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How To Increase Vocal Range|Sing Higher Notes

How To Increase Singing Range

Increasing and expanding singing vocal range is an aspiration of most singers, so how do we increase our vocal range so that we can hit and sustain those high notes effortlessly?

Herebelow is a reader's letter on this question to master singing coach Brett Manning.

Hi Brett,

Can you tell me how to strengthen my singing voice to make it more powerful? How can I decorate the notes when singing so as to make them blend in nicely?

I have read the report on how you were saying vocal exercises can help increase vocal range, so what are the steps and techniques I can use to increase my vocal range?

I know that increasing vocal range is your specialty in teaching singing and I want to congratulate you for having a 5 octave voice range. That is fantastic and I want to be able to sing that way too.


Michael H.

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Brett Manning reply - How to expand vocal range

Hi Michael,

Whew! You must have been thinking about these issues for sometime and I like the way you string this set of questions because, believe it or not, if you answer one, you have fixed nearly all the others.

It is certainly interesting that one of your questions is the most often asked question I get. It is also a question that people will read the answer and then immediately ask the same question again. Here is why.

You said..."I have read the report on how you were saying vocal exercises can help increase vocal range, so what are the steps and techniques I can use to increase my vocal range?"

I get various versions of this question so much so that I have concluded that this is what you might call a very "illusive" issue. The good news is that you will be pleased to note that it is not difficult to increase and expanding your voice range...it is just illusive. Once it "clicks" and you understand it, you will be surprised that it can be so simple after all.

Now, for the bad news, it is somewhat like riding a bicycle. You cannot possibly learn to ride a bicycle by reading an article or even a million articles without getting on a bike and start practicing. The problem is that many people are doing just that when learning how to sing.

It is the same thing when you want to increase your voice range. You can possibly learn it from an article such as this one, but would be unlikely to master the skill...because it involves muscles moving and some of them are so small that you can't even see them.

Then you must also master the precise coordination of these muscles and breathing techniques which is taught mainly by listening and repeating the vocal exercises and then in actual singing.

The most likely way you will increase your voice range is by going right now and getting the singing course that is designed to teach you exactly that "Systematic Vocal Training Program" – Here is the link - How to increase vocal range.

It is called a "Systematic" course because that is what it takes to increase your range. A system of voice exercises that expand your voice range.

You would be considered crazy if you went around asking, "I need some helpful tips on becoming a proficient medical surgeon in time for a cancer operation next month."  However, nobody flinches before asking "Gimme some singing tips on how to increase my voice range."

Perhaps, I am the one who is crazy because I keep giving out singing tips on how to increase their voice range when asked, just like in this article. So here are somemore of my "crazy" singing tips on how to increase your vocal range...but first, a word of warning...if you want to actually experience a "breakthrough", you need a systematic vocal exercises program to get your voice there.

Increase Vocal Range Tip #1: Firstly, you must learn to get the wrong muscles out of the way. We have a system of exercises that do just that. They are in my singing lessons and they are "listen, then do" exercises. This is to "trick" the wrong muscles into dis-engaging (by my strange - sounding vocal exercises).

What are wrong singing muscles?

Try this experiment. Gently place your entire hand over your entire throat so that your chin is cradled between your thumb and your index finger. Pretend that you are trying to hide your throat from view but just barely touching it so that you can feel its movement.

That done that, now, swallow! Do you feel things inside your throat moving? Of course you do. Do you know what happened? There are more than 3 dozen muscle groups working just to ensure that you swallow properly!

They all make sure food goes down your gullet and not into your windpipe. They are also designed to work for about as long as a swallow lasts, then go back to their resting position when the job is done.

Unfortunately, these muscles like to help out when you are singing and especially so when you are ascending to higher and higher notes.

I said "unfortunately," because they can do nothing to help. These muscles just use up energy and increase the tension around the muscles that ARE needed for your to sing higher. Remember, the swallowing muscles are designed to work for a second or two when you swallow and the then rest right? But when you begin to sing, you are more likely to feel them engaged and stay engaged until they literally wear you out.

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Increase Singing Range Tip #2: You must educate your actual singing muscles not to over-exert themselves as you sing higher and higher. Your most natural sounding voice is the one you use to speak. When you sing in a "normal" tone, you will start in that voice. It most likely is your "chest" voice. It is called that because most of the resonating or vibrating to create sound is happening in your chest.

In your most natural sounding voice, you have learnt to make a nice, strong sound by letting the tone vibrate mostly in your chest. You didn't even think about it, that is why it is natural. It is just how most people learnt to speak, cry, and sing. It is a very open, rich and full sound. It sounds "firm" and not at all "mushy."

Your little tiny noise-making muscles (vocal cords) are generally vibrating along their entire length when you are in your chest voice. They are also maintaining their full "thickness" in chest voice. Your vocal cords are amazing muscles. They perform tricks and three of those tricks are used to take you easily take your voice over three or even more octaves. Isn't that amazing?

Vocal Cords Trick #1-Your vocal cords change the notes along the bottom of your range by contracting like any other muscle in your body. The tighter they contract, the higher the rate of vibration as air passes between them from your lungs.

Just like any muscles, they will reach a limit as to how tight they can contract go without injuring themselves. At that crisis point, they will do one of these two things :-

a) They protect themselves while maintaining their ability to sing higher than that crisis point by suddenly dumping their tension by swinging apart slightly, and producing an airy false voice generally called the falsetto. We called falsetto "false" because it sounds so unlike that rich chest tone you were producing just a few notes lower.

When your singing voice goes into a falsetto, you will experience a great physical relief. You go from high tension to almost no tension. Your singing will go from struggling for the next note to easily reaching the next note.

However, you will probably not like the fact that your sound changed so dramatically and losing the power in your singing. It is an emotional a let-down. It makes you write emails to people saying "How can I increase my voice range?"

On the other hand, you might learn to do this...

Vocal Cords Trick #2 - This vocal cord trick is the most satisfying. If you have properly trained them, your vocal cords will do their next two tricks and can easily shift into the next gear rather than flip into a falsetto false voice when hitting higher notes.

Your vocal cords will begin to thin out as you go higher and changing their mass so that they vibrate at a higher rate of vibration and therefore they do not to tighten more. It is just like changing to a thinner guitar string but keeping the tension exactly the same, higher notes will be produced right?

So your voice is unlike going into a falsetto as they don’t pull apart, and thus the tone produced still have a firm sound rather than that airy, false sound.

You will eventually enter into what is called the "head voice" because the resonance moves from your chest cavity to the cavities in your head.

If you are training with the right singing system, your body will learn to fade more resonance into the head cavities and out of the chest cavity. This produces what we called a  "mixed voice".  When you hear a singer who has a wide, powerful voice range, this is exactly what that singer is doing.

The assumption is usually that your present vocal range is all you are going to get. Go to just about any university in America and the vocal performance staff will listen to your voice and tell you whether they like your tone and pitch. They will never say that you need another octave of range, and then you will be reaching your full potential in singing.

What they will say is, "You should be able to add at least one note of range during your 4-5 years with us...at least we hope so."

What they mean is "We hope you will stay here and during those years since you'll be paying us $40k-70k per year, depending on how much ivy vines hang on the bricks outside."

For those of you that may find these words a little offensive, let me soften them by paraphrasing it. They are actually saying, "Sorry, no one can increase their vocal range substantially. It can't be done.”  Does that sound better?

Ok. ‘Nuff said. If you want to increase your vocal range, like the questioner said, that is my "specialty." My system works, so go get it - Increase your vocal range by 3 octaves.

Vocal Cords Trick #3 - Once your vocal cords have taken you as high as they can go by thinning out, they will actually close a portion of their length off which is just like fretting a guitar string. This will result in even higher notes like the whistle tones aka Mariah Carey because the length of the vibrating surface has been shortened.

So do you want to increase your vocal range like all those great singers? Don't let anyone tell that you can't. You definitely can expand your voice range if you follow a proper learning singing system.

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