The 3 Best Ways to Improve Your Vocal Range
Many students come to me upset that they are unable to extend their vocal range and therefore have a very limited amount of notes that they can sing comfortably.
In fact, the muscles that work together to help you sing adapt very quickly to training and your range can grow quite steadily if you approach it in the right way (but just know that it can take time - you won't be throwing your voice around like Bruno Mars in a few weeks).
Here are a few tips to help get you on your way.
USE VOCAL EXERCISES THE RIGHT WAY
Because singing involves muscular memory (teaching your muscles to remember the way you want them to perform by repeating an action and making it a habit), I often use analogies to do with fitness and training the other (larger) muscles in your body.
Vocal exercises are not only used to warm up the vocal cords but also to train the surrounding muscles without complicating things for the brain by adding lyrics and difficult rhythms or melodies.
You should be using singing exercises to train the muscles to work using correct technique and to develop and strengthen your voice.
In terms of increasing your vocal range, if you challenge your voice every time you work on an exercise and are singing safely, the voice will be able to cope with higher notes over time.
Always try to go one note (one semitone) above or below where you have comfortably reached previously and approach the note gently but with confidence.
FOCUS ON "FEELING" RATHER THAN "HEARING"
Often singers are listening out for whether or not they're hitting the note and panicking themselves about the next high ones coming up. This increases tension in the throat and the tongue and can lead to us not even getting close!
In exercises where you are testing your range it is especially important that you focus on feeling relaxed and removing as much tension as possible. Do the exercises with a loose jaw (as if you're feeling a bit dopey).
If you feel as though tension is creeping in, catch it and release the tightness, then try the scale again.
Now that you're concentrating on keeping everything loose and relaxed, we can up the ante!
Make sure that you are always working on a song that is slightly challenging in terms of your vocal range. If you play it safe and stick to what is easy for you, your voice won't grow!
Push yourself a little but always be careful and consult with your teacher before attempting a new song with difficult notes. Move into falsetto or head voice when you need to and work on adding twang to create volume and strength.
PS: DON'T RUSH
You wouldn't enter yourself in a marathon if you get stitch on a short walk now would you?
You want to ease into developing your singing range - baby steps my friend! If you rush your development, you can put strain on the chords and start training them to struggle for low or high notes using poor technique.
Always aim for that one note higher or lower and work on getting that comfortable and strong before you move up to the next one. Beyonce's range wasn't built in a day!