One of the questions I receive most often is, “How do I sing high notes?” There has always been a desire, especially with singers of popular music, to want to sing in their upper range, head voice, and even falsetto voice.
It is important to first gain a bit of an understanding of the physiology of the body and voice, or exactly how you create sound. To start, take your hand and place it right in the middle of your throat, and locate your larynx or voice box. It is easier to see on men as it is the Adam’s apple, but women can find it just as easily when they locate that protruding bone in the neck. That is your voicebox.
Now, when you are singing, your larynx or voice box should remain stable, relaxed, or level. Think of your vocal cords as running horizontally in your throat inside that voicebox. (See the diagram above). There are muscles attached to the vocal cords that attach to the larynx and cause the cords to open and close and that is how you create sound. When your larynx stays stable when you are singing or speaking, then your vocal cords are able to work properly.
Imagine a guitar, or even a piano, where the thicker strings play the lowest notes, and the thinner strings play the higher notes. This is pretty much how your vocal cords should function as well, but they can’t do that if your larynx is moving around too much. If you push up to attempt to reach your higher notes, you will move your larynx out of place and then you stop your air flow and begin to push, which can lead to vocal damage. The same is true for attempting to reach lower notes. If you push down you will stop your air flow.
A great trick you can use now is to begin to reverse this, and much of that will occur in your thinking. In other words, if you think that you are going down for your higher notes you will reverse your old habits and keep your larynx more stable. The same is true for the lower notes. Begin to think that as you are going down that you will slightly close your mouth, and think you are going up into the lower notes. This might sound crazy, but it works!
This will indeed require some concentration and practice as, if you are like most people, you may have developed a habit of pushing up for your higher notes, which is why you will feel strain, hoarseness, or fatigue after singing. Try to also imagine that as you are going higher in your range that you are thinking about going down. Also, imagine your vocal cords getting really thin or shorter as you go higher. This is a mental process but over time you will feel that you are expanding your range, and because you are not pushing, you will be able to reach your higher notes with ease, great tone, and clarity.
Practice, patience, and persistence, are the keys to developing a great voice!