If you’ve been struggling to reach powerful high notes and/or sing them in a pop style, this article is for you.
We’ll go over the following 3 things.
- Singing techniques and practices you’ve likely tried but don’t work.
- 4 quick fixes that work if you’re, unbeknownst to yourself, already close to singing powerful high notes.
- A 12-week plan that works for everyone, also for beginners.
So, if that sounds interesting to you let’s get into it.
Singing techniques and practices you’ve likely tried but don’t work
In the singing world there are many practices that supposedly help singers sing powerful high notes in a pop style.
However, they often times don’t.
These are the practices we’ll dive into.
- Singing scales
- Finding Mix-Voice
- Strengthening Head-Voice
- Expanding Chest-Voice
Let’s get into why these don’t help singers sing powerful high notes in a pop styles, and what to do instead.
Training for high notes by singing scales
In the singing world, scales have this sort of mythical status.
However, if you think about it singing a scale is just singing notes.
Like you’d do in a song.
And just like singing songs, singing scales can be quite challenging.
Nevertheless, many singers believe that by singing scales, they’ll gain high notes.
But that would be the same as telling a singer who can’t sing high notes, to start singing Ariana Grande songs!
It doesn’t make sense and it could be dangerous even.
Let’s dive into the next practice that doesn’t help singers sing powerful high notes in a pop style.
Singing high notes with Mix-Voice
For now we’ll go over the 2 main problems singers run into when they try singing powerful high notes with Mix-Voice.
Powerful high notes with Mix-Voice, Problem 1.
Many aspiring pop singers want powerful high notes that sound like a more intense version, of their general singing voice.
This is impossible to achieve when using Mix-Voice simply because Head-Voice is 50% of this mix.
The other half is ‘Chest-Voice’.
This is a sound commonly used when singing low to middle notes.
Since Head-Voice has much less density/weight to its sound than most versions of Chest-Voice, the high notes sung with it sound like a watered-down version of Chest-Voice.
This is how singers end up with high notes that sound more fragile than their low to middle notes, instead of a more impactful version of their general singing voice.
Powerful high notes with Mix-Voice, problem 2.
What we haven’t touched on yet, is what Head-Voice tends to sound like.
Many singers learn a version of it that has a classical or musical theater kind of sound to it.
Which as an aspiring pop singer is the last thing you want!
So, now these singers sing high notes that already sound fragile compared to their low to middle notes plus they want to mask the Head-Voice portion of their high notes!
Consequently, they try things like:
- making their high notes sound more like Chest-Voice
- expanding their Chest-Voice
- or strengthening their Head-Voice.
All because they want to add that lost density/weight to the sound of their singing voice when singing high notes.
Maybe you recognize this cycle. I do for sure.
Or maybe you to want to simply avoid it altogether.
In either case I have good news for you.
You could be one of the singers who are already close to singing powerful high notes in a pop style, without knowing it.
Maybe you’re just as bewildered as I was every time your favorite pop singer sings powerful high notes with ease.
The big game-changer only very few seem to be talking about, is the sounds these pop singers sing with.
Powerful high notes are simply way easier to achieve with one of these sounds.
It’s the sound I call ‘Sound One’.
Since it has much density/weight/intensity to it, many would classify it as Chest-Voice.
The only difference is that this sound can be used on high notes, instead of only on low to middle notes.
However, if you’ve had lessons, it’s likely your singing voice has gone through the chest, head, mix and belt -voice treatment.
And you might have an idea of what these ‘voices’ sound like when it comes to your singing voice.
Still, even if you think you’re using head, mix and belt -voice when singing high notes, it could be that you’re actually close to singing with Sound One.
If that’s the case, the following 4 quick fixes are your Sound One on-switch.
Quick Fix 1: Bending Vowels
Most pop singers bend their vowels to create unique flavors.
However, bending your vowels also has a functional purpose.
In the case of high notes, it helps you keep the density/weight of Sound One intact as you sing them.
The trick is to bend your open vowels towards closed ones.
This helps restrict the resonance in your mouth, by closing the space between your tongue and the roof of your mouth
As a result, you keep the density/weight of Sound One intact.
Most pop singers bend their vowels to some extent, but the higher you sing the heavier the vowel bend necessary to keep Sound One going.
You can bend your vowels on an individual bases.
The ‘OU’ as in ‘you’ bends to U’ as in ‘mud’.
‘EE’ as in ‘free’ bends to ‘i’ as in ‘sit’.
O as in ‘show’ bends to ‘O’ as in ‘more’.
But you can also pick one of closed vowel to bend all your words towards, which is an easy way to get used to it.
Quick fix 2: a slight NG-Tongue position
Keeping your tongue in a slight ‘NG’ position also restricts some of the resonance necessary to keep the density/weight of Sound One intact as you sing high notes.
Say the word ‘king’.
Now keep a light version of that in place and sing something easy.
Now try again while combining it with your closed vowel(s) of choice.
Quick fix 3: breathing out sound
This is one of my favorite tricks when it comes to singing powerful high notes, because it works well for many.
This is the idea behind it.
Since it’s easy to tense up when singing high notes (it can even feel necessary), many singers end up putting too much pressure on their vocal cords.
And as counterintuitive this may sound and feel when you sing; it results in a loss of density/weight in the sound of your singing voice.
It was the same for me.
The more effort I put into singing high notes (and it didn’t matter how loud they got) the ‘thinner’ they sounded.
This is where the ‘breathing out sound’ -sensation comes in.
It’s basically realizing with mind and body that when you sing, you’re breathing out sound.
There are 2 ways to connect with this sensation.
The first is this.
Take a deep breath in.
And now produce a sigh with sound.
That’s the sensation we’re looking for.
The trick is to feel/add this sensation when singing.
The second way to connect with this sensation is by singing a random note.
Then, reduce the volume while sliding down in pitch.
As the note dies off, focus one the ‘breathing out sound’ -sensation this creates.
Adding this sensation to your singing voice might very well be the on-switch of Sound One for you.
Quick fix 4: adding more vocal cord closure
Now, before we do this particular exercise, I want to stress one thing.
This exercise shouldn’t hurt by any means.
If you notice any discomfort, make sure you reassess and try it in a gentler manner.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
First, you must know and feel where in the throat the vocal cord closure happens.
For this you can hold your breath for a couple of seconds and feel where you feel that hold.
That’s the place.
Now, to add more closure you can simply add a tiny little bit of that hold to your singing voice as you sing.
This should feel comfortable and light.
It shouldn’t constrict your sound in any way, just add more weight/density to it.
Also, make sure you practice this on low to middle notes first before you try it on high notes.
So, those were the 4 quick fixes helping singers who are already close to singing with Sound One.
- Bending your vowels towards closed ones.
- The slight NG-tongue position
- The breathing out sound -sensation.
- Adding more vocal cord closure
If non of these worked for you, don’t worry, the next option might do the trick.
A 12-week plan that works for everyone, also for beginners.
Just so you know, this is going to involve an affordable but still shameless plug simply because I can’t teach you Sound One in this article.
But if the quick fixes didn’t help you sing powerful high notes in a pop style, activating Sound One will.
And this would be my 12-week plan for you.
In the first 4 weeks you learn the 4 ingredients of Sound One so you can activate it whenever you want.
Plus, you start to sing safe and easy songs with it.
Then, in the next 4 weeks you get used to singing through the diaphragm with this new sound.
You learn how to add The Sparkle (yes, it will make your singing voice sound sparkly) and a slightly lowered larynx since both make singing high notes easier.
Plus, you start to sing slightly more challenging songs.
In the last 4 weeks you start singing high notes with Sound One, one or two notes at a time.
This is the fun phase because it’s when most singers discover how much easier powerful high notes can be.
Basically, the only thing you need to focus on is keeping the integrity of Sound One intact, when singing high notes.
When you do that, the powerful high notes are just there.
Which can be a weird feeling for the singers who have struggled to sing powerful high notes before.
It was weird for me for sure!
Now you know how to sing powerful high notes in a pop style.
I hope this cleared some things up for you.
If you’d like to activate Sound One, my upcoming course guides you through the steps.
Or maybe you want to work on one of the following topics next.
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