A SINGER'S MOST COMMON PROBLEMS WHEN TRYING TO SING HIGHER NOTES
#1 STRAINING - Many improperly trained singers push their low (chest) voice up too high (which sounds like yelling.) This is very harmful to the vocal cords and can lead to fatigue, hoarseness, vocal nodules, hemorrhaging, etc.
#2 CRACKING/DISCONNECTING INTO "FALSETTO" - Falsetto is a breathy sound which results from the vocal cords (folds) not closing properly (like they do when we speak correctly.) Singing in Falsetto results in limited strength/expression and is also damaging to your vocal cords over time. Did you know that whispering creates edema, swelling of the vocal cords?
If you sing with the right amount of vocal cord closure, a low, relaxed Larynx (Adam's Apple) and use proper Breath Support you will be able to sing smoothly from low (Chest Voice) to high (Head Voice) through the breaks in your voice. This balanced way of singing will allow you the freedom to more easily focus on the art of singing because your voice is consistent, strong and healthy!
Understanding how to sing above the speech range is more athletic than simply talking, requiring greater skill in regards to singing words in a way that allows the vocal cords to adjust for the demands of pitch and intensity without strain. The tone needs to stay even and full from the bottom to the top of your range. Correct Breathing and Breath Management is also more demanding for the notes above the speech range.
In a world where there is more and more competition, a singer needs to be able to depend on their voice. If you are straining to sing those high notes or breaking into falsetto you will have vocal problems at some point in your career and at the very least a limited range/style. Many careers have been cut short due to vocal abuse.
I use special exercises that create this balance in the voice automatically. All you need to do is practice with your recorded personalized lesson recording for 15-30 minutes a day to start seeing dramatic improvements in your voice!
For now here's some quick free singing tips to help you sing those high notes!
Don't get louder as you sing higher. Most singers think that higher notes need more breath and volume which isn't true. Strive to keep the same volume and not push as you sing through your range. When developing your ability to sing with no strain or breaks focus on evenness first and later you can work on increasing dynamics and volume.
Start by taking a low breath with good posture, feeling your stomach, lowest ribs, chest and even your back and sides expand. Strive to suspend that posture and resist the collapse of your rib cage as you sing. Once your ribs and chest start to lower it's time to replenish your breath. This is the heart of good Breath Support/Breath Management for singing.
Begin singing by literally "talking on pitch" on the word "One" and keep the breath very even through out with no pushing of air or volume as you sing higher. Avoid singing with a breathy tone, if you have trouble with that speak firmly on the notes without making volume the goal.
Also make sure that you're not excessively widening/spreading your mouth (smiling) because it will encourage constriction and make the high notes harder. If you're widening your mouth the "Uh" in the word "One" will start to sound like "Ah" and your voice will tend to have trouble transitioning into your upper range.
Sing in front of a mirror or gently touch the sides of your mouth when you sing to monitor any spreading. You stand a much greater chance of singing smoothly with no breaks or strain if you relax your mouth. Instead of spreading, relax and drop your jaw slightly the higher you sing.
Using these techniques you should have a much easier time transitioning into higher notes than before!
*Feel free to comment or send questions.
I'm also happy to work with your voice and any songs you're signing. I teach in Oakland, CA. Online lessons are also available and I can even assess your singing if you send me a recording of your voice!
Marzuki Grinage (510) 866-3046