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How To Sing Without Straining: Getting Your Notes Right

exercises for singers' high notes singing for musicians singing high notes singing without cracking up singing without straining vocal chords vocal performance vocal sirens Nov 02, 2022

If you are an emerging musician and if you are constantly trying to give your musical best performance, be it in a recording or live, you need to get your notes right. Cracking up while giving your auditions, or in any platform where your note could make or break your music career happens so often and to so many artists that more often than not, emerging singers choose songs that don’t impose such a risk.


Hence, it is not surprising that you may get intimidated or be in utter shock when artists such as Ariana Grande, Adele, and Lady Gaga can pull off intense high and low notes. It takes years of practice, training, and effort to reach such levels of vocal melodies. But with the right help, you will be able to impress your labels, and curators and build that fan following slowly. To kickstart this process, we present a few tips that could help you sing your notes without straining much. 



Understand Your Best


Before you try and hit the highest note, try to first understand where your strengths lie in your vocal performances. In simple terms, know your range. If you will try to hit a higher note that your vocal cords aren’t ready for or haven’t trained in, you will end up cracking your voice and straining your vocal cords.


By doing this, you are not only putting yourself under undue pressure, but you are also hurting your throat. Consider it like this, if you are only able to jump two steps at a time, you will trip and fall if you jump over three more at once. Try and gauge the highest note you can sing tunefully and without any strain. This helps you get an idea of where exactly you need to build from. 



Do Your Exercises


Many vocal artists and music teachers assert that vocal cord hygiene as well as exercises should be a singer’s best friend to hit those notes as naturally as possible. Some reliable and effective exercises include the vocal siren ‘ooh.’ The ‘ooh’ vowel permits you to go to the most elevated notes in your voice without stressing. Furthermore, if you're anxious about those notes, the ‘ooh,’ vowel can be just what you need since the ‘ooh’ loosens up your vocal strings.


Begin by first spelling ‘ooh,’ like ‘oops.’ Next, find the highest note (like instructed above) that you can sing without straining, and sing ‘ooh’ in that order. Now, start from the lowest note you can sing and bring it up to the highest note, to sing the vowel. Try singing the same now, from your stomach without cracking or straining. Do this every day at least 5 times and each time, try to build up and reach a higher note. This way, you will train your vocal cords as well as sing high notes without straining because ‘ooh’ is a vowel that is so easy to vocalize. 



Avoid Tongue Tension


Singing for musicians and music artists can be enriching; they give away hints of unique character in their vocal performances which make them authentic to themselves and stand apart in the crowd. Some singers do so by adding tension to their voices. By creating these tensions, the notes sound a lot more real, natural and effortless. One well-known way that artists strain is by raising or bringing down their tongues while they sing various notes.


Yet, assuming the tongue is in an incorrect position for what you're singing, the strain can make you sound extremely close and pressed. You can feel this tension on your tongue. Try to take your thumb and tenderly feel straightforwardly under your jawline. Then, keep your thumb right under your tongue. Then, swallow while your thumb is there. As you swallow, the muscles under your jawline initiate and push down against your thumb. We don't need these muscles to move in your singing. 



Take an expression from a melody that has been giving you trouble. Place your thumb under your jaw. Sing the expression, feeling any pressure under your tongue. Assuming you feel that a portion of the tongue muscles pushing against your thumb, attempt to sing the expression again without straining the muscles under your jaw. Imagine that you are stuck with a block of ice and that your tongue muscles are frozen in that state. Then sing the expression once more, keeping every one of your muscles ‘frozen.’ This can help you reduce the tension you can feel while singing different notes and adjust the amount of tension you require!


Relax Your Larnyx


Another muscle that you should worry about is the larynx. Your larynx, or ‘voice box,’ houses the vocal lines and has a few muscles that raise or lower it when you swallow or yawn. In any case, numerous artists raise their larynx unknowingly while they sing high notes. Also, assuming the larynx is too high on your high notes, it can make you strain. Usually, when you sing, your larynx rises as well. But when you’re singing high notes, you don’t need that. 



Take the part of the track that is giving you a hard time. If you can't imagine a tune, you can utilize the ‘ooh’ or ‘ee’ vocal siren. Then, tenderly spot your thumb and first finger around your larynx.

Feeling your voice box between your thumb and first finger, sing the expression, being mindful so as not to raise the larynx. If you're feeling any strain in the larynx, attempt to sing the expression again with somewhat of a ‘yawny’ feeling, as though you're drowsy. This ‘yawny’ feeling ought to loosen up the larynx as you sing. 


Lessen Your Vowels 


At this point, your voice ought to be heated up and without strain. Yet, a portion of the sounds you're singing might in any case be a little troubling to you. Deal with these vocal activities like a brace. When you never need them again, attempt to wean yourself off of them. To start with, sing the expression very rawly and bratty. Then, try to sing properly, partially. Finally, proceed to sing professionally, as though you are recording or auditioning. Whenever you've completed these activities, sing the real lyrics of the track. One of the most incredible activities to progress from these ‘abnormal’ sounds to more typical singing is to limit your vowels.




These are just a few tips, but the most important and effective ones that could help you sing your note without straining yourself. Note that almost all describe a common practice - always start from scratch and slowly build on. This way you get to notice your mistakes, your strengths as well as your weaknesses in terms of vocal performances. Singing high notes for musicians may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. Who knows, you could be the next The Weeknd or Ariana Grande!

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