How to increase your vocal range
Learning how to increase your vocal range can be a confusing task – with all the contradictory advice out there, and gurus trying to sell you expensive courses and spruiking basic singing techniques as the ‘secret’ to great singing, it’s hard to know where, and how, to start. This tutorial will show you how to increase your vocal range without all that unnecessary fluff and marketing, by detailing EXACTLY which techniques you need to know so you can learn how to increase your vocal range.
Since 2010, Bohemian Vocal Studio has grown into the premier voice studio for professional singing lessons and vocal coaching online – helping budding singers reach their singing goals faster and more efficiently through the most practical singing techniques and professional advice in the world.
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Three simple steps to expand vocal range
With these three simple steps, you can build the highest vocal range imaginable without straining or pushing. Make sure you’ve set up a healthy foundation first by using our complimentary short courses and the free tutorials available in the troubleshooting guide to your right so that your voice is ready and prepared for these three powerful singing technique that will expand vocal range and build a POWERFUL vocal range.
#1 – Middle Voice
Chest Voice, Head Voice – you’ve heard of these vocal registers before, right? Well, the respective muscles that create your chest voice and your head voice have the ability to coordinate into a third register known as Middle Voice, or MIX. To develop your mix voice, you first need to build a healthy foundation and support mechanism using appoggio singing technique and healthy resonance production, then you simply need to learn how to connect chest and head voice by way of releasing from chest voice without losing the resonance or richness in your voice. “How the hell do you do that?” I hear you ask – well, let me SHOW you:
As you can see, your middle voice isn’t a disconnected register that occurs after your chest voice and before your head voice, it is in essence a combination of these two main registers. Develop your mix coordination, and then you can move on to number three in this list of simple steps to expand vocal range.
#2 – Resonance Tuning aka Vowel Modification
As you ascend in range and start to access your mix coordination, it’s important that you learn how to alter the width of your vocal tract to accommodate subtle changes in the size and shape of your resonators. A basic way of achieving tuned resonance is to modify your vowel, in simple terms – by making subtle changes to the sound of your vowels so that they resonate in the most efficient way. A great way to wrap your mind around the concept of vowel modification is to start with the AH vowel and develop the subtle changes required for correct resonance production.
Now, the AH vowel isn’t a pronunciation, or a speech vowel – it is in fact a tongue shape, combined with a specific vocal tract width (stay with me!). To sing an AH vowel in the correct manner, first you need to CLOSE your soft palate, shape your tongue low and concave – similar to a yawn without actually yawning, and let the vowel resonate rather than trying to manipulate your resonance into a vowel by using your articulators. Now, you’ll notice that this vowel is tough to sing when you get to your first vocal break, and likely ‘flips’ up into a weak sound, or requires you to PUSH to hit the pitch – instead of allowing either of these things to happen, you simply need to alter the character of your vowel in the throat to a subtle “OH/AWE” instead. Can you feel how this allows you to reach the next resonance chamber in your range? Congratulations, you just tuned your resonance by modifying your vowel.
Vowel Modification is but one of the ways to tune your resonance as you ascend in range, make sure your voice coach is showing you HOW and WHY vowel modification works so you’re not just following blind instructions. Modifying your vowel in a controlled way requires control over the soft palate and tongue root and your vocal mechanism as a whole for it to function correctly – don’t just mangle your vowel sound hoping for the best.
#3 – Appoggio
I like to think of Appoggio as a breathing concept rather than a breathing technique – and the concept is controlling your breath via extension of the diaphragm exclusively, rather than expansion and contraction of your ribs like we often do in speech. Now, if you’ve completed my free foundations short course Breathing 101, you will be setting up your posture like so:
- Head up
- Shoulders back, down
- Chin level with the floor
- Sternum “up”
This last point is incredibly important to understand, and is the basis of your appoggio singing technique. By raising your sternum in this manner without breathing in at the same time, you’ll notice that your ribs widen, and your stomach contracts, allowing you to breathe solely by extending the diaphragm while your ribs and chest actually stay stationary.
As you ascend in range, you simply need to allow this posture setup to remain so that extension of your diaphragm can continue as you sing higher, allowing better moderation between air flow and air pressure, while allowing you to compress your air for faster and more efficient vibration of your vocal chords – after all, a high note is simply a FAST vibration of your vocal chords.
Free Voice Training Exercises
Using these free voice training exercises, you will be able to develop middle voice, resonance tuning and Appoggio singing technique and learn how to increase your vocal range with ease – singing high doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does need to be deliberate and controlled.
Lip trills, or lip bubbles as they’re often called – have two functions in your singing voice. The first is simply to moderate airflow so that you’re not blowing air out when you sing, and the second is to release your registers, an important part of any good training regime. By releasing your registers with a lip trill, you are inadvertently building coordination between your chest and head voice musculature, and this will allow you over time to develop your middle voice. Lip Trills are an exceptionally useful and powerful learning tool.
Singing with placement requires you to remove any excess frequencies when you sing – I personally prefer an “N” sound for this one, but as I often say, a singing exercises is only as good as the intention behind it, so make sure you’re aiming for placement by limiting any unnecessary frequencies instead of simply trying to sing nasal or create a big sound.
As we discovered earlier in this tutorial, shaping your vowels is incredibly important for singing well, and each vowel has it’s own unique shape and corresponding tract width – by practising the shapes of each of your vowels when you are warming up and practising exercises, you ensure that you’re building healthy vowel habits from the very start.
Using these three free voice training exercises, you will set up a powerful foundation for your voice that allows you to build an impressive and extensive vocal range on top using Appoggio singing technique, Middle Voice and Resonance Tuning. By practising lip trills for air moderation and register release, along with shaping your vowels and developing placement – you will coordinate the different elements of your voice easier and more efficiently than any other approach out there.
When you’re ready to take your singing voice to the next level and extend vocal range with professional voice training, you can book a Skype session and get started today!
If you have any questions about extending your range, feel free to leave any queries or feedback below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.