If you have ever wanted to sing stunningly high notes with ease, than the article your about to read is very important...
EDITORS NOTE: I've been subscribed to the singing success newsletter for many years now. The reason is: from time to time I get sent wonderful articles that perfectly explain singing difficulties that 99% of singers have, and how they can erase these difficulties.
While I've "moved past" most of these difficulties, it's so refreshing to read these informative articles and get even more clarity on exactly how the voice works it's best.
The article below will teach you exactly why some singers struggle with a small vocal range, and how you can "smash this barrier" and develop a large, exciting vocal range.
by Brett Manning
QUESTION from READER
Tell me how to strengthen the voice to make it more powerful etc? how to use good breath control to not lose your breath whilst singing etc? how to decorate the notes in singing to make it blend nicely? I've read the one when you were saying how to help assist vocal range- but what about how to increase the vocal range?- what are the steps and techniques taken to do this? thats your specialty in teaching by reading your site=) congratulations on having a 5 octave vocal range too!
Whew! You've obviously been thinking about this for a while (and saving up your questions). I like this set of questions because, believe it or not, if you answer one, you have fixed nearly all the others.
OK, I'll pick one (or two) for now so this doesn't turn into "War and Peace" by Brett Manning.
It's interesting that one of your questions is the MOST often asked question we get ALWAYS. AND it's a question that people will read the ANSWER to and immediately ask the same question AGAIN.
You said..."I've read the one when you were saying how to help assist vocal range- but what about how to increase the vocal range?"...
I get some version of this question so much that I've concluded that this is what you might call a very "illusive" issue. Mind you, it's NOTdifficult...just illusive. Once it "clicks" in your brain and you understand it, it just seems so simple.
The bad news is...it's somewhat like riding a bike. You can't learn to ride a bike by reading a newsletter or even 25 newsletters.
Except that SOME people have done just that. Same with increasing your voice range...you could POSSIBLY learn it from a newsletter, but it would be unlikely...because it involves muscles moving (tiny ones that you can't even see) and precise coordination, taught mainly by listening and repeating what you hear...first in exercises, then in actual singing.
The most LIKELY way you'll increase your voice range is by going right now and getting the course that is designed to teach you exactly that: the "SINGING SUCCESS Systematic Vocal Training Program".
It's called a "Systematic" course because that's what it takes to increase your range.
Someone would consider you out of your mind if you went around asking "I need some helpful hints on becoming a proficient Medical Doctor in time for an operation next month."
But nobody flinches before asking "Give me some hints on increasing my range." Maybe I AM THE ONE that's out of MY mind because I keep giving these people tips on how to increase their range.
So here are some more of my "out of my mind" tips on increasing your voice range...but I'm warning you...if you want to actually experience a "breakthrough" you need a SYSTEM.
Voice Range Tip #1: You must learn to get the wrong muscles out of the way.
We have a system of exercises that do just that. They are in my course and they are "listen, then do" exercises. I don't know of a way other than to "trick" the wrong muscles into dis-engaging (by my strange-sounding exercises).WHAT wrong muscles?
Under chin...gently place your entire hand over your entire throat so your chin is cradled between your thumb and pointing finger. Pretend you're trying to hide your throat from sight but just barely touch it so you can feel movement.
Now SWALLOW. Do you feel things moving? Of course you do. Over 3 dozen muscle groups go to work just to make sure you swallow correctly.
They all make sure food goes down this pipe and NOT THAT pipe. They are also designed to work for about as long as a swallow lasts (maybe 2 seconds), then rest otherwise.
Unfortunately, they like to help out when you sing too...especially when you go to higher and higher notes.
I say "unfortunately," because they can do NOTHING to help. They just use up energy and increase the tension around the muscles that ARE needed to sing.
Remember, they are designed to work for a second then rest. But when you start singing, you have likely felt them engage and stay engaged until they literally wear you out.
WHY do they do this stupid thing? Because they think you need help.
That brings me to "Tip #2"
Voice Range Tip #2: You must teach the actual SINGING muscles NOT to over-exert themselves by staying in "first gear" as you sing higher.
Your most natural sounding voice is the one you use to speak. When you sing in a "normal" tone, you will start in that voice. It is likely your "chest" voice. It's called that because most of the resonating happens in your chest.
(Resonating is a word that roughly means "multiplying the intensity and color of sound vibrations by directing them into some sort of chamber.")
In your most normal sounding voice, you've learned to make a nice, strong sound by letting the tone vibrate mostly in your chest. You didn't think about it. It's just how most people learned to speak, cry, and sing. It's a very open, rich, full sound. It sounds "firm," not "mushy."
Your little tiny noise-making muscles (called vocal cords), are generally vibrating along their entire length when you are in your chest voice. They are also maintaining their full "thickness" in chest voice.
Vocal cords are amazing muscles. They can do tricks. Three of those tricks are used to take you easily over a good wide range of notes (3 or more octaves).
Trick #1--They change notes along the bottom of your range by contracting like any other muscle in your body...the tighter they contract, the higher the rate of vibration as air passes between them from your lungs.
But, like any muscle, they reach a limit to how tight they'll go without injuring themselves.
At that point of crisis, they do one of two things...
Least satisfying...They protect themselves while maintaining their ability to sing higher than that crisis point by suddenly dumping their tension, swinging apart slightly, and producing an airy "false voice" called falsetto. We call it "false" because it sounds so unlike that rich chest voice you were producing just a few notes lower.
When you go into falsetto, you experience great physical relief. You go from high tension to nearly no tension. You go from struggling for the next note to easily reaching the next note. The trouble is...
You seldom like the fact that your sound changed so drastically and lost the "power" you had down low. Emotionally, it's a let-down.
It makes you write emails to people saying "How can I increase my voice range?"
On the other hand, you might learn to do this...
Most satisfying...If you've trained them, your vocal cords will do their next 2 tricks and will JUST AS EASILY "shift into the next gear" rather than "flip" into falsetto.
Your cords will begin to thin out (Trick #2), changing their mass so that they vibrate at a higher rate WITHOUT having to tighten more. (Imagine changing to a thinner guitar string but keeping the tension exactly the same...it would produce a higher note.)
Unlike falsetto, they DON'T pull apart, so the tone they produce still has a "firm" sound rather than that airy, false sound. You eventually enter what is called "head voice" because the resonance moves from your chest cavity to your head cavities. I'LL SAY IT AGAIN...THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS FALSETTO BECAUSE THE CORDS REMAIN TOGETHER, PRODUCING A CLEAR, RATHER THAN AIRY TONE.
If you are training with the right system, your body will learn to FADE more resonance into the head cavities and out of the chest cavity. This produces what we call "mixed voice" and it is NOT the same as either chest or head.
It's a mixture of the two.
It will produce a gradual change as you go higher and sounds like JUST MORE NOTES FROM THE SAME BIG VOICE.
When you hear someone who has a wide, strong voice range, THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING, even if they don't know it. You probably didn't think "Wow, they know how to mix their registers!"...instead you just thought "Lucky dog! He can sing higher than I can and still sound great!"
The assumption is usually that you have all you're going to get, range-wise. Go to just about any university in America and the vocal performance staff will listen to your voice and tell you whether they like your tone and such. But they will never say "You need another octave of range, then you'll be reaching your full potential."
What they will say is "You should be able to add at least one note of range during your 4-5 years here...at least we hope so." What they mean is "We hope you'll stay here during those years since you'll be paying us $40k-70k per year, depending on how much ivy hangs on the bricks outside."
For those of you that may find these words a little offensive, let me soften them so that you can keep subscribing to this newsletter. In the next paragraph, I'll tell you what you want to hear:
"Sorry, no one can increase their range. It can't be done. (In fact, all you guys out there who have used my course to increase your range...stop singing right now...you're upsetting people.)"
There. Does that sound better?
OK enough said. If you want to increase your range, like the questioner said, that's my "specialty." My system works, so go get it: Here's the website again.
Trick #3---By the way, what is Trick #3 that your vocal cords will do? Once they have taken you as high as they will go by thinning out, they will actually close a portion of their length off (like fretting a guitar string). This will result in even higher notes (like whistle tones...Mariah Carey's calling card) because the LENGTH of the vibrating surface has been shortened.
SAME READER... DIFFERENT QUESTION
You said..."how to use good breath control to not lose your breath whilst singing etc?"
Again, a wonderful question...not because no one else thought to ask it...but because LOTS of people ask it.
I would say that when a singer has the thought..."I need to get some help with my voice." Their next thought is VERY often..."I need someone to help me learn to breathe."
This is because it is what we have always heard from anyone "in the know" about voiceinstruction...breath control...breathe from your diaphragm...etc.
I've dealt with this in many newsletters before, but let me say again...YOU KNOW HOW TO BREATHE OR YOU'D BE DEAD RIGHT NOW!
Seriously, let me look closer at this man's question...
He added something very helpful to his question about breath...he wants toknow how to "not lose breath whilst singing..."
Now we're getting somewhere.
The good news is that the answer to this question is not so complicated. Let me simplify how you think of breathing. You are just filling 2 sacks with air and then squeezing them out over your vocal cords.
If you're having trouble, there are just a few things to check, barring some medical problem.
WHEN THE SACKS (YOUR LUNGS) GET FILLED
Are you letting your stomach move out of the way of the bottom of the sacks? If not, you won't start with enough air to get you through a number of notes without having to breathe in again.
You can check this very simply. Just breathe in a nice, deep breath and picture yourself breathing that breath into your stomach. If you do that, your stomach will move outward, out of the way.
Congratulations, you just breathed the exact way you need to for singing.
There are teachers who think my approach is a bit flippant. But I assure you, it's not. It's just that I believe that studying breathing FIRST is out of order.
We teach you to let your VOCAL CORDS to be the controller of the air supply, allowing what it needs to pass and in the meantime breathing normally.
There are dozens of philosophies on breathing...Do you "let" the air out, do you "hold" the air back, do you "push" the air out, etc? We will be discussing breathing more in our upcoming Online Video Lesson-of-the-Month Series.
***Be watching for that, by the way. It's in the works!
WHEN THE SACKS GET EMPTIED
The most common problem with running out of breath has little to do with breathing! That problem has to do with allowing too much air to escape while you're EMPTYING the sacks.
If your cords are coming together with a nice firm seal, it takes VERY little air to make a strong, firm tone!
But if you are going into falsetto or if you haven't found your chest voice at all (some women have this problem), you will be letting excess air escape while singing. Just count on running out of breath sooner than you want to.
QUESTIONS ARE OFTEN RELATED
You also asked about "powerful tone". Again, when you do what it takes to increase your range without resorting to falsetto, you also keep your breath longer...and...
You end up with a "powerful tone" instead of that mushy falsetto tone.
These issues are like dominoes in a row.
I hope that helps.
Brett Manning - Vocal Coach
Brett Manning is one of the most sought after vocal coaches in the industry. He has worked with many top artists such as Hayley Williams, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus and many more.