how to expand your vocal range and sing higher notes

Can you expand your vocal range?

Following the singing community on Reddit and during my Instagram mini-series “Ask Rita”, I’ve noticed that a lot of untrained and beginner singers willing to take singing lessons first ask whether technique and weekly vocal training could help increase their range and gain more notes in both low and high registers.

There is one definitive answer which is music education and practice!

I’ll explain why certain vocal terminologies cause so much confusion among singers and simplify how to start expanding your vocal range today.

What is the difference between vocal range and registers

To put it simply, the vocal range is the total pitches you can produce while maintaining good sound quality.

Tessitura is an Italian word for texture. It is the typical singing range in which a singer is most at ease.

Vocal range

A good vocal range can depend on your voice type:

COMMON VOICE TYPESCLASSIFICATIONTYPICAL SINGING RANGE
SopranoHighest female voiceC4 – A5
AltoFemale low voiceF3 – D5
TenorHighest male voiceC3 – G4
BassMale lowest voiceE2 – C4

Vocal registers

There are three vocal registers:

  • Chest register (also called the natural speaking level)
  • Middle register or mixed voice (most singers struggle blending at this point, going from low notes throughout the passaggio without making any vocal breaks)
  • Head register (called falsetto for male voices)

To be more specific, we can add vocal fry (the morning wake-up voice) and the flute or whistle register (have you ever wondered how many high notes Ariana Grande can sing?!)

How do you find your current vocal range?

Are you ready to find out how many octaves you can sing?

If you don’t have a keyboard or guitar at home, simply download a piano app for your mobile device, open the keyboard:

  • Start singing A vowel on C4 (middle C). You can also sing multiple vowels on a single note while adding a consonant (the famous singing exercise mee meh ma mo moo).
  • Sing the lowest note you can and mark it.
  • Write down the highest note you can sing without strain.
  • Check out the table above for a simplified classification.

Rare voices have a five-octave range, so don’t compare yourself to your idols. Even if they were born singers, they improved greatly through hard work, performance and live experience.

Don’t be discouraged; instead, begin working on your technique and track your progress each month.

breath support in vocal technique

Why is your vocal range so small?

Many students are so obsessed with how many high notes they can reach. To be honest, the vocal range does not matter. 

What counts, and what a jury looks for in singing auditions, is the overall proper development of your vocal mechanism, as well as how easily you transition between your chest and head voice without pushing or forcing your voice, from full voice to sotto voce and piano. Challenging, right?!

Stop focusing on high notes; singing in low voice is much more difficult because it is considered the foundation: the fuller and more covered the sound, the easier it is to sing half a step higher each time without losing your core connection. Stay away from the jaw and tongue tension when you want to sing higher notes.

Practice on your medium (mixed range, where notes may shake or lose proper breath support) to develop your voice so that it no longer cracks on high notes.

If you feel it is hard to make it on your own, invest in your instrument and take vocal lessons with a good voice teacher. Track your progress over the first six months and gradually sing lower and high notes too.

everyone can sing whether you are a a gifted singer or you learn it

3 tips to instantly expand your vocal range today

There is no magic formula; keep in mind that this is an art form, and every voice is unique. Make time for quality practice on a weekly basis.

Here are the 3 best ways to increase your vocal range:

  1. Take good care of your physical and vocal health
    • Have a sufficient sleeping routine.
    • Stay hydrated; your voice and skin will thank you.
    • Avoid bad eating habits.
    • Stay away from allergens.
    • As a vocal remedy, use a humidifier to keep the environment clean and safe.
  2. Find a good voice teacher and start to practice
    • It is impossible to learn proper singing technique entirely on your own.
    • Find a singing teacher in your area or online.
    • Schedule a trial lesson to learn about their method and the vocal exercises they use.
    • Begin with your desired goal in mind.
  3. Practice these 3 exercises to expand your range
    • If you cannot afford to take singing lessons, you can learn to sing on your own and gradually discover your voice.
    • You can try vocal sirens by starting on an oo vowel and stretching your voice from this note to the lowest notes, then sliding to the highest possible note without straining.
    • A low-impact warm-up exercise is humming on a short major scale. Repeat the exercise, but this time, go down a half step.
    • The single note exercise is everyone’s favourite (me may ma mo moo).

Don’t overdo it. 

Be patient, protect your vocal cords and have fun singing.

be patient and do not tire your vocal cords

Your singing teacher to help you improve your vocal range

Do you wish to broaden your vocal range? Are you looking for online singing lessons in Canada? 

This is your chance to work with an expert vocal coach who has 15 years of teaching experience in the music genres of pop, R&B, pop-opera, and classics, as well as a repertoire of French and English songs. 

If you are looking for Arabic vocal technique and lessons in Canada or the United States, I teach modern Arabic style with a focus on Lebanese music like Fairouziyat and Arabic pop songs.

If you want to learn more about voice lessons, contact me to book a free trial.

About the author

Rita Hokayem

I am a soprano opera singer, voice teacher with over 13 years of experience, and digital marketer.
I teach online singing lessons for beginners and professional singers in pop, rock, R&B, country, oriental Arabic music, and pop opera.
My blog contains a series of interviews and articles about interesting topics related to the life of a musician and singer.
I am currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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