12 Ways to Increase Your Vocal Range

  • September 15, 2017

What Is My Vocal Range?

Your vocal range refers to all of the notes from lowest to highest pitches a singer can reach including all the notes in between. Also, known as tessitura, a singer should be able to comfortably move through the various vocal registers as the pitch increases or decreases. Never overextending by trying to force the notes thru, but allowing a natural flow.

Most people can sing up to 2 octaves. Those who can sing 3 octaves and above are considered having a good to great vocal range. This means that depending on the lowest note you can start with, you should be able to work up the scale of 8 notes at least a couple of times.  There are a rare group of professionally trained singers with amazing gifts like Freddy Mercury, who is said to have a vocal range of 4 and above.

The good news is that by practicing as you would with any other instrument, you begin to think of your voice apparatus as being flexible, capable of being trained and developed to a greater capacity.  This is where patience comes in. Allow yourself the time to strengthen and gain greater control your chest and head voice.

This, of course, involves a proper warm-up, practice sessions involving stretching, breathing & mouth exercises, as well as other singing techniques. Remember that before you want to increase your vocal range,  you'll want to focus on learing to sing through the registers in a smooth transition in both directions in a clear and confident manner.

Singing Registers

What are singing registers? Our vocal folds have the ability to produce a range of pitches into several different vibratory patterns by means of opening and closing the air passage in your chest, head, and throat. Understanding your vocal range has a lot to do with your ability to move between your registers. Learn more about vocal registers.

There are 4 common registers to the human voice:

Vocal Fry: It begins at the bottom vocal register. It's basically the lowest sound you can make with your voice.  Also known as croaking, popcorning. Conway Twitty used this register in many of his songs.

Modal Voice: This is the voice you use when you talk normally and also when you sing. A shift in pitch normal in this register, as we have been using it to communicate through speech or song.

Falsetto: The falsetto is the extra bit of "higher voice" we produce in the head and throat. However, this vocal register generally lacks power and sounds more breathy and weak. Male singers will switch into falsetto to hit the higher notes in some songs rather than attempting to belt.

Whistle Voice:  The highest register of the human voice, normally produced by soprano singers who have been trained. This vocal register is created by using only the back of the vocal folds, thus creating the smallest gap possible between the folds, creating a whistle type of sound.

How to find your vocal range? There are are a few factors that determine a person's vocal range.  Things like age, gender, as well the size of your vocal folds can affect your sound. The larger your folds, the lower your voice; likewise, the smaller your folds, the higher your range.

Are you male or female? Do you feel more comfortable singing higher notes, lower notes, or are you somewhere in the middle? What types of music do you prefer singing? Have you found your vocal breaking point? How well can you transition between each register currently?

Answering the above questions will help us locate your general singing voice type according to classification. Females consist of Contralto to Mezzo-Soprano, to Soprano. Males will run from Bass to Baritone, to Tenor (see chart above for quick reference).

What does all of this mean? Basically, the groups of notes on a scale that you can comfortably sing from the very lowest note to the very highest will reveal your singing range. Note that voice types are a generalization. You may not start or end on exactly the same notes as outlined for each voice classification. However, you will be within the boundaries.

What is a vocal break? Also known to professional singers as Passaggio.  These are the actual transitions you make as you utilize vocal support system to sing higher and lower notes, moving from chest voice to head voice or vice versa. Some people confuse this with a vocal crack which occurs when a person's voice enters a higher register suddenly and unintentionally. This is generally caused by trying to force notes beyond your range, stress, emotional tension, and puberty.

Find your vocal range in one minute using the video below

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Were you able to find your range and thus locate your singing voice type? If so, Congratulations! Knowing your vocal range will help you to not only choose an appropriate singing style and singing material, but it can be used as a starting point in order for you to extend it.

A common misconception is that we are all born with a specific vocal range. The truth is, you actually can change your vocal range by practicing different techniques and strategies. By now you should have a good idea what your personal range is. When you are ready, try using some of the suggestions below to improve your singing range.

12 Tips On How To Sing Higher

If you would like to learn a few basic tips on how to sing higher, then make sure to check out the list below before you begin working on increasing your vocal range and essentially learning to sing higher pitched notes through the use of common sense practices.

  1. 1
    Never push yourself.  You will eventually end up straining your voice, and create the opposite effect: hurting your vocal range. Allow yourself for sufficient time in order to progress to your new vocal range.
  2. 2
     Practice scales using staccato notes. This will make it easier for you to hit notes outside of your range. Once you get used to hitting those notes, you will be able to make them last longer.
  3. 3
     Blending your voice. Blending your head and chest voices together will definitely improve your vocal range. A very easy technique is to learn is to make a sound like a siren as you move up and down the register.
  4. 4
    Bending at the waist. When you bend at the waist while you are singing, it will eliminate tension from your body, which allows the air to flow past your vocal cords with greater ease. Try bending at the waist if you are struggling to hit higher notes, as you continue progressing, you will eventually be able to hit them without bending.
  5. 5
    Try hitting higher notes by acting as though you were crying. This causes your thyroid to tilt, which makes it a lot easier for you to hit those higher notes. In time you won’t need to act as if you are crying any longer, as you will eventually get used to hitting those notes… naturally.
  6. 6
    Practice tongue trills. Place your tongue between your top front teeth and the roof of your mouth, from there you just push air through your mouth. This will activate the muscles in your throat and aid you in reaching notes you didn't think were even possible for you. For a tutorial on voice exercises. Just click the link! 
  7. 7
    Keep your head up. This will constrict the air from flowing through your body properly, which will not allow you to hit the note you are trying to reach. Always remember to keep your head straight, allowing the air to flow, regardless of the note you are trying to hit.
  8. 8
     Breathing through your diaphragm. Proper breathing will definitely help in hitting higher notes that are outside of your present range. Practice breathing in a way that will only allow your stomach to move.
  9. 9
    Learn speech-level singing. The way it works is that you only sing at the volume that you speak. It allows your larynx to remain relaxed so you can hit new notes, which in turn will help you develop proper muscle memory.
  10. 10
    Work on a song that’s in the highest register you can manage comfortably. Make sure to sing that song several times daily. Once it is no longer a challenge, try tackling a song that’s a range beyond this.
  11. 11
    Practice singing in the lowest register you feel comfortable with. In no time at all, you will begin feeling more comfortable with your lower range. Now, this time, choose a song that’s in a lower range and practice it until you master it.
  12. 12
    A steady flow of air is key. Many singers will change the speed at which they exhale as they move up or down within their high and low range. It’s imperative that you remain constant when exhaling, regardless of which note you are singing.

Stuck In Transition

Something else that can happen when you are attempting to increase your singing range is when you are unable to make the transition between registers. Particularly when moving from middle or mixed voice to head voice.

Our middle voice is the voice we commonly speak with. The problem is that there is a limit or ceiling to the highness of pitch you can attain.Learning to move from mixed voice into head voice will open you up to another level. You will also find it much easier on your vocal cords.

Start with mastering your mid-range. Work on an even and coordinated sound. Training your vocal cords through this kind of practice will unlock higher overtones. This will eventually lead to a higher and more stable range.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, by now you understand what vocal range is, how to find your range, and how to increase it. You have probably also located your singing voice type. Being able to decipher whether you are a Bass, Baritone, Tenor, Soprano, etc.. Remember the importance of proper breathing, good posture, and avoiding putting too much pressure on yourself to advance. Keep developing and strengthening your mid-range.

There are many more techniques you can use to improve your range. We hope you've enjoyed these techniques as our aim is to help you become a better singer, so you can tackle more songs with freedom. Again, if you want a free singing tip sent to you weekly, don't forget to sign up to our singing community newsletter.