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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.

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  1. This was a great help, Chris! Thanks for the explanation about what a lip trill actually accomplishes and for the suggestion to sing all my songs with a lip trill really make sense when I'm doing my warmups.

  2. I have your CDs and I love the lip trill. As I get older I am acutely aware of the damage I can do to my voice. The lubrication benefit alone is worthwhile.

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