How To Increase Your Vocal Range
When we think of how to increase vocal range, we generally tend to think about adding higher notes, right? However, our lower range is also very, very important. Some of the best sounding tones come from your lower range and this tends to be an area that a lot of singers neglect.
How often have you heard songs that require a strong, emotional lower range before they build to higher parts? The lower you can sing properly means that you might not have to be always at the extreme of your high range for the top parts a song.
Find Your Chest Voice
The chest voice is usually used for everyday speaking and your speaking voice can tell you quite a bit about your singing voice. You can both help and hinder your singing vocal depending on how you use your normal speaking voice.
To get started we need to explore your spoken voice. First, you need to be near a piano or have a pitch pipe handy. Start by speaking some monosyllables like mm-hmm, uh-huh, ah hah, and then find the nearest pitch to the spoken sounds on the piano or pipe. Now do the same again using some other sounds like yawning, crying, or sighing and find the pitch for them. You may consider taking a few lessons from a professional singing teacher. They’ll understand the principles of music teaching and translate that to your broader vocal range.
Extend on this process by speaking a few simple sentences like “I love singing” etc. and get the pitch that matches. The best outcome is that the pitch for the sentences and for the other non-speech sounds you first did should be the same. There are so many good reasons to take singing lessons, and one of the things you’ll learn is that if you find that your spoken voice is lower than the other sounds then you may be hindering your singing voice.
The reason for this is that your spoken voice should not get down into the “vocal fry” level. Vocal fry refers to a gravelly sound that comes when you speak too low in your chest voice and is unhealthy for your voice. The best pitch for your speaking voice should be around four tones or scale steps above the vocal fry point.
Now try speaking or reading some sentences out loud while you experiment with higher pitches to check out how high you can speak. The idea is to find out where you feel comfortable and the point where you begin to experience vocal strain. Read also this post on music scholarships. Highly informative and entertaining.
Exercises to Improve Lower Tone
When you sing with your Chest Voice you will be able to feel the resonance in your upper chest and collarbones. You can check this by lightly placing your hand on the top of your chest with fingers and thumb touching your collarbone. You will feel vibrations with your hand when you sing and slide down from the top of your range and into your chest voice. This vibration is a result of the air moving across your vocal folds from your lungs while the actual sound vibration is coming from your throat.
Next, you could try a simple fifth slide. This is a continuous vocalization that starts in the comfortable middle area of your vocal range and then slides down five scale steps without a break in your voice. For C major key this would be So – Do, or G to C. Try using the buzz or lip roll (where you pucker your lips and vibrate them) as you sing. Your voice should not be bumpy or creaky but smooth and even. If you do get any bumpy or creaky feelings in your voice as you slide down the scale then it could be the result of tension.
Take a little break and do a few relaxation exercises for your neck and face. Try being aware of your whole jaw-line from ear to ear and allow this to relax or do some gentle massage around your face and throat. When you start to slide down the scale again, try closing your mouth a little from the starting note position. It all about the basics of singing exercises.
Now you could move to sing an octave scale up and down. Let your jaw drop and allow your mouth to open wider as you go up the scale and then do the reverse as you descend. Try imagining that your voice is a road that leads away from you. The low notes are nearest to you and the high notes are the furthest away.
Stay With It
Just like any exercise, to increase vocal range takes some time and effort. Be positive and stick with it, I guarantee you will see results.