Expanding your vocal range is not complicated. You don’t need any tricks to connect different parts of your voice or blend falsetto with your normal voice. The key is to strengthen your voice by doing ISO exercises, which are exercises that focus on specific pitches. This will help you achieve a better balance and control in your singing.
ISO exercises work by focusing on each individual pitch, which helps strengthen the muscles around your vocal cords. This allows your voice to work smoothly and seamlessly from the lowest to the highest notes.
In simpler terms, as your muscles get stronger, your vocal range will increase. An important starting point in discovering your voice is understanding your vocal range.
How Vocal Range Works?
Certain principles related to vocal range apply to everyone, regardless of whether you have a lower or higher voice compared to others. Just like how thinning and lengthening guitar strings can expand their range, the vocal mechanism works similarly.
When the vocal folds become thinner and longer, the vibrations they produce increase in speed. This raises the pitch, measured in hertz, which represents the number of vibrations per second. The opposite is also true.
Thicker guitar strings vibrate slower, resulting in a lower pitch. The same goes for your voice. The vocal folds in your voice box, called the larynx, become thinner and sag when you produce higher pitches. This causes them to vibrate faster and create a higher pitch. On the other hand, producing lower pitches involves the vocal cords shortening and thickening.
Tips to Expand Vocal Range
You are well on your way to broadening your vocal range if you implement these suggestions into your daily singing routine.
Singing with tense muscles is not a good idea, especially when you’re trying to hit high or low notes. It can drain your vocal energy and even harm your voice.
To relax your muscles, try doing some stretches like rolling your head, rolling your shoulders, or doing articulation exercises. Any stretches that help you loosen up will be beneficial.
- Use Good Posture
Having good posture is important when singing in a choir, especially when you’re singing notes that are not in your usual range. Here’s what you can do:
Stand up straight and pull your shoulders back, creating a space under your collarbone. Keep your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Let your arms relax by your sides.
Make sure to align your spine and avoid sticking out your chin or bottom. Maintaining this posture will help you find physical strength while singing in the choir.
- Breathe With your Diaphragm
Take a moment to breathe deeply a few times and observe what happens to your body. Do you notice your shoulders rising and falling with each breath? This is how most people naturally breathe throughout the day, but it may not be the most effective way, especially when you’re singing.
Instead, try breathing from your belly. When you inhale, let your stomach expand and when you exhale, let it contract. As a choral singer, using this diaphragmatic breathing technique can help you better control the notes you sing.
- Warm Up Before Singing
Sometimes, your voice might not feel fully ready when you start singing with your choir, which can affect your performance. To avoid this, try singing a few scales at the beginning instead of jumping right into your song. This not only helps protect your voice from potential damage but also allows you to reach the high or low notes you want to hit.
- Taking Care of Vocal Health
Your voice can suffer if you frequently yell or whisper, eat a lot of foods that are sweet, acidic, or drying, or even just don’t get enough sleep. For choral singing, the following tips can help you maintain your voice’s health:
- Keep hydrated.
- Limit sugar since it causes inflammation.
- Skip the spicy and acidic foods (these dry or irritate your throat)
- Avoid drinking liquid dairy (this creates mucus)
- Sleep for at least 8 to 10 hours each night.
- Don’t shout or whisper a lot.
- Avoid forcing notes that you find uncomfortable.
Exercises to Expand Vocal Range
- Singing With a Tall Posture
To expand your vocal range while singing, it’s important to have the right posture. One simple way to achieve this is by standing tall. Here are four easy steps to follow:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure your feet, hips, and shoulders are aligned in a straight line.
- Keep your back straight and lift your chest slightly.
- Avoid slouching forward or backward; aim to maintain a straight line across your back.
By adopting this tall posture, you’ll create a solid foundation for your singing and improve your vocal range.
- Breathing from Diaphragm
Breathing from the diaphragm is a simple way to improve your vocal range, just like singing with good posture. It allows you to have enough breath pressure to reach high notes, even if you don’t have perfect singing technique.
Luckily, learning to breathe correctly for singing is easy. Here are three steps to help you:
- Take a silent deep breath through your lips, letting your stomach expand.
- Make sure your shoulders and chest stay still while you inhale. Your stomach should be the only part moving.
- Notice that your stomach tightens as you exhale.
By practicing these steps, you’ll be able to breathe effectively for singing and enhance your vocal range.
- Relaxing the Jaw while Singing High
Relaxing your jaw is a simple way to reduce vocal tension and sing higher notes more easily. When we sing higher, we naturally need to lower our jaw to match the pitch of the higher notes.
You can try this out for yourself. Sing a “ooh” sound starting from a low note and gradually going higher, like in the word “oops.” You can do this in front of a mirror.
If you’re like 99% of people, you’ll notice that as you go higher, your jaw will naturally start to relax.
Similarly, when you sing exercises or reach high notes in a song, it will often be necessary to lower your jaw to sing those higher notes more comfortably.
- Try Vocal Sirens
Before diving into complex vocal exercises, it can be helpful to start with some simple vocal warm-ups. One of the easiest exercises to expand your vocal range is the vocal siren.
To do this, you can try singing the vowel sounds “ooh” or “ee” starting from a very low note, going all the way up to a very high note, and then back down again. It’s like making the sound of a siren you would hear on an emergency vehicle.
The key to doing vocal sirens correctly is to let your voice smoothly transition to the higher notes without any strain or tension. If your voice naturally switches to a breathy falsetto, that’s okay. But be careful not to push your voice too high and strain it.
Remember, it’s important to listen to your voice and sing comfortably without forcing it.
- The Octave Lip Drill
When you do a lip trill, the vocal folds are in a comfortable position. This makes it easier for them to vibrate and produce sound.
Think of a lip trill as a workout for your voice, like lifting weights in a weightless environment.
By doing a lip trill, your vocal folds can handle the air from your lungs more easily. It requires less effort for them to do their job. The lip trill also helps your vocal folds become more flexible and resistant.
With the lip trill technique, you can sing higher notes without having to switch to falsetto.
Deciding to increase your vocal range is a personal choice. Professional singers work hard to maintain and expand their range, but they don’t always focus solely on hitting higher notes.
Instead, they concentrate on perfecting the range they already have. In certain genres like opera and R&B, being able to sing difficult notes and expanding one’s range is highly valued. However, this is not always the case in all types of music.
Since most songs you want to sing fall within your natural range, for some people, the main goal is to improve their current vocal range. Mastering your range involves smoothly transitioning between octaves, handling leaps and jumps, and maintaining a consistent vocal quality throughout a song or performance.
While hitting specific high notes may bring you recognition among friends, it’s best not to overdo it. By focusing on perfecting your existing range, you’ll improve more quickly and reduce the risk of harming your vocal cords.
If the songs you sing don’t require a wider range, it may be more beneficial to spend your time honing your current abilities.