You can make immediate progress in extending your range upwards by basic improvements to your vocal technique. As you do that, you will be preparing yourself for more gradual improvement as time goes on. In order to get that first burst of new notes, you should understand what is holding you back, and how to remove those blocks.
The main culprits in limiting our vocal range are inefficient closing of the vocal cords, and throat and neck tension. A second culprit, even more limiting, is lack of confidence. Try the following:
1. Properly align yourself: stand with your feet shoulder with a part, make sure your head is straight up, as if connected to the ceiling by a wire, and that your shoulders are relaxed, down and back. Many vocal problems start by trying to sing from a hunch or compressed physical stance. The Alexander technique was designed to fix this problem. Search for it on the Internet and learn some of its basic habits.
2. Speak your way up the scale. Often, people tense themselves up subconsciously when they start to sing. A great exercise is to speak the song on the pitch. In other words, don't sustain the notes, and don't try to have a singing tone. Simply talk the song or the arpeggio all the way up to the top of your range. You only need to touch the note, not hold it or perform it.
3. Place your resonance properly. You should feel the buzz of singing in your mask (nose, eyes, and forehead). The way to best align your vocal cords is to properly open your mouth with your soft palate (the very top of your throat at the back of your mouth) gently raised. Place the back of your tongue up against your upper rear teeth, and the front of your tongue below your lower front teeth. That arch will help you raise your soft palate, to achieve the best opening for singing. Practice this on notes that are clearly within your current range. Feel the buzz of singing starting in the upper rear of your mouth, and vibrating through your mask.
4. Use the launch method. It's very hard to sing a high note without preparation. Music almost always includes a " launch note" that is comfortably in your range, right before the high " money note." Don't think of singing the high note, think of singing the comfortable launch note and keeping it going through the high note, all the way to the comfortable notes after the high note. Keep the resonance placed in the same part of your mouth and mask all the way through the musical phrase.
5. Use the " restate" method for longer high notes. Instead of singing a long note, sing a short note and restate it many times. Imagine poking a balloon time after time to keep it in the air. In the speaking exercise, you learned to just touch that high note. Now, you will keep touching it, without leading it completely go, time and time again, for as long as the note needs to be held.
These are just a few of the techniques that have been proven over time to improve your range and make your singing more effective and powerful. Learn how to eliminate all of the vocal blocks that limit your singing by getting my eGuide, " Vocal Excellence." It comes FREE with Singing Excellence, or you can download it for only $5. For a more comprehensive online vocal training system, that will save you hundreds of dollars, check out Singorama. A voice lesson can cost USD100. Singorama is a thorough, amazingly effective system for learning how to sing like a pro.
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As a musical theater director and producer, I can't stress enough how important feeling your song is. You want to move your audience, you want to be special on stage. If you're just making musical noises, neither of those goals will be achieved. The best way to learn how to feel a song is to study acting techniques! Here are two ingredients that will help you tremendously..
1. Make the song about something personal. Your imagination is every bit as important as your voice in effective singing. Before you perform, think through what the song is really about, for YOU. What is the theme, personal story, message in this song that you, the human being singing it, can relate to? For example, if you are singing Billy Joel's " Just the Way You Are," who are you singing it to? Who, in the your life, do you want to remain the same, forever? Is it your mother, your spouse, your pet? When you find that personal connection, use your imagination to connect everything you sing to it.
2. Choose your actions. The body and mind have an incredible relationship. When the mind tells the body that it is doing something, the body automatically reacts. For example, if I say to someone " that was very nice," I could be doing many different things with that sentence. I could be complementing them, or I could be insulting them, for example. If I say to myself that I am playing an action called " insulting," I will say the words " that was very nice" in a deeply sarcastic and nasty tone. If I define my action as being " reassuring," I will automatically say the line in a different way. With your song, and the different sections in it, write down an action. As you practice and perform it, allow your body and voice to play those actions.
2. Identify the keywords and phrases. Take the time to write down the lyrics of the song on a piece of paper. Considering your story, your personal connection, find the most important words and phrases in each verse and refrain. Circle those words, and think about how important they are as you sing them. Combining all three tools will give you lots of fuel to really feel the song in ways you never experienced before.
There is a ton of stuff that goes into performing a song with feeling and excellence. My e-book, " Singing Excellence," (click here to buy now) is a comprehensive guide to everything needed for artistic brilliance in singing. As a musical theater director who also is a lifelong student of the art, I share all of the proven techniques that I have learned and used over the years from my Broadway teachers and in my concerts and cabarets. You will learn everything from how to use your hands, to how to prepare a song, work with an accompanist, find powerful meaning in the lyrics and connect with your audience as no one else can.
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If you have allergies or a cold, that right there may be the cause of your vocal problems. I have found that hot water with honey can help soothe an irritated throat. Avoiding talking before singing can also help in his situations. But, ultimately, allergies and colds are a medical condition that may need to be treated medically before you can sing clearly again.
Many people strain their voices before they sing without even knowing it! The most common mistake people make is speaking in a pitch that is below their range. When you speak, you are also using your vocal cords, and causing them to become fatigued. A lot of people speak lower than they should, with a raspy speaking voice. That irritation carries over into song. Trying to speak higher, so that your speaking voice is clear, will go a long way to healing your raspiness. In general, don't talk a lot before you have a performance. You want to do a vocal warmup around 15 minutes before the show, and then be quiet.
Raspiness can be caused by poor vocal technique. The vocal cords are most efficient when they are fully aligned. To do that, make sure your neck is loose and long, your shoulders gently down and back. Make sure you are opening your mouth properly, so that your soft palate (the top of your throat in the rear of your mouth) is gently raised. That lengthens and stretches your vocal cords so they can align beautifully. When you sing, feel the resonance coming from right by your soft palate, and that buzz rising through your nose, eyes, and forehead. Good, resonant vocal technique will give you a clear tone and much more endurance.
There are many other causes of raspiness that may be getting in your way. My eGuide, " Vocal Excellence" , goes through all of the potential causes of limited singing and shows you how to release the great vocal talent that you have. It's a great start in learning how to sing. Singorama, however, is a full-scale system to learn the entire art of great singing. Check it out, it's amazing. It can save you tons of money, and give you the confidence you need in order to be a great singer.
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The good news is, stage fright can be a blessing in disguise. It means that you are flowing with energy. Yes, it's nervous energy, but its energy that you can transform and use. It is much worse to be lethargic before going out to sing. The first technique you can use is called " paradoxical intention." What that means is, you should look forward to the very thing you fear. Try to be as nervous as possible! The more nervous you feel, the better you are doing!
The amazing thing about this technique is that it makes you actually want to be nervous. Then, when you are nervous, you actually calm down! That's why it's called paradoxical, because it doesn't make sense thinking linearly. But it works.
Another crucial way to defeat stage fright is to baby-step your way through it. I don't like jumping into a cold lake. I don't mind walking in up to my knees. One time in up to my knees, it's OK for me to go to my waist. Once I'm at my waist, it's not so bad to splash water on my face. Having done that, starting to swim is no problem. I'm not a Polar Bear Club member, but I have gone swimming in late October in upstate New York. That is exactly how I got myself in.
You can do the same thing on stage. All you need to do is walk on stage. Tell yourself, " I'm going to go out there and see how I feel. If I don't feel good, I will apologize to the audience and then walk back off stage. If I feel anything better than miserable, I will try to sing just the first verse." Once you start singing, your stage fright will melt away instantaneously.
Be the only one in the room. That means, when you go out on stage, your parents, or that teacher, or that newspaper critic, are not there. If you use proper acting technique in song, the only person in the room is the imaginary person you're singing to. That's right, the people in the room don't actually exist. Use your imagination to eliminate them, and only have your imaginary song partner right there in front of you, waiting to hear what you have to say and sing.
Confidence in singing grows tremendously when there are fewer unknowns. The more technique you have in artistic interpretation, the more you know what you need to do on stage. People fear the unknown, not the known. My comprehensive guide, Singing Excellence - (click here to buy now) - gives you all the tools you could ever need for confidence in singing. That's because it shows you how to sing as an extraordinary artist. You will be excited, exhilarating, by every opportunity to show and share your deep emotional connection to your songs. Nothing will give you greater confidence than that!
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When you sing, is your tone clear or breathy? If it's clear, you are in good shape. Singing with more volume will be a smaller adjustment. All you need to do is getting better breath support and improve your throat opening. Breath support does not mean having lots of air, it means using the air you have efficiently. Practice with a lip trill. This is a sound made by vibrating your lips. Excuse me for putting it this way, but it is the same as imitating a person with gas. First try it nonvoice, just making that PBPB sound. Try to keep it even and consistent for at least eight seconds. See how long you can go with it. Put your hands on the sides of your waist, and feel your waist pressing out as you inhale. Then, sing the lip trill while keeping your waist pressing against your hands. You should be able to go longer.
Next, sing a voiced trill. This means, making the trill sound together with an " mmm" . Practices going up and down the scale. This exercise helps you balance your breath support with your vocal resonance in your mouth. It will help you build a volume.
If your singing is breathy, do the sing-with-no-air exercise. Exhale almost all of your air, and then sing with the very little but remains. Keep going as long as you can. This will force you to open your mouth properly, and bring your vocal cords closer together. Because there is not a lot of air of available, you subconsciously save air by closing your vocal cords to slow the flow. That brings them together beautifully, so that your tone is clear and loud.
For many people, the cause is psychological. They simply think that they are being loud, but they are not. Many people speak very softly. Do you often get asked to repeat yourself? If so, you may just be a soft speaker. The good news is, you can train yourself to project.
Try the following: go into a large auditorium, and have a friend in the back row. The sure there are no microphones on. Go to the stage, and tell them something. Make sure they tell you that they can hear you clearly. Get yourself up to the volume where they hear every word you say. Sing to them as well. Do this for a good amount of time, so you get used to the physical sensation of projection.
The better your vocal technique gets, the louder your voice will be calm. The more you learn how to open, how to resonate, the more power you will have. In my eGuide, Vocal Excellence, I show you how to destroy the blocks that limit your singing. For a more comprehensive, highly acclaimed program to completely build your vocal technique, I recommend Singorama. It can save you lots of money on expensive voice lessons, and give you everything you need to release the brilliant singer in you. Check it out.
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