Definition – the collection of pitches that the human voice can produce from the lowest to the highest.
This subject has been the greatest source of headache and heartache for the average person learning to sing.
These are a few things to keep in mind when practicing your range agility and adding more pitches to your vocal range:
1) It’s already there – the voice is already complete. Whatever note you wish to sing, it’s already there, in the vocal chords. We use it every day without realizing it.
2) You can’t add or subtract to your range – this follows up from the previous one. You can only enhance the sounds you want. If you prefer to sing low, learn to enhance your low tones. Vice versa for higher tones. It’s all there, just learn how to use it.
3) Learn to use only the muscles that work – this has more to do with stopping other muscles from interfering.
Ok so let’s get started:
Before we start, pick a song that you like, that is slightly above your range. Like, the verse is fine, you’re grooving along, but when it comes to the chorus, you have good days and bad days. Try singing the song as best you can, but don’t strain yourself, and feel free to resort to falsetto when you need to.
This song will be used to mark your progress. Don’t pick an ultra-high song like Celine Dion or Bon Jovi. Just the usual mid-range fare from Top 40. Unless, of course, you’ve mastered the mid-range stuff and are ready to graduate to the higher registers.
Step 1: get your tongue relaxed. Do you remember your last visit to the dentist? If you’re having your tooth removed, chances are the dentist would numb you out first. If he doesn’t, find a new dentist. When he numbs out the area around the teeth, the tongue would get numbed out too. Remember how it felt to try and speak in that state? Revisit that time.
Exercise a: Relax your tongue and sing a descending note from the highest pitch you’re comfortable with. Do this 10 times and feel how all the work is being done by the vocal chords. You’ll feel it, trust me.
Exercise b: Then do ten times ascending to your highest comfortable pitch from speaking voice.
Step 2: feeling the connected voice. Say the word “sing”. Now drop the “si” and go straight to the “ng”. Sustain the sound for a few seconds: “nnnngggggg”. Now do the same as with exercise a descending to the most comfortable high note. Repeat 10 times. Now do it with exercise b with the ascending tones 10 times. Feel the vocal chords being really worked out. Now let’s do a fun experiment. You’re familiar with the times when you try to sing high and a yelling sound pulls up? Sounds horrible and embarrassing, right? Try doing it with the “ng” sound. Can’t do it? Interesting, huh?
Step 3: freeing the voice. Do the “ng” sound with the ascending tones. This time, when you reach the highest note, alternate the “ng” with the vowel “ah”. Don’t worry if it sounds nasally, it’s a gradual thing. Do it 10 times. After 10 reps, try to gradually convert the “ng” from the nasally sound to full voice. You might surprise yourself at this point.
Step 4: checking progress. Go back to the song and sing it. Remember how the connected voice feels, and really go for it. Don’t shout, don’t force, just sing. You did it with the stupid sound, you can do it in a song. How does it feel? You just freed your voice a step further! Congratulations. You can make this part of your daily warm-up if you like =D
Step 5: Express yourself. Isn’t this the reason you want to learn how to sing in the first place? I’ll give you a mantra to get started on this one: “Express, not Impress!”