How to Sing Higher Without Straining 🥇 (Sep 2023)
In this guide, we’re going to be discussing how to sing higher without straining.
However, before we dive into specific exercises and video demonstrations on singing higher, let’s firstly discuss why you’d want to do this?
Why learn to sing higher?
It’s simple really, in modern music, vocal range has become one of the most important differentiating aspects as a singer, coupled with vocal tonality. This is the reason why you only ever remember those “good singers” as being the ones who could hit high notes, I.E Tom Jones, Michael Jackson, Bono, John Bon Jovi, etc.
With that being said, this has meant that a lot of modern songs require a large vocal range to sing, and hence this is a barrier to entry for those with a more limited range.
So how can we expand our vocal range and sing higher? Let’s discuss it now.
How to Sing Higher with Power
The first distinction we need to make when singing higher is, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.
This is true both artistically and physically. Singing high notes powerfully can be extremely straining on the vocal cords, especially if you’re singing them for long periods of time.
Hence, this leads us to the first recommendation:
Be aware of your vocal limits
Since vocal strain is a direct (and indirect) symptom of trying to sing too high, you need to recognize this strain and stick to notes within your range.
This means that if you’re a baritone singer, with a typical range from A2-G4, then you’re not going to sing songs with high notes that are B4/C5.
Be realistic, for now, and lower the key of the song so that it’s at the top of your range, and then over time, after practicing vocal range expanding exercises and techniques, you can begin to increase the key of the song.
Now if you’re unsure of your vocal range, you can work it out yourself, using the video that we’ve provided below:
Once you figure out your range, there are certain exercises that can help strengthen the vocal cords, especially when hitting those high notes.
Want to Learn Specific Vocal Exercises from World-Class Vocal Teachers?
Improve vocal strength and coordination
As we talked previously mentioned, mos untrained male singers have to strain when singing high notes, and this strain comes from a combination of the following issues:
- Lack of vocal fold strength
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Tension of the larynx
Because of this, it means that you’ll need to carry out vocal exercises to not only increase the strength of your vocal folds, but to better coordinate them.
To do this, we recommend carrying out vocal exercises at least 3-4 times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Similarly to any muscle, to build more muscle requires consistency and dedication.
Some of these exercises include Lip Trills, The Siren, and more which we talk about further down on this post.
These workouts will help eliminate vocal tension and widen your vocal range.
Build and Maintain Adequate Breath Control
One of the most important aspects of how to sing high notes without straining is to understand and put into action, the act of singing from the diaphragm instead of the throat. This means using your abdominal muscles to engage the diaphragm when breathing, as breath support, which is especially important for higher notes.
Here’s a workout that you can try, to help engage your stomach muscles and begin building muscle-memory:
First, you want to lay down on your back whilst keeping your knees bent. Then place one hand on your stomach and inhale through your nose as deeply as you can, letting your stomach expand. As you breathe out you’ll begin to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
You can then practice singing whilst lay on the floor, and you may notice it’s quite difficult at first, but as you train and develop your abdominal muscles, this will get easier over time.
Relax your facial muscles
Tension in your face muscles will cause vocal strain. That is one fact you need to keep in mind.
Not only this, but it’s important to stretch these facial muscles to help eliminate any tension that they are experiencing.
Prior to you begin your daily singing practice, here is a stretching workout that you can carry out:
Using your thumb, gently massage your chin to loosen the muscles surrounding it. Next, yawn as big and wide as you can to stretch your face and jaws. Stretch your shoulders and neck to get rid of the tension that is building up in those areas.
Light is right – The dopey sounding technique
Straining to hit high notes can be demanding on your vocal cords, so much so that it can even begin to damage them, causing nodules and other structural issues.
However, how can you avoid damaging your voice, whilst working out your vocal cords? It’s all about singing lighter, and using a technique to lower the larynx, despite how ‘dopey’ it makes you sound.
How do you do this? Choose a song that you want to sing along with, and allow your throat to completely relax, don’t worry about pitch, what we’re doing is helping lower the larynx.
You can then begin to slowly wean off the dopey-sounding character of your voice, whilst ensuring that your larynx is still low, until it’s capable of staying low whilst singing normally.
Assume the proper singing position
In addition to singing posture, you should focus on assuming the right singing position too.
The first step is to open your mouth wider. When your mouth is wide open, there will be less tension in your jaw and tongue, which is the most common culprit of vocal strain. Aside from that, it will be a lot easier for your sound to flow from your vocal cords.
Most male singers make the mistake of turning their heads up to hit high notes. The lifting of the chin will make it harder for the sound to flow through your throat.
Third, press your tongue down. When you are singing high notes, you may notice that you tend to produce thinner sounds. This is because our throat tends to close when we are singing higher. One way to avoid this is to press your tongue down on the back of your throat to prevent it from closing.
Exercises to help sing high notes – As mentioned, hitting high notes can only be made possible through dedicated practice. This means that you should invest your time and effort to train your voice to hit high notes without straining.
We know you already have the time and the dedication needed, but what should you do with it?
How to Train Your Voice to Sing Higher?
As we’ve briefly talked about, exercises are key in helping you train your voice to sing higher with ease.
Here are a few of such exercises that will help:
Lip Bubbles (Lip Trills)
In order to do this:
- Place your two fingers on the sides of your cheeks, near to your mouth. Purse your lip together and blow your lips and let them vibrate, sounding similar to a horse
- Sound the vowel “uh” while your lips are vibrating
- You can then add pitch to the sound, sounding the note at a comfortable pitch within the middle of your vocal range
- Perform a scale with the vowel sound starting from the lower notes to the higher ones then work your way back lower.
- Repeat this process, but instead starting at the lowest possible note, leading to the highest. You’ll begin to get comfortable with this and notice that your range begins to expand and notes that you once strained to hit will be much easier to attain.
” Ooh” and “Eee” Vocal Siren
In order to do this:
- Sound “ooh”, as though you are saying “oops”
- Again, try to do this at a pitch within the middle of your vocal range
- Sing the “Eee” sound (in the same manner as before)
- Then begin alternating between these sounds, like a siren, starting from the lowest pitch leading to the highest note in your vocal range, and vice versa.
- You can do this until you feel minimal strain when transitioning between your low and high vocal range
In order to do this:
- Either take a lay-down, sitting or standing position
- Begin to breathe in slowly through your nose and allow your lungs to fill with air
- Exhale whilst closing your teeth together and using your tongue to control the release of air.
As we said before, we recommend taking an online singing program to follow the expert singing instructors as they teach and walk you through all of the best exercises to help increase your vocal range.
We know, learning how to sing male high notes is not necessarily easy, but we hope that you’ve learned enough to begin your journey singing high notes the right way.
If we were to try and summarize the article, hitting high notes requires a good understanding of how to sing, including the correct posture, breathing techniques, and awareness of your own voice. It also requires that you follow a methodical approach to exercising, as you would do with building up any muscle within the body, hence why we recommend taking online singing lessons.
We hope that you’ve found the article useful, and that you know more about singing high notes with power, without straining.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below and we’ll respond ASAP.