Tips To Increase Your Vocal Range

Most articles on how to increase vocal range focus on adding high notes, leaving altos and basses feeling left out. Lower voices, this one’s for you! By using your chest voice, we’ll explore some ways to add some more low notes on your voice.

Everyone uses the chest voice for normal speaking. Your speaking voice can teach you a lot about your singing voice as a matter of fact. You can either help or hinder your singing voice just by the way you use your speaking voice.

Let us explore your speaking voice for starter. Laugh, cry, yawn, sign etc are your various non-speech sounds. Try voicing it out. Find the nearest pitch to the sounds you made if you have a piano or pitch pipe available. Now speak a few monosyllables: uh-huh, mm-hmm, aha. Again, find the matching pitch on a piano or pitch pipe.

After the non-speech sounds, try a few simple sentences like “I am ___ years old.” or “I love to sing”. Once again, find the matching pitch. Ideally, the pitch should be the same for speaking as it is for monosyllables or non-speech sounds, but many people try to speak at a lower pitch than is natural for their voice. Doing this is not recommended and is not healthy thing to do.

Continue exploring your voice by speaking monosyllables at various pitch levels on a piano. Without sounding gravelly, try and find the lowest pitch you can speak. “Vocal Fry” is the term used for the gravelly sound and sustaining this is not healthy. Your ideal speaking pitch should be about four to five steps above your vocal fry level.

After that, try reading a paragraph or speak some sentences. Experiment with higher speaking pitches to see how high you can go. Along the way, note where your voice is most comfortable and where you start to hear and feel strain.

You will feel vibration or resonance in your chest when you use your ‘chest voice’. This is when you produce tones in that pitch range. With you thumb and fingers resting on your collarbones, put your hand gently on your upper chest. Do a yawn-slide (exhale on the syllable “hee” or “hoo” while sliding from the top of your range to the bottom). Your hand should feel vibration as you slide down into your chest voice.

You must know that the resonance is happening in your throat and mouth although it may feels like it’s occurring in your chest. The air moving from your lungs and across your vocal folds is vibration that you feel.

The fifth slide is the simple low-range singing exercise. Starting in the comfortable middle part of your range, use the buzz (puckered lips vibrating as air is expelled) or a syllable such as “vaw” to sing the starting pitch and slide down five steps. In the key of C major it would be G-C, so-do. The slide should be smooth, not bumpy or creaky. Start each repetition a half-step below the previous one.

You are probably holding some tension if you feel bumpy or creaky sensation when you descend the scale. Pause and do some face and neck relaxation exercises. Gently massage your face and throat, then try again. Close your mouth slightly from its starting position as you descend the scale.

Next, sing an octave scale up and back down, again using the buzz or “vaw”. As you go up the scale, allow your jaw to drop and your mouth to open a bit wider, then reverse that as you come back down. It may be helpful to imagine your tone on a path leading away from yourself, with low notes nearest and high notes farthest away. You can move one hand back to your side as you descend and move it away from your body as you ascend the scan. Well, that’s one thing to try out.

The arpeggio is another helpful exercise. Sing do-mi-so-do-so-mi-do on a vowel sound, such as “oo”, “ee”, or “ah”. Start each new arpeggio a half-step lower than the last.

As with any singing technique, adding to your lower range will take time and effort. Don’t worry, you will definitely see positive results if you are patient and persistent.

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