Can you extend your vocal range?
The simple and easy answer is; yes!
Whether you've been singing for decades or days, you can always work on your vocal range. Unless you've achieved Mariah Carey-status vocals, there's always room to grow.
This may sound dramatic, but the most important thing to remember is not to injure yourself in the process. Singing isn't quite as strenuous as football or boxing, but you can still injure yourself if you aren't careful.
In the article below, we'll discuss five ways you can expand your vocal range without damaging your vocal cords.
Table Of Contents
- Know Your Current Capabilities
- Use Proper Technique
- Be Patient
- Don't Overdo It
- Prioritize Your Vocal Health
- You'll Be Hitting Those Notes In No Time
Before you can improve your range, you need to be familiar with your current abilities and limitations.
It's important to know that your vocal range isn't the highest and lowest notes you're able to belt out.
Your vocal range actually exists between the lowest notes and highest notes you can sing comfortably and consistently.
Is it possible to increase your vocal range by one octave?
Your vocal cords are only capable of so much. However, a lot of that depends on how developed and trained your vocals currently are.
If you've never taken the time to practice singing, you will likely notice a significantly broader range of pitches that you can hit once you begin training. If you have been singing for a long time but have just recently decided you'd like to expand your range, it will probably not grow quite as much as a novice.
Never checked your vocal range?
Hop over to your keyboard or download a piano app on your phone.
You'll be able to pinpoint your range by using the piano numbering system.
When you start saying things like "the second A above middle C," or something like that, things can get pretty confusing.
So, a widely used technique is to accompany note names with their given octave number on a keyboard.
Middle C is called C4 because it's the 4th C (starting from the Bass) on the keyboard. The C above C4 is C5, the C below is C3, and so on.
Once you've used the piano to determine your range, you can begin improving it.
It's very dangerous to extend your vocal range without employing proper singing techniques.
Using the wrong technique, or no technique at all, can result in injury to your vocal cords.
Here are some of the basics to be mindful of:
- Keep your larynx low at rest position. Remember to "sing with an open throat."
- Stand up straight and make good use of your breath support
- Breath from your diaphragm instead of your neck and shoulders
- Rest your tongue at the top of your bottom teeth and keep your jaw relaxed
When new vocalists sing outside of their normal vocal range, they tend to force more air through the throat, which will jam up their vocal cords, or restrict air flow, which will lead to a breathy sound.
Maintaining the proper technique will help you avoid those situations.
Many vocalists also find it helpful to start at the top note of their vocal exercises every now and then.
Starting from the top will prevent your voice from getting too heavy.
It also helps keep your larynx low and break the cycle of always having to move from your chest voice to head voice.
The best things in life take time, right? Expanding your vocal range won't happen overnight.
The hardest part for most vocalists isn't the vocal range exercises, it's having the patience to wait.
With consistent exercise, you're doing much more than just trying to add a few notes to your range.
You might not be able to hit that stubborn high note, but you'll notice your voice becoming stronger and lasting longer than when you first started doing the exercises.
You'll also notice on your good days that notes come out much clearer and with much more confidence.
So even if you occasionally feel discouraged, focus on the good things you're doing for your voice while you extend your vocal range.
This goes hand in hand with patience.
Don't lose patience trying to expand your range and overdo it.
Don't try too hard during a warm-up, practice, or a performance. If your voice gets tired, try more low impact warm-ups like humming to avoid any irritation.
If it hurts, stop.
Pushing through strain or not giving yourself enough rest when you need it can damage your vocal cords and set you back further than if you would've just taken a break.
Never try to sing through pain, and don't feel guilty about needing to skip a day or two to protect your voice.
Be patient, protect yourself, and take care of your vocal cords.
Singers have gotten a bad reputation for not taking care of their vocal cords.
It's easy to talk too loud at a party, over-sing at a show, or cram in too many practices before the next big performance comes up.
It's not always possible to keep your vocal cords in perfect health, but there are a few things to do to make sure you prioritize your vocal health.
- Get a good night's sleep. 7-9 hours a night is ideal.
- Try to drink at least 64oz of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- Protect yourself from viruses by washing your hands and using sanitizer as needed.
There are also certain foods and drinks you should avoid before you sing. Any food or drink that dries your throat, like coffee and alcohol, should be avoided.
That being said, also avoid foods and drinks that can add to much mucus to your throat, like most dairy products.
Important tip: Most singers opt for water leading up to, and the day of, a show. While this is strongly recommended, there is a catch. Try to stay away from ice cold water. It restricts your throat and can cause tension.
Want to know a cool trick? If you don't have access to a ton of water but need to hydrate, steaming has been proven to be very effective.
You don't have to avoid these things all of the time, but avoid them before you sing, because singing through dryness, mucus, or constriction will cause significant strain on your vocal cords.
We hope these tips were useful.
Remember, with patience and consistency, you'll achieve your goals in no time.
Prioritize your vocal health, and don't overdo it, because an injury due to overuse will set you back even further than when you began.
When trying to expand your vocal range an injury is the last thing you need.
Do you live in the Atlanta, Georgia region?
One fantastic way to elevate your vocal range and voice capabilities is by attending an accredited music college.
You'll be able to work hands-on with industry-leading instructors in an immersive music environment that is sure to spark your inspiration and encourage your talent to grow.
If this opportunity sounds amazing to you, you need to check out the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. If you're a vocalist specifically, you need to learn more about the Music and Technology Associate Degree with a Focus in Voice.
Click the link below to gather more information and make the best decision for yourself, your future, and your career.
If you enjoyed this article, you should check these out:
- Best and Worst Drinks Before A Vocal Performance
- 5 Tips To Improve Your Vocal Performance
- Head Voice vs. Chest Voice