Sing High Notes Easily
If you want to sing high notes easily, learning how to sing with mixed resonance is an important key to range extension without strain. Mixed Voice occurs when you balance your vocal folds between weight and tension – in essence blending chest resonance with head resonance to retain the rich depth of your lower register while enjoying the high range that your head voice affords. Mixed Voice is very easy to achieve when you first master the following basics of vocal foundation.
Vocal Foundation in singing is just like the concrete foundations of a house, the rock solid base foundation that your walls and roof (or tone and range) are being built upon. By first addressing your vocal foundation, you will ensure ongoing and tangible progress in your singing proportional to the amount of time and effort you invest in your voice.
#1 – Support and Compression
I know, I know – every says that breathing is the most important part of singing, and you’re likely hearing this for the thousandth time, BUT, support and compression aren’t just about breathing. When it comes to singing, how you manage and use the air when you create resonance is the name of the support game. Support is simply the management of air flow and air pressure to create sustained and strain free vibration of the vocal folds. Compression is actually an extension of your support and involves partial use of each level of the glottis;
- Sub Glottis – Below the vocal folds
- Glottis (Medial) – The area that the folds close over
- Supra Glottis – Above the folds
By balancing your attention and compression between these three aspects of the glottis, there is no need to push or yell when you sing as they work as a multi-stage set of valves that increase and manage your compression along many steps before your singing voice is released and heard as a powerful and intense sound – with minimal effort and complete freedom from strain.
#2 – Vowel Shaping
Vowel in speech often means something very different to vowel in singing. Where we pronounce and articulate our vowels in speech using the front portion of the face such as the teeth, lips and tip of the tongue – in singing, you actually shape the vowel with the back of the tongue and the vocal tract itself. The three main tongue shapes that all other vowel sounds are built from are;
- EE – Tongue up at the back
- OO – Tongue back, lips forward
- AH – Tongue low and concave, jaw down
When you practice, you need to pay keen attention to how you shape each vowel sound to avoid speech pronunciation and the strain and tension that come with speech singing and speech vowels.
#3 – Resonant Space
One of the most important and also overlooked aspects of vocal technique is resonant space. Resonant space occurs in the vocal tract and is controlled in part by the soft palate. The soft palate is the soft fleshy flap that separates the nasal and oral cavities – and is sometimes even called the “door to the nose”. If you breathe in through the nose, your soft palate is “open”, if you breathe out through the mouth only, the soft palate is “closed”, now if you yawn with the soft palate closed (so, no airflow through the nose) you are raising your soft palate and creating resonant space. Resonant Space is the linchpin of Open Throat Singing.
Open Throat Singing
Open Throat Singing is the broad concept of connecting chest and head resonance so that you can sing with one, long, connected note from your lowest pitch to highest. The key to developing an Open Throat when you sing is to develop proper use of the soft palate to widen or narrow your vocal tract through each break period of the voice. Most vowels need to widen a touch through the first break period, so the soft palate spreads and raises a touch. Then, in the high range the soft palate raises up high while the vocal tract narrows to allow efficient resonance and a full, powerful sound in the head register.
A great place to start is this Open Throat Singing Lesson which will show you how to develop each aspect of vocal foundation required to sing high notes easily.
If you have any questions about how to sing high notes easily, feel free to leave any feedback or questions 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.