Category: Vocal Range

Regaining Low Notes After Singing in Your Upper Range

I received this question for Francis, and it really states a common problem very clearly. After singing at the top of four range, it can be difficult to transition back down to your lower notes. Read on to learn how I address this common issue.

Your Question

I am considered a bass-baritone, with a range of C2-C4 and access of head voice from C#4-A5. Sometimes, I refrain from using my head voice for I need a lot of power. I haven’t built my mixed voice yet, for I am still in training of my head voice. When in the D4-G#4, I am belting out. But as a bass singer, I find it difficult to sing my C2 after belting, where there are songs I really needed it. I do a lot of warming ups after waking up and before singing. But what I’d like to know is what I should do to get to my C2 in a short period of time, for the low and high notes are in the same song. Hoping for some replies around. Thanks!

My Answer

Thanks for your question, it is a really good one! Being able to return to your lower notes after forcefully singing in your upper range is a common challenge. I work through this regularly with lots of singers and it’s very doable. Here are my thoughts:

First, Keep This in Mind

First, there are two things you should always think and do when trying to recover to lower register after singing high.

  • One, make sure you are expanding the back when you inhale as this relaxes the larynx, and a relaxed larynx will more easily sing lower notes.
  • Two, at the same time think of “speaking” the word on the lower note rather than “reaching down” to hit it. This will get you in a more natural, familiar setting and make the lower notes much, much easier. The combination of these two things is powerful.

Shifting Gears

Also, you need to address the “passagio,” or passageway between your lower and upper registers. Because this area, (C4 to F#4) isn’t used in daily speaking it’s not as familiar to your voice. As you have said you just power through this area in chest voice but it may not be a good idea. It’s like driving a car at 70 mph in 2nd gear. It uses too much fuel and can easily overheat the engine. In singing that means straining and fatiguing the voice and possibly doing damage. Instead, you need to learn to move through and connect these areas in a healthy way. It’s the only option for a serious singer.

Vocal Coach has an entire CD/mp3 dedicated to this issue called Complete Expanding Your Range. It leads you through the principles and exercises that “allow” the voice to have one continuous, connected range bottom to top to bottom. “Allowing” the voice to work rather than “forcing” it to work is critical. Once you begin to understand, and walk in these principles singing is much more fun, not to mention much easier on the voice—and perhaps the listener’s ears : )

Exercises for Your Range

Here are two exercises that can get you started, though Complete Expanding Your Range is much more thorough and worth the small investment.

  1. Descending falsetto into chest register. Start in a light, light “child” falsetto sound on Hah, descending down well into chest register (C5 to G3). Keep it in falsetto, like Mickey Mouse. Don’t let it change. The goal is to help the physical mechanism realize there are multiple ways to sing the same notes. Ultimately, you will be “mixing” chest and falsetto characteristics with the result being the mix, that becomes the head voice.
  2. Lip trill/roll Use it carefully and lightly top to bottom (C5 – C3). Then, play with bottom to top and finally bottom to top to bottom and/or top to bottom to top. Here’s a real key: Anticipate that the mechanism wants to do something different as you move, but don’t make it happen. In stead, give the voice “permission” to begin to adjust sooner rather than later.”

Thanks again for your question. This may be way more than you were expecting, but I’m very passionate about all of this and about giving singers the truth and a clear path to follow. If you ever want personal feedback you can schedule an Online Skype or FaceTime session. Otherwise this should get you off to a good start!

Question About a Cracking High Note

I recently got this question for a reader. I’m sure that all of us have dealt with voice cracking before. read on to see how I address this common vocal issue.

Your Question

How can I stop cracking when holding a high note? Sometimes I crack and sometimes I don’t. It’s frustrating.

My Answer

First, when the voice “cracks” it can be due to a number of factors. Here are just a few:

  1. Pushing too much air, more than is needed. This may be due to adrenaline or fear.
  2. Sticking the chin out and lifting the head causing an unnatural, inefficient position in the larynx.
  3. A range that is just too high for you to sing in for a long time.

Here’s what I do with my singers to try and overcome this situation:

  1. Lift your hands straight up over your head to find an aligned, efficient posture. Going up on your toes helps even more since if you get out of alignment you will start to fall over and automatically correct yourself.
  2. Make sure you are able to sing the high note on the lip trill (lip buzz). This lets you know it is at least potentially “there” for you. Not everyone is a high tenor. I’ve included a demo of the Lip Trill below.
  3. If you can actually sing the song, and especially the higher phrases on the lip trill, with good posture you are well on your way. If not, you need to work up to it by getting solid with your posture and breathing and understanding your tone.

Here’s an article with some good posture/breathing tips. Ten Steps to Better Breathing

And, here is an example of the Lip Trill exercise I mentioned above:

I hope this helps make you a smarter singer so you can be all you can be. Remember: The voice is a physical, mechanical and acoustical instrument. It also uses posture, breathing, acoustics, articulation and expression. There’s a lot to it. But, if you take it one step at a time your journey will be a great one. Please remember that all our training materials as well as our online training are geared to take you from where you are, to that next step.

5 More Vocal Skills That Need Each Other

We’ve talked before about vocal skills that compliment each other—aspects of your singing that will never be quite right until other areas get a bit of training. I have a few more to add to that list that list. Such as…

Complete Expanding Your Range & Complete Breathing

Every singer wants to expand and maximize their range, but you will never be able to stretch out without good breathing habits.

You can not make or push the voice to sing higher or lower. Instead, you must relax and allow it to happen. This is why you need solid breath support. When it comes to breath, you only need what you need. More air is not better, and backing off too much will leave the vocal mechanism unable to do it’s job.

Complete Breathing will teach you proper breath technique. And, Complete Expanding Your Range leads you through fun and clear exercises that build on that foundation. Frankly, most singers are pleasantly shocked when they experience easy breathing and easy access to their full range.

Complete Blend & Complete Tone & Complete Diction

Why do some family groups seems to blend so naturally? It’s partially because they have learned to speak from the same parents and have the same musical heritage. The result of this upbringing is that they naturally have the same concept of tone and even the same patterns of diction.

But, you can have this cohesion even if you’re not singing with family members. To do this, you need to master your own Tone and Diction. Then, you can start to “get on the same page” as those we’re singing with using Complete Blend, and that’s when true natural oneness of sound happens.

Remember, your voice is an instrument with many parts and many influencing factors. To be your best you must address the voice as a whole.

Thank you again for reading! Let me know if you have any vocal areas you would like to see addressed here on Ask the Vocal Coach Blog.

Do You Want To Sing Higher?

After you read the Blog be sure to listen to the two audio sample exercises below.

DO YOU WANT TO SING HIGHER?

What a silly question.  Of course you do.  Everyone does, but why. Is it because the sopranos and tenors get the really great solos in every style from opera to pop? Or, perhaps it’s because you can’t sing your top notes without straining and that’s frustrating.

Whatever you reason for wanting to sing higher let me suggest you rephrase your goal to, “I want to have easy access to all my potential notes.  Higher, lower and everything in-between.  And, I want to be able to sing my lowest notes even after singing in my top range for 10 minutes.

Now, those are great goals, and realistic ones. In fact, the only way to really “own” the high notes is to work your full range, bottom to top to bottom to top.  Then, this physical, mechanical, acoustical instrument we call the voice will truly be there for you with all it’s potential.

NATURAL LIMITS

Expanding your range the right way requires that some basic foundations be in place.  It is also helpful if you realize several things.  First, everyone can’t sing every note. Just like string instruments, we have limits. Violins can’t be used for cello solos and visa versa.  In the same way, high sopranos and tenors can’t sing as low as a bass.  Nor can a low base sing the same quality high notes as the tenor or soprano. That being said, there is a good chance you can add significantly to your current range by doing the right exercises the right way.  Then, giving your voice time to develop muscle memory that will serve you for a lifetime.

WHERE TO START

First, give yourself permission to fail as you learn. In other words, don’t try an exercise once then give up if it’s not perfect right away.  Really great singers spend years perfecting their craft, so give yourself a break and enjoy the process.

Second, take some time to fine-tune your posture and breathing.  Click here for our Free Singing Resource Page and go to “Ten Steps To Better Breathing.

Third, with good posture and breathing in place start playing with the “Lip Trill” exercise by clicking  LipTrillDemo.  Then, add the “Siren” exercise to your routine. Click here to hear a demonstration: SirenExerciseDemo

DON’T MISS: SPECIAL PRICE ON COMPLETE EXPANDING YOUR RANGE CD or MP3 from Vocal Coach. This is an in-depth training tool with lots of principles and exercises to help you maximize your range.

What Is The Lip-Trill or Bubble Exercise? & Dallas area, here we come.

THE LIP-TRILL MYSTERY SOLVED (with Audio Demonstration)! 

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding one of the most powerful vocal exercises any singer or speaker can do: THE LIP-TRILL, BUBBLE or MOTOR exercise.

Before you listen to the audio link below prepare your mind with these thoughts:

1. The lip-trill is done naturally by all babies and toddlers. Yes, YOU did it when you were younger!

2. It brings an awareness of the many parts of the face and head that are involved when you speak and sing.

3. It is the safest way to venture into your highest notes without straining or pushing.

4. It helps the body produce the right lubrication for the leading edges of the vocal folds.

5. It serves as a natural decongestant since it helps vibrate loose any thick mucus in the sinuses and nasal passages.

6. This exercise is so freeing you may literally open up entire new areas of your voice.

How important is the Lip-Trill? I have all my students sing their songs on the lip-trill sound to discover how the song SHOULD FEEL when they sing it.

CLICK HERE: Lip Trill Demo by Vocal Coach Chris Beatty

 

 

DO YOU LIVE ANYWHERE NEAR DALLAS/PLANO?

Has Your Voice Had A Tune-Up Lately?

Join us Saturday, November 12 from 9:00-Noon for a live, interactive Vocal Coach Workshop.

  • LIMITED TO 15 STUDENTS.
  • LIVE VIDEO FEED BETWEEN CHRIS BEATTY IN THE VOCAL COACH STUDIO IN TN & YOU IN THE VOICE KITCHEN STUDIO IN PLANO.
  • A WONDERFUL AND INEXPENSIVE WAY TO GET THE PERSONAL ATTENTION YOU NEED TO BE YOUR BEST.

Please click here for more details and to sign up: Vocal Coach Workshop at the Voice Kitchen, Dallas.

The voice Kitchen is located at:   7005 Chase Oaks Blvd., Suite 250, Plano, TX 75025

Have Questions?  Just call Jill at 469-383-8885