Is it possible to extend vocal range? It’s a commonly asked question today amongst singers, and it requires an informed approach. Everyone wants to have an excellent vocal range, both for improving the performance of their voices and for stylistic applications.
We have seen it among many singers over the years, including Michael Jackson, Adele, Freddie Mercury, and many more. These are people who have used their excellent vocal ranges as the crux of their careers. With the right vocal range, artists can experiment with different song production processes and tonality levels.
However, a big vocal range does not necessarily mean that one will be a great singer. While a big vocal range is nice to have, it’s not as important as the experience, feelings, and interpretation a singer can impart to a song.
Below is a guide you can use to take your singing prowess to the next level:
Keep Track or Evaluate Your Vocal Range
The first step on how to increase vocal range is to determine your current performance. You have to keep track of your speaking voice and master the techniques required to improve your singing. The present methods you are using, and your vocal cords’ state might hurt your vocal range.
Learn about the chest voice, which is what we mostly use to communicate. By keeping track of your speaking voice, you can develop a useful strategy to improve your voice. This is different than your head voice, but both are great assets to a singer.
The first step would be to produce sounds that are not part of regular communication, such as yawning or laughing. Then, get a pitch pipe, and get the pitch closest to the sounds you have produced. Once you are through, move to monosyllables such as mm-hmm, uh-huh, and more. Ensure you match the sound to the right pitch level.
Proceed to some simple communications terms such as, “I love singing” or “What is your name.” Remember to calibrate the sound you produce with the right pitch. Usually, the pitch for normal speech and non-speech vocals are similar. Not many people speak using lower tones than usual for their voices, which can have adverse side effects.
Continue evaluating your voice by practicing monosyllables at specific pitch levels using the piano. Get to the lowest pitch you can speak without sounding rough. Otherwise referred to as “vocal fry,” this rough sound can have adverse effects on your voice. Also, your speaking pitch should be a few levels higher than the vocal fry levels.
When you have the “vocal fry” voice mastered, start reading sentences and paragraphs out loud. Ensure you speak using loud pitches, and determine the furthest level you can push your limits. I would also recommend keeping track of the level where your voice is most comfortable for singing and communications purposes. If you’re a beginner to singing, then this is definitely something to closely monitor.
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle
Your vocal cords have a significant role in your vocal range, and you have to take care of them the right way. To have the ideal vocal range, ensure you try to provide your vocal cords with the best conditions. Even if it’s not easy to maintain the perfect lifestyle, there are some few things you can consider:
Get sufficient sleep – adequate sleep ensures your vocal cords can recover and get adequate rest.
Avoid smoking and drugs – excessive smoke or drugs can irritate the vocal cords, which can compromise your vocal cords’ performance.
Eat well – ensure you consume a well-balanced diet so that all your body functions are at optimal levels. This will, in turn, help to improve the performance of your vocal cords.
Avoid dairy products or cold beverages – the issue with dairy products is that they can add another layer of mucus to your vocal cords. Cold drinks and beverages can easily compromise your health.
Improve Your Vowels and Substitute Words
Singing within your vocal range will ensure you produce a high-quality sound. That said, you may experience cracks or strains when you shift to a higher register than your capability. You can avoid this issue through various innovative techniques. For instance, consider practicing vowel modification. If you are using closed, rounded vowel sounds, changing to a higher register will become easy.
The process involves singing using a high note in your range, such as using “oo” and “ee” sounds. These higher notes will make it easy to practice your vowel sounds. Once you are through these notes, a transition to the open vowel sounds like “uh” and “oh.” Practicing through these notes means that you are slowly improving your vocal range levels.
Transitioning in between the different vowel sounds will improve your voice’s sound and space qualities. If you come across complex notes in a song, use this transitioning technique. Adequate practice and simple improvements in your articulation can have significant benefits for your vocal range.
The good thing about this technique is that you can use it when singing any song. Some vowels are not easy to produce or sing when working with a specific register. Use this technique to help you adjust the different notes involved in singing.
Use the Right Warm-Up Techniques
Factors such as your posture and breathing technique will have a significant impact on your vocal range. Using the right breathing technique and the correct posture during singing will help you extend your vocal range. You will have to learn how to hold your breath for singing purposes, and to regulate it so you can hit those high notes with ease. Try some of these breathing exercises daily to improve your singing.
Besides breathing and the right posture techniques, ensure you use the proper warm-up procedures for vowels and notes that you want to sing. There are various useful vocal warm-up techniques you can use for your daily singing. If you have a singing coach, work with them to develop suitable vocal exercises for your needs. Plus, the exercises should also help you control the performance of the muscles with ease.
Before you engage in any sound production, practice the right vocalization methods. Start using low notes, and then proceed to the high notes that exist in semitones. Its good if you use the same vocalization technique each time so that each singing or practice session is easy. Plus, ensure you use a piano guide to help you with the vocalization process. Remember that your vocal cords should be comfortable each time you want to sing.
Learn About Cause and Effect Signing Exercise
Your voice is the physical reason – the cause – that leads to developing a specific sound – the effect. Your ability to balance the cause and effect aspects of your singing is therefore highly important. Your actions including sound control and the efficiency of practice sessions will have significant benefits.
Each singing exercise you practice should have a goal and help your voice reach a specific vocal range. It’s commonly referred to as the cause and effect technique. Taking on a customized approach to these exercises can have many benefits for your vocal range. It’s also good if you can consult with a singing professional for insight on useful techniques for your singing. Below are some of the key tips on how to use voice exercises to improve your singing:
Use the Right Exercises to Cancel Out Undesirable Sounds
The right voice exercise will help eliminate the undesirable aspects of your voice. These exercises are important because they help you calibrate your voice with specific registers and notes.
A good example would be when you have light chest vocal, your vocal cords tend to connect, creating a tone with lots of air. If you want to eliminate this issue, perform singing exercises that will help your vocal cords move firmly. Thus, this will, in turn, help improve the quality of tones and notes you can produce.
With firmer vocal cords, you can be able to reduce the “breathy” side effect that exists in your voice.
Wrong Exercises Can Keep You Stuck
The opposite also applies when it comes to improving the quality of your sound. If you are a singer with the light chest vocal types, ensure you perform the right exercises if you want to improve. Why? It’s because the wrong workouts will reinforce the tendency of using your vocal cords the wrong way. If you want to extend your vocal range, use techniques recommended by professionals.
Exercise will Provide Specific Effects
The right singing exercises should involve various consonants, vowels, and sound types. These will lead to a specific physical effect, which will improve the quality of your sound. Using the right technique will lead to positive results, which can have long-lasting effects.
In some cases, when singing, some exercises will have a host of unique simultaneous benefits. For instance, a bratty “Nay” will help thin out the vocal cords and reduce falsetto cases. Plus, the cords will also have a more robust connection quality. The improved performance of your vocal cords will also help build new connections in your vocal cords. Similar to creating pathways in the snow. You will experience improved vocal cord performance.
Developing Your Singing Technique
Before we step on out to Sirens, we recommend that you use this three-step approach to help improve your vocal cords:
Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath. Notice what happed. What are the specific physical changes in your body? Did your chest or shoulder move out? If it’s yes, then congratulations! You performed this exercise the wrong way.
Now, sit on the ground and place a book on your stomach. As you breathe in, your stomach should also rise. As you breathe out, the stomach should fall. It’s how babies breathe, and we were all born to breathe efficiently. However, we tend to forget the right breathing technique over the years. Learning to breathe the right way again can have significant benefits for your vocal cords.
Get up, and breathe in again. Fortunately, this time your stomach should expand, and your shoulders should also relax. It is referred to as “lower abdominal breathing,” which involves the diaphragm’s proper use. Quite contrary to what most people believe, singing does not necessarily come from the diaphragm. It’s a muscle that helps improve the release of air, such that you can sing “from your stomach.”
As your diaphragm increases in size, a vacuum inside your abdomen helps to push various sections of your body out. These include your back, ribs, belly, and back – to give you a “beer belly” appearance. Using the right breathing technique is vital in the performance of your vocal cords.
This aspect comes when you breathe in. It involves downward pressure, which works to engage the muscles in your abdomen.
It’s the same technique as pushing down on a gas pedal to drive your car. The goal is to ensure your foot sits on the gas pedal every time you want to produce notes. Plus, the process engages the muscles in your abdomen, which can help ensure the diaphragm stays in an expanded state. Once the diaphragm relaxes, It will release some air, thus helping improve the release of air. Reduced air means less pressure on your vocal cords, which helps to reduce any strain issues.
Pro tip – ensure you place your foot on the gas pedal, and never remove your feet. Ensure you maintain optimal support by applying some pressure.
You have to keep track of the sensation in your mouth. The unique “buzz” is the feeling you get when you sing a signal of vocal efficiency. If you don’t come across this buzz, then it means your throat gets overly tense when you hit high notes.
People’s common mistake when singing is tensing the throat when they want to hit the right notes. Any strain complications can lead to vocal complications. Keeping track of the unique “buzz” feeling you get in your mouth involves a delicate balance of focus. Using this approach will help you regulate any tension issues in your throat.
Remember that the focus should not be on placement but the unique feeling on the roof of your mouth.
A good exercise for this step would be to laugh out loud using the notes, including, “ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” Use the right support technique for every “ha” you produce when you laugh out loud. You may feel a unique “bounce” after each “ha” you make in the roof of your mouth. If you don’t get that feeling, then yawn; it causes your soft palate to elevate. Keep up with this position, and then laugh once more.
I bet you came across it this time. If your answer is no, then we have another solution for you.
Once more, consider moving your head from side to side, such as when shaking it to say no. The unique motion of your head should help improve the performance of muscles in your neck. These usually occur when you have to sing at the high notes.
By now, I know you should have felt the effect. Let us now move on to the key exercise for your singing needs:
Start by using a lower abdominal breath, then put in the effort to improve your vocal cords. Start with a C with an Octave below the middle C. You can also use the F below the middle C and go up one octave. Then, move back down to your loud tone and produce a “yay” sound. Making the sound using the right tone to ensure you don’t produce an unusual breathy sound.
The goal is for you to maintain the loudness of your sound and move gently through the octaves. Ensure you retain optimal effort on the sound production process. Done correctly, you should experience the buzzing sensation because of using the right placement technique.
If you experience any cracks in your sound, you can slow down and let your tone slide down, which will improve your voice control.
Continue to perform the Sirens in half step increments and keep up with comfortable tones for your singing experience. Any strain or breakages in your sound might require adjustments. Usually, the right correction technique involves placement, support, and correct breathing methods. If you use the proper technique, then increase the sound you produce during the high tones.
Will Sirens Improve your Range?
While there is no specific data on the topic, it has worked for thousands of students over the years. A good example was a singing student I once met at my school. He had previously undergone surgery before we met and never informed the instructors of this issue. Brian would often struggle to produce A4 notes, which are the highest. However, with the right correction techniques using sirens, he reached two high B4 notes. After the entire process, he was able to get to the tenor C (C5), which I believe is proof that one can improve their vocal ranges.
If you find it challenging to reach five notes in a single day such as Brian, don’t worry – the process is simple. Practice this technique a few days each week, and with the right dedication. I believe you should start noticing results within a few days.
However, remember that the Siren is just one of the key lessons you can practice to improve your vocal range.
I have often heard this question, “what are the techniques on how to increase vocal range? Or, can you extend vocal range?” Yes, you can!
You are not stuck with the current vocal range, and you can make improvements if you have an informed approach. The good thing is that it’s easy, and you don’t have to blend falsettos or complex vocal breaks. I recommend improving your vocal balance by living a healthy lifestyle, using the right technique, practicing sirens, and more. The siren exercise is best because it’s simple to practice and highly effective for improving vocal tones.
The exercises are important because they help improve muscles’ strength in your vocal cords by identifying the pitch. Thus, your voice becomes a powerful tool for reaching the highest notes in your singing regimen.
James is an ex-writer for Music Grotto who focused the majority of his writing on the musical skill development content on the publication. His 20+ year career as a singing and vocal coach provided insightful content for the website, and his continued thirst for development in guitar and piano playing helped create some excellent skill development content for the publication.