Vocal Range... What It Is, How Much Of It You Need To Sing Great
by Judy Rodman
How can you increase your vocal range? It's a question I hear all the time. Many times, this question is uninformed. There's no need to sing in whistle register if you're not doing Maria Carey style vocal runs, or singing the part of "Tony The Tiger" in those commercials. Why people have contests over this eludes me. Here's a more informed question:
How much vocal range do you need?
Answer: You need enough range to sing the songs you want to sing... without straining your voice.
So, if you experience vocal strain or weakness trying to hit the low or high notes in the songs you want to sing, you may indeed need to extend your range. But wait...what does this mean?Extending vocal range has two meanings, the way I see it.
◘Extending voice as low and high as you possibly can without strain.
You do this with vocal exercises designed to work your voice lower in chest voice and higher in head voice or falsetto than you would ever really sing in a song. This is very good for working the vocal apparatus out, flexing and strengthening the vocal muscles and adding to their ability to change the thickness and length of the vocal cords to the extreme. The cardinal rule is that this training and exercising must never be undertaken so far or so fast as to cause vocal cord strain. Ever pulled a hamstring? Can you imagine doing that in your throat? If it hurts it's wrong! As in other athletic endeavors, form is everything, and patience is the key to improvement.
◘Extending your middle, or mixed, voice where you will be singing in practical application.
This involves vocal exercises that enable the coordination of musculature within the vocal apparatus, so that changing the thickness and length of vocal cords is done with great finesse, which involves such things as the tilting of the thyroid cartilage and the balancing of strength in the thyroarytenoid muscles with that of the crycothyroids. It also involves a lifting of your soft palate. These vocal exercises must be designed to carefully go over the "break" point(s) in your vocal range until they erase that break and your voice blends in one seamless register.A little understood fact: Extend your ability to mix your chest and head voice registers and it will have the practical application of extending your vocal range when you sing. I used to have the worst break of anyone I've ever heard; Power Path & Performance method cured it.
Hope this helps clarify. If you'd like a vocal lesson to learn safe and effective vocal range extending exercises, let me know.
*Taken from JudyRodman.com BLOG
Judy Rodman has many years of professional experience as an award-winning recording artist, stage and television performer, multi-genre hit songwriter, studio producer and vocal consultant, and a highly sought-after voice teacher.