Improving Vocal Range
If you are sick, a smoker, or drink excessive amounts of alcohol, then your vocal range will be limited from the get-go. While we aren't going to delve into how drug use can affect your singing parts, it will affect your vocal ranges, as the chemicals will lessen the elasticity of your throat muscles, fibers, and ligaments, including your vocal chords and larynx.
Vocal chords, which are often referred to as vocal folds by many in the field, work together to vibrate at different speeds in order for your voice reaches certain sounds. When you begin attempting to go into different ranges, or make different pitches, your vocal chords stretch to accommodate.
And, as we have mentioned before, your vocal chords are muscles that need to be worked, stretched, trained, rested, and properly taken care of so that you do not wear them out, injure, or strain them. Some professional singing instructors suggest that those who are serious about singing do not attend group-singing sessions, such as with a choir or musical ensemble. They say that this will do two things: first, it will hinder your musical ear where it will be hard for you to maintain a certain key as it will be difficult for you to hear yourself sing, limiting your self-monitoring. Secondly, they say that you will have a good chance at injuring your voice because of trying to keep with others who may not understand or know how to properly control their voices from reaching higher levels of pitch and volume.
David Brantmoth, a renowned singing instructor in Europe, says, "Joining a choir for the elite professional may have its drawbacks. Groups singing together; however, do have their benefits. That is what singing is all about - it brings a certain joy to us and makes us aware of the benefits of the hard work that goes into training our voices."
When talking about vocal muscle injury or strain, Professor Brantmoth says that all singers need to be acute enough in their training to recognize when a certain activity, exercise, or performance is causing their voice to strain. He mentions that trained singers need to warm up properly, monitor their breathing, not overuse the larynx, not force their voice, and doing too much will ill-train vocal chords that aren't ready for a 'workout'.
These hints are valuable in that they reiterate what we need to focus upon, even when we are trying to heighten our vocal range. Using our head voices and using the sound produced from our vocal chords so they resonate to a certain key or pitch is one way we have already mentioned to extend your vocal range. Professor Brantmoth, above, talks about warming up properly. This important piece of advice is essential because vocal chord tension arises most often when the singer has not properly stretched his or her throat muscles allowing fluids and full oxygenation of the fibers to occur. Athletes of even the highest caliber would not survive in their domain if they did not warm up, stretch, drink plenty of fluids, and rest their bodies. If you start to think of yourself, of your voice, as a sort of thoroughbred, then you will follow a strict regimen of voice training, which includes proper care and warm up. Once you do, you'll notice yourself advancing much further than you thought possible, and an extension of your vocal range will come in due time.
Extending your Vocal Range: More about Head Tones & Careful Singing
Using head tones and the sounds that resonate in the portion of your upper cavity while singing is the only way to properly extend your vocal range completely without harming you or your singing organs. When you sing with your head voice, make sure you are not straining yourself or your voice. If you look into a mirror as you practice, pay not only attention on the placement of your tongue and lips, but be sure that you do not see strain, which can be noticed by the appearance of veins that stick out in the neck and forehead.
A youthful singer who can reach the highest of notes can do so not only because of the elasticity of their vocal chords, but because they will easily move into the higher head tones without reflecting on how it is being done. The other hand, when an adult learns to sing he or she will be able to consciously consider on a higher level what he or she is attempting to do. So, in some regard, it might be better if you are just now learning to sing, rather than when you were young. Now you have the discipline, know-how, and willingness to practice and learn on your side.
As you become savvy in using the upper height of your head voice, you will begin to find your most comfortable vocal range. Most singers who start out learning when they are past youth find they enjoy using their middle ranges much more than attempting to reach the highest of notes. If you are interested in singing opera and more classical verses, it would be advantageous for you to consider developing your highest head voice slowly. You might find, at first, that you can easily reach the higher notes. While this is great, you should not overuse or overpractice without first developing your lower singing levels. If you are not careful to monitor yourself and your progression, those higher ranges you were able to reach at the beginning might disappear later. Give yourself plenty of time to develop your singing muscles and proper singing knowledge.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to maintain a healthy singing voice that you give yourself plenty of time to focus on the fundamentals of singing as you progress slowly. In our culture of convenience and efficiency where everyone is in a hurry, learning to sing takes time, dedication, and focus. These three factors also affect your ability to extend your vocal range to its maximum potential.