The best way to increase voice range is by working with exercises that allow the vocal folds to stretch while still maintaining their ability to resist the air. The vocal folds resist air like a door that opens and closes. If the door is made of paper, I can very easily run right through it. This is what happens when the vocal folds are too thin.
The cords can’t resist the air from the lungs and the result is a breathy falsetto.
However, if the doors are made of a sturdy material like wood, I will encounter resistance when I hit the door.
So in order to achieve a strong sound at the top of my voice, I must have resistance at the vocal folds so that I’m not just singing air on the top.
It’s very important that we have both stretch and resistance at the vocal folds in order to increase our range.
Just one won’t do it.
You need both.
So here are Some vocal range exercises to help you hit higher notes without the breathy falsetto sound.
Exercises to Expand Vocal Range
The Lip Trill
Ah, the lip trill. There has never been a more powerful, yet safe exercise to help you expand vocal range.
Let your lips flop together while you sing the vowel “uh”.
With the lip trill the vocal folds are in a close, safe environment.
This decreases the threshold force needed to get vocal folds to vibrateThe lip trill is the vocal equivalent of lifting weights in outer space.
By reducing the force necessary to do work, the vocal folds can resist the air coming from the lungs much more easily.
The lip trill also promotes resistance and stretching of the vocal folds. This way, you can sing to the very top of your range without disconnecting to falsetto.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Blow out some air to make your lips flop together.
Just relax, and gently blow some air to make the lips gently vibrate together.
2. While your lips are flopping together, say the vowel “Uh” (as in “Utter”). It should have a bubbly sound like you’re under water.
3. Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try C3 for guys and G3 for girls) and allow the lips to flop together while you sing the “Uh” vowel.
4. Sing the following scale.
Here’s the scale for guys.
Here’s the scale for girls.
But if you can’t read music, don’t worry use the video above.
Open your mouth and sing the bright, forward “Gee” (as in “Geese”).
By opening your mouth to sing, we lose the advantage of the lower threshold we got from the lip trill.
But we’ve got two things going for us.
1) The “ee” vowel promotes stretch in the vocal folds, and…
2) The “G” consonant brings the vocal folds together.
Just try saying “Guh Guh Guh” and you’ll see what I mean.
The feeling you get when singing that glottal “G” consonant is the sensation of the vocal folds closing.
This combo of the “G” consonant with the “ee” vowel will allow you to hit some very high notes in your voice without disconnecting to falsetto.
Here’s how you do it:
Begin by saying the word “Gee” as in “Geese” at a comfortable volume.
While saying the word “Gee”, make sure that you are enunciating the “G” consonant.
Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try C3 for guys and G3 for girls) and begin to sing the word “Gee”
The Bratty “Nay”
This is possibly the most famous exercise for expanding range.probably because it’s one of the most silly. Pretend you’re a little brat on the playground and sing a bratty, teasing “Nay”.
This is even wider than the “Gee” we just did, thus increasing the chances we might flip as we sing higher.
However, the bright, bratty sound we’re using will help thin the vocal folds while keeping them together.
With this exercise, the “ay” vowel is narrow enough to discourage flipping in the passage.
And the “N” consonant is excellent at resisting the air from your lungs.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Begin by saying the word “Nay” (as in “Neighbor”) in a bratty way.
The tone should be buzzy and nasal-sounding.
We’re actually looking for that bright, brassy, “witchy” tone
2. Now find a comfortable starting pitch (try E3 for guys and C#4 for girls) and begin to sing the bratty “Nay” on this pitch.
3. Sing the following scale.
Here’s the scale for men:
Here’s the scale for women:
To get the most benefit out of this exercise, it’s important you do it right.
Watch this video to give you the right idea:
Few Things to Note
It’s important to remember that all of these exercises are temporary steps to get you singing higher notes in your range.
While it would be amazing if you could expand your range by an octave with just these exercises, the end goal is to sing well on songs.
Also, please don’t read this and think that all you have to do is make a bratty sound or blow your lips together and all your notes will sound beautiful.
These exercises simply allow the vocal folds to stretch while resisting the air from your lungs.
If you train your body to achieve this difficult task, it will be much easier to sing that way in a song.