Bon Jovi sure has put a lot of singers in a lot of trouble with his song “Living on a Prayer”, hasn’t he?
How do we mean?
A lot of singers are now so fixated on belting out higher notes that they are willing to do it either by hook or by crook. Oftentimes, we all know how it all ends: said singer embarrasses himself/herself. Or if they manage to belt it out, suffer the repercussion for days with a damaged voice, tonsillitis, and a ruined tone.
The funny thing about this whole thing is that it can be easily avoided if a singer just takes the time to learn the proper techniques on how to sing high pitch. Yes, there are techniques on how to sing high notes effortlessly. Best believe it!
Today, we are going to look at some tested and tried techniques with which you can achieve your dream of hitting those high notes flawlessly. No one said it would be easy but, hey, give these your time and consistency for a trial period of just one month. Even you would stun yourself the next time you hear yourself sing!
In case you were wondering, the genre you sing isn’t important here. The fundamental techniques are the same for every genre, be it jazz or pop or rock.
However, a short disclaimer before we move on…
Learning how to sing higher won’t automatically happen overnight, even with the best techniques. We’re not doing magic here, it’s more like physical exercise actually.
Your vocal chords are actually muscles so, to achieve the flexibility you need for those high notes, you need time and consistency, and a good practice spot (more on that later…)
Now, that no one has any unrealistic expectation any longer, let’s get to it.
How to Belt High Notes without Strain
Remember that saying by Socrates: man know thyself? Well, you could say so for us singers. In other words: singers, know thy voice.
In the light of that, there are six standard voice types: three for each gender. If you didn’t know them before, here they are:
- Soprano: The average soprano voice can be found between the middle C (which is C4) and what we call the high C.
- Mezzo Soprano: you’d find this between A3 and A5. A3 is the A just below the middle C, while A5 is two octaves higher than the A3.
- Alto: This voice range is located between the G3 and F5. G3 is the G just below the middle C, while F5 is two octaves higher than the middle C.
- Tenor: You find the tenor voice range between C3 and C5. The C3 is one octave below the middle C, while the C5 is one octave above the middle C. Sure you figured that already since the middle C is C4.
- Baritone: typically F2 to F4. The F2 is the second F below the middle C, while the F4 is the F above the middle C.
- Bass: You’d find this between E2 and E4. Yep, the E2 is the second E below the middle C and E4 is above the middle C.
If you haven’t figured which part your voice belongs to, get together with a pianist and do so.
Now, one thing you must keep in mind is that we are not all the same.
Some people are naturally gifted with the ability to hit high notes, even before learning any new technique. Some people are not. But the good part is this…
Every singer can learn how to sing higher.
Axel Rose who has about four octaves to her credit sure wasn’t born that way, she had to practice. In fact, let’s comfort those who are feeling down about their voices a little.
The average person only has an octave and half to their voice; max, two octaves.
This ultimately means that without deliberate practice, it’s physically demanding (and sometimes impossible) to hit certain high notes perfectly.
So, while we can assure you of the effectiveness of the techniques we will be offering you in this article, here’s a solid advice…
Avoid “pushing” your voice over its limits until you have fully grasped the techniques.
It’s not determination, whatever it is, it is killing your voice. And if you end up with vocal damage, that could mean no singing for weeks.
It’s also not impossible to cause an irreversible and irreparable damage to your voice. Yep.
So, for now, just continue with choosing comfortable keys whenever you have to sing. Then as you give yourself to training and practice, you can begin to test the boundaries. You’d love it!
Warm Up Exercise
We have discussed warm up exercises, the essentials and importance of them to your voice in another article. You should go read that up if you haven’t. But for the sake of this article, we will touch base again a little.
Like all physical activities, stretching plays an important role on how far you can go with that activity. In fact, in an activity as simple as touching your toes, you’d notice a lot of difference in the ease of how you reach your toes, and indeed how far you actually get when you stretch.
Stretching does make all the difference.
So, why not do some “vocal stretching” before you sing?
If you decide to work on stretching your vocal muscles every day without fail, it will definitely pay off for you. Your vocal chords will get so used to stretching that it will get a lot easier, not to mention comfortable, for you to belt those high notes.
So, finally, let’s get to the meat of today’s article. Rub your hands together and show some excitement. Your singing life is about to get to the next level.
How to Sing High Notes without Screaming: First three Steps
So, if you want to hit those notes comfortably without screeching, here are three steps to do it perfectly every time.
1. Facial Relaxation
Contrary to what people think, singing higher does not necessarily mean you opening your mouth like a cavern and pushing more air. It’s not just ugly, it could actually damage your voice. It’s worse if all your veins are sticking out. Just stop.
A better way is to relax. Let your face and mouth be in a relaxed position before you sing.
Here’s how you can do that…
- Massage your chin gently to get the muscles there loosened up.
- Open your mouth as widely as you can, then scrunch it up and again. Repeat this a few times.
- Now, yawn very wide! It helps to stretch your face and jaw.
- Finally, stretch your neck and shoulders. Those areas can get really tensed up, and if they do, they will affect your singing.
Breathing is very important to singing high notes without screeching, as you may already know.
Now, you don’t necessarily need more breathe in order to hit those high notes. What you do need is just a good breathe support for your voice to be projected well and cleanly.
Here are steps to practicing proper breathing
- Put your hand over your diaphragm and take deep breaths. But ensure you remain relaxed while doing that.
- Try not to raise your shoulders while taking those breaths and ensure that the breath is pulled from your belly rather than your chest.
- As you breathe, feel your diaphragm expand.
- Finally, release air from your mouth with a “shhh” sound. Release it nice and slow till there’s no breath left. And try not to have any breaks while doing that.
This exercise puts you in control of your diaphragm. And when you train yourself to get used to it, you’d find that you can sing high notes without necessarily lifting your shoulders or puffing your chest.
3. Singing high notes in your warm up exercises
Now, that you’ve got all that cleared, you will try to sing some high notes in your warm up.
This exercise will show you how…
In the first place, hum an “mmm” sound such that it resonates in your sinuses (the area around your nose). It shouldn’t be stuck in the back of your throat. You should also feel a vibration on your lips.
Begin at the bottom of your range and hum the “mmm” sound, then from there, move to an “ahh” sound. Of course, you’d have to open your mouth for the “ahh” part. But in all, the goal remains the same: keep the resonance around the sinuses.
Continue moving up the scale till you reach your “vocal break”. And even when you have to transition into your head voice, work to achieve a clean switch, so your tone remains clear and even.
Now, while on your head voice, still moving up the scale, keep your focus on the resonance. Try not to focus on how high the note is so you don’t limit yourself in your mind.
Now, here’s something you would notice…
Singing high notes would be easier during the exercise than when you’re singing an actual song…
But here’s the thing…
The goal of this exercise is to impress your muscle memory with the technique of how to sing high notes. As you transition from the “mmm” to the “ahhh”, you’d soon be able to belt those high notes full voice.
So, this is the basic exercise on how to hit high notes effortlessly. Once you totally grasp it, it will be fun, we promise you.
Just remember not to outpace yourself. Be religious with the exercise and soon you’ll be a master.
But that’s not all… There are still other aspects to hitting high notes that we haven’t covered. For instance…
Good Spaces to Practice your Singing
If you choose your rehearsal space well, you’d enjoy practicing your singing. The rule of thumb is to always go for a place with good acoustics, of course. Reverberation and echo are great for your sound while you sing. Plus, they will help you fall in love with rehearsing rather than see it as a chore.
…is an excellent place to practice your singing. It turns out that the very reason you love to sing in the showers is because you actually sound better in there. Acoustics are excellent in the showers and all that steam does wonders for your voice.
Heck no! Terrible acoustics! No echo or reverb. In the end, you just strain your voice, and possibly damage it in a bid to hear yourself.
So, you see it isn’t just about practicing as we said, you need to find a good space. If you don’t, you might find that even with the best techniques, you’d still damage your voice.
Nevertheless, even with the best techniques, a rehearsal spot with heavenly acoustics, you could still come out sounding like crap.
A couple of reasons actually…
You still need to get some other things on lockdown…
- Keep hydrated: Soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, you know they are your mortal enemies, right? The reason for this is that they are diuretic in nature. This means that they make you pee often and in so doing, deplete the water levels in your body. Needless to say, this is bad news for your singing.
- Instead of taking all those, take water instead. Water at room temperature is best for your voice, as opposed to ice cold water.
- Understand your body: Aside hydration, changes in your body can also impact on your voice too. Some of them are:
- Cold and Flu: It’s best to rest whenever you have a cold or flu till you’re better. Forcing your voice to sing at that time could damage it.
- If you decide to use lozenges, make sure you understand the ingredients on the drug as some of them could numb the vocal chords. Once they’re numb, you could stress them without knowing and eventually damage them.
- Antibiotics could also dry the mucus in your tracts, so ensure you push fluids a lot when ill.
- Menstrual Period: Females, of course, you understand. Turns out it isn’t just your moods that get crapped up, your voice suffers a hit too. In fact, there’s a condition called dysphonia that occurs during a lady’s menstrual period, where the voice tends to get hoarse and fatigued. It’s caused by an increase in the supply of blood to laryngitis. However, the condition can be managed by keeping hydrated and caring for your voice.
A Final Tip
Belting High Notes
So, quickly, what exactly is belting?
Belting is when a singer powers out their notes above their vocal break. In essence the person hits high notes, but remains in “chest” voice. Most mezzo soprano female singers do this like your Beyonce, Adele, Celine Dion, and Jennifer Hudson.
Learning how to sing high notes in chest voice is quite difficult to be honest. It’s best to work it out with a professional coach. Also, get your hands on online vocal lessons that can help you. They aren’t just good for helping you belt, they are also good for your overall singing.
But then again, the techniques we have explained here can help you belt too. So, instead of moving into your head voice, you just remain in chest voice.
Just remember to take regular breaks. You shouldn’t be belting all day. It’s not great for your voice.
Also, keep in mind that not everyone must belt. If you aren’t naturally built for it, it’s okay too. There are still lots of awesome things you can do with your voice aside belting.
We’ve packed this article full with almost everything we know that can help you hit those high notes without stress. It’s up to you now. But we do hope you put these techniques to practice.
Your talent deserves the investment, and we aren’t even charging. You’re welcome!