Can a Singer Increase their Range?
Whether you are a beginner singer or an experienced singer, you can always increase your vocal range.
So to answer that question, yes a singer can and should always strive to increase their vocal range.
This is because hitting those high notes consistently without any issues will make or break your performance
The one thing you want to ensure is that you do not hurt yourself or your vocal cord when increasing your vocal range.
As a result, here are 5 tips you can use to ensure that you increase your vocal range without hurting yourself
1. First, know your current vocal range
Before you can start working on your vocal range, you need to know or at least have an idea of your current vocal range
This will allow you to determine that your current vocal range is not the highest or lowest note you can comfortably reach.
Basically, your vocal range is simply the range between the lowest and highest notes you can comfortably sing.
To know your current vocal range, all you have to do is head to a piano or download a keyboard app.
You can then pinpoint your range by using the piano numbering system.
Talking about notes as “the second A above middle C” can start to get confusing, so a widely used technique is to accompany note names with their given octave number on a keyboard.
Middle “C” is called C4 because it is the 4th C (starting from the Bass) up on the keyboard.
The “C” an octave above C4 is C5, the “C” an octave below C4 is C3, and so on. Use the image below to familiarize yourself with the numbering system.
2. Take care of your vocal cords
Another thing you want to do is ensure that your vocal cords are in optimum shape
Besides how can you improve if currently your vocal cords are in bad shape
And let’s face most singers are terrible at taking care of their vocal cords
Here are a few things you can constantly do to ensure that your vocal cords are in optimum shape.
- Get a good night’s sleep – At least you should have 7 – 9 hours sleep every night
- Hydrate properly – Aim for at least half a gallon of water every day
- Sanitize – make sure you sanitize your hands properly everyday
Another thing you want to do is to ensure that you avoid certain foods that are bad for your vocal cords.
- Drying foods and drinks such as soda, fuzzy drinks, alcohol etc
- Foods that add mucus to your throat such as milk, ice cream and other dairy products
- Overly spicy or sour foods that can irritate your throats
3. Use the proper technique
Finally we are getting into some serious business
Here’s a quick overview of the basics:
- Keep your larynx low, at rest position. “Sing with an open throat,” is a common mantra to remember. Here is a great tutorial for practicing your open throat singing.
- Stand straight and make full use of your breath support.
- Breath from your diaphragm, rather than your neck and shoulders
- Rest your tongue at the top of your bottom teeth and relax your jaw.
When singing outside of their normal vocal range, some beginning vocalists tend to either force more air through the throat, which can jam up the vocal cords, or restrict air flow, which can lead to a breathy sound.
Maintaining proper technique will help you avoid either of these situations.
You may also find it helpful to start at the top note of your vocal exercises from time to time.
Starting from the top will prevent your voice from getting too heavy.
It will also help you keep your larynx low and break the cycle of always having to move from your chest voice to head voice (higher register).
4. Set small goals for yourself
Yes I know everybody wants to go from professional to pro instantly but it does not work like that.
One thing I really believe in life is to set small goals for yourself
And same thing goes with increasing your vocal range
Start small for example by aiming to expand your voice by one half step both at the bottom and top of your range
Remember what I said about going too fast and you just might hurt yourself
Also it is very important that you do not set a new goal unless you have hit the previous one.
It may take you a month to reach your goal, or it may take you a year.
Just like any other muscle in your body, your vocal cords can’t be retrained overnight, and the key to truly expanding your range is very gradual and consistent exercise.
5. Make sure you warm up gradually
Just like you would warm up your muscles before exercise, you should always warm-up your vocal cords before singing.
However, it’s important that you warm up your vocal chord gradually.
To use the exercise analogy again, you wouldn’t go straight into a high-kick warm-up without stretching your hamstrings first!
One of the gentlest ways to start warming your voice up is with a hum.
We recommend starting with some major pentascales and going up by a half step as high as you comfortably can.
What determines the range of a singer?
The range of a singer is determined by a lot of factors most especially your age
Because your speaking and singing voice changes with age, you most definitely want to wait until your body is finished growing to determine your voice type
Next your range is all the notes – from the highest to the lowest – that a singer can comfortably hit without any issues.
Finally your voice strength also plays a huge role in the range of a singer.
Sopranos and tenors have a stronger head voice than mezzos and basses. Likewise, mezzos and basses have a stronger, meatier middle voice than sopranos and tenors.
How long does it take to increase your vocal range?
My personal opinion is that it depends
Like all this in life, you need patience, consistency and dedication – and same goes for singing and increasing your vocal range.
Expanding your vocal range takes months or years of practice.
When you are just beginning, you would be very successful to add a half step to your range (with good tone production) every week.
Does your vocal range increase with age?
Our vocal range can increase with the proper training.
As far as age goes, you’ve got plenty of time because the voice hits it’s “peak” at age 30. The secret to a long lasting voice is training your head voice.
I know singers that have had a consistent high range for more than twenty years; one is in his fifties!