of singing. A majority of singers and vocal coaches recommend keeping the head down when you sing high notes. But if you go on YouTube and watch your favorite singers perform, you will notice that they lift their heads up instead. So which is it?
The truth is that keeping your head up and down does not impact your ability to sing high. Instead, it impacts the quality of your high notes. Keeping your head up while you sing will give it an intense, belting quality while keeping your head down produces a sweet and light tone.
11. Work Your Way Up
It is important to remember to reach your high notes gradually. Forcing yourself to jump right to the highest level may cause unnecessary vocal strain. In this case, taking it slow is the best way to go.
It is easy to get impatient with your vocal development when you want to learn how to sing higher quickly. However, it is important to remember that you are training muscles that will not transform overnight.
Overexerting will only cause you to hurt yourself. Your vocal muscles are not as rigid as the muscles on your arms or legs, so you must be very careful with them. You might face irreversible damage. Take care of yourself by slowly working your way up and being patient!
Now that you have all of these tips on how to sing high notes without straining, you are well on your way to expanding your range and being an even better singer. Just remember to always put your safety first!
- 1. https://www.masterclass.com/classes/christina-aguilera-teaches-singing/chapters/range
- 2. https://www.csmusic.net/content/articles/using-the-whole-body-to-sing/
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