How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (2023)

Every singer has been there. You're about to sing that lovely high note when suddenly you feel like the bottom has dropped out of your voice, and you start to crack like a 12-year-old boy.

Vocal breaks like this are typical, especially on high notes. And regrettably, they can occur at any time, whether in your home studio after too many vocal takes or on stage in front of a large audience.

Nevertheless, anyone can learn to hit the high notes without straining. It only requires some practice and the appropriate singing methods.

You'll be surprised at how much your vocal range can grow if you can learn to reach those high notes without strain.

In the article below, we'll discuss a few ways you can hit those high notes without straining your voice.

Key Takeaways:

  • To sing a high note, you need to stretch your vocal cords out further.
  • Your vocal range is important as a singer.
  • There are various exercises that can help you hit the high notes without straining.

Table of Contents:

  • Where Do High Notes Come From?
  • The Three Modes For Singing High Notes
  • Why Is Vocal Range important?
  • Warm Up With A Song
  • Facial Relaxation
  • The Lip Trill
  • Keep Your Jaw Open
  • Take Deep Diaphragmatic Breaths
  • Humming Exercises
  • The "ooh" Vocal Siren
  • The "ee" Vocal Siren
  • Eliminate Tongue Tension
  • The Nay

Where Do High Notes Come From?

How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (1)

When we talk about singing high notes, we're talking about reaching a particular pitch.

We can't control how high or low we sing, but we can change how much air pressure pushes against our vocal cords.

High notes mean stretching our vocal cords. This allows us to reach higher pitches because the vocal cords vibrate faster.

But there's one problem: Our vocal cords aren't elastic like rubber bands. They don't stretch very far, and they don't rebound easily. So what happens when we try to sing too high?

Our vocal cords vibrate together slowly and make a lower tone.

If we want to sing a higher note, we need to stretch our vocal cords out further. And the longer the cords are stretched, the faster they'll vibrate. This makes it possible to sing a higher note.

The farther apart our vocal cords vibrate, the higher the note we can hit.

The 3 Modes for Singing High Notes

Let's talk about the different ways of hitting high notes.

There are three modes for belting out high notes.

You hit high notes using a:

(Video) How to Sing High Notes Without Straining - WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW !

  • Chest Voice
  • Head voice
  • A mixture of head and chest voice, or a mixed voice

Why is Vocal Range Important?

Everyone's singing voice has a vocal range. Audiences are savvy and they can tell if you're straining outside of your comfortable range.

Vocal range is the distance from your lowest to your highest pitch.

This is how you determine what notes you can sing without straining yourself. Regardless of voice type, almost any vocalist can hit high notes.

The fact that those notes sound good is what matters most, though.

So, let's concentrate on making high notes comfortable before you think about whistle register or how to sing vibrato.

Before we get into the meat of this article, a quick word of caution: Many people believe they must push themselves harder to reach those high notes.

However, pushing those high notes is likely what's holding you back. So you're probably performing these exercises wrong if you experience any pain or strain during them.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are a few ways to hit high notes without straining.

How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (2)

Warm Up with a Song

It's important to warm up your vocal muscles.

Your voice is a muscle.

It will gradually grow more flexible the more you stretch it, just like stretching before you exercise.

If you consistently focus on stretching your vocal muscles, the muscles become accustomed to the stretching, and singing higher becomes simpler and more comfortable.

Singers often warm up their voices by humming or singing low notes.

This helps prepare your vocal cords for singing high notes.

Singing low notes first will help you reach those high notes without straining your throat.

Try different songs to find one that works best for you. You might want to start slow and gradually increase the speed.

This daily practice will work wonders for your singing voice.

Facial Relaxation

Some people think the best way to sing a high note is to go for it while widening their mouth and exhaling more air.

(Video) Sing Without Straining: 10 Exercises to Eliminate Tension and Free Your Voice

That's not it.

You won't achieve anything by hurting yourself. Even worse would be if your neck veins would pop out whenever you attempted a high note.

Learn to relax your face and mouth before singing; this is a fantastic way to prevent injury.

Put your thumbs on the fleshy area under your chin and both of your trigger fingers over your chin. To relax the muscles in this area, gently massage it.

Do this several times while keeping your mouth and eyes as wide open and scrunched up as you can.

Huge yawns and deep breaths are excellent for expanding the face and jaw.

Stretch your neck and shoulders thoroughly; you likely carry a lot of stress in these areas that could interfere with your singing.

The Lip Trill

One of the best vocal range-expanding exercises is the lip trill. Almost anyone can accomplish this.

The main benefit of lip trills is that they allow you to sing without straining from the bottom of your voice to the top.

Even if you struggle to sing high notes, you can typically sing them with a lip trill.

This is how to perform a lip trill:

  • Put two fingers in the center of your cheeks and vibrate your lips by blowing them together. As you blow air through the lips, you want them to bubble together uniformly.
  • Say the vowel "uh" behind the lips while the lips flop together to create some volume.
  • Next, choose a note that feels natural in your voice at the bottom (try C3 for men and G3 for women if you have a piano) and sing it while holding the "uh" vowel behind your lips.
  • Next, perform a siren by lip-trilling from a low note to a high tone and then back down.
  • Once you can smoothly transition from your lowest note to your highest note and back down, practice singing the lip trill from the bottom to the top of your voice.

Don't worry if you hear a break or crack in the middle of your voice. No matter how it sounds, trying to just let the trill extend to the top of your voice is preferable.

Keep Your Jaw Open

How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (3)

When striving to hit the high notes, most vocalists tend to close their jaws slightly.

You should use caution when closing them, though, as doing so can mute your voice's volume, force, and tone.

You'll have greater strength and loudness if you keep your jaw open to the end of the word.

The best way to achieve this is to practice voice-building exercises.

Take Deep Diaphragmatic Breaths

The fundamental idea behind diaphragmatic breathing is to breathe more deeply and slowly to produce a clearer sound while releasing tension.

Lack of airflow will cause you to strain your tongue, throat, jaw, and other oral muscles to get the sound out.

(Video) How to Belt High Notes Without Strain (Pull Chest OR use Mixed Voice?)

You'll feel more tension as you sing higher.

It takes more breath support for higher notes.

Humming Exercises

Humming is an additional vocal range-improvement exercise.

You can easily strengthen a weak voice by humming.

At first, it might seem absurd or unusual, but it's one of the greatest and simplest ways to hone your vocal abilities and warm up your vocal cords.

When practicing, keep your mouth closed and your tongue and jaw relaxed by placing the tip of your tongue below your bottom teeth.

The trick is to practice for 5 to 10 minutes a day while making the "nnnn" or "mmmm" sound, focusing on the one that produces a broader, deeper, and warmer tone of voice.

The "ooh" Vocal Siren

Let's sing a vowel you might hear in a song now that you've warmed up with the lip trill.

The "ooh" vowel allows you to reach the highest notes in your voice without exertion, making the "ooh" vocal siren an excellent workout.

The vowel "ooh" might work wonders for you if your vocal cords are a little strained on those upper notes because it relaxes them.

The "ooh" vocal siren should sound like this:

  • Start by uttering the vowel "ooh" as if you were going to say "Oops."
  • Find a pitch in your voice that feels comfortable to start on (again, if you have a piano, try C3 for males and G3 for women) and sing the note with an "ooh" sound, as if you were saying "oops."
  • Perform a vocal siren by singing the "ooh" vowel on your highest note, your lowest note, and then your highest tone again.
  • Finally, try to sing the "ooh" siren smoothly and without breaking or straining your voice.

The "ee" Vocal Siren

We'll focus on finding the appropriate vocal tone for singing now that you've identified your highest notes on the "ooh" vowel.

The "ee" vowel is quite similar to the "ooh," but it has a little more edge, which makes it sound cleaner.

How to perform the vocal siren with an "ee."

  • Start by articulating the vowel "ee" as you would the word "eat."
  • Then, sing the "ee" vowel on that note as if you were saying "eeeeeeeeat," finding a comfortable beginning pitch at the bottom of your voice.
  • Next, sing a vocal siren by going from your lowest note to your highest note and then returning to your lowest tone on the vowel "ee."
  • Once you feel confident performing this vocal siren, try to reach the peak without straining or breaking.

Do not continue if you have any pain.

How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (4)

Eliminate Tongue Tension

Singers can tense up their voices in a variety of ways. Most of the time, people do it without even realizing it.

Let's ensure you're not straining to reach those high notes now that you've warmed up on the oohs and ees.

When singing various notes, singers frequently strain by raising or lowering their tongues.

(Video) How to Avoid Straining Your Voice | Tutorials Ep.32 | Healthy Voice

However, if the tongue is positioned incorrectly for what you're singing, the pressure might make you sound highly constricted and compressed.

Your tongue can pick up on this muscular tension.

Do this:

  • Place your thumb under your chin and feel there softly.
  • You should position your thumb immediately underneath your tongue.
  • Swallow while holding your thumb in place.

Here is a little practice to help you sing without clenching your tongue:

  • Take a line from a song that's been causing you trouble. Do the "ooh" or "ee" vocal siren if you're having trouble coming up with a song.
  • Put your thumb now under your chin.
  • Sing the line while holding your thumb in place, checking for tongue tightness.
  • Try singing the sentence again without tensing the muscles beneath your chin if you notice that some of the tongue muscles are pressing against your thumb.
  • If you're still feeling tense, try visualizing that all of the muscles in your face are paralyzed by a block of ice.
  • Then repeat the phrase while maintaining a frozen state throughout your body.

The "Nay"

The truth is that singing lyrics is much more difficult than singing exercises.

This is so that you can deal with diverse notes, vowels, consonants, and dynamics when singing lyrics. And to get those high notes, your voice occasionally needs a little more support.

Vocal exercises are one of the best ways to improve the phrase you're trying to sing.

Here is one of my favorite exercises for powerfully singing those challenging notes in a phrase.

How to say the sassy "Nay" is as follows:

  • Pick a song that has been challenging for you to sing.
  • Say "Nay" (as in "neighbor") now in a "bratty" manner.
  • Then, while singing the melody of the sentence, substitute a brattish "Nay" for each word.

Attend an Accredited Music College

What comes next now that you've learned new vocal techniques and know how to sing those high notes without straining?

If you're enthusiastic about your craft and picture yourself as a professional singer, you can use this knowledge to establish a lucrative singing career in the music business.

But, how do you start?

One of the best things you can do to become a professional and well-compensated singer is to enroll in an accredited music college like the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media.

AIMM has two programs with a vocal concentration that will help you expand your range, perfect your pitch, and completely master your singing abilities.

The Performance Certificate in Vocals is ideal if your main goal is to improve your singing and performance talents.

On the other hand, our Music and Technology Associate Degree: Vocal Concentration gives you an additional skill boost by teaching you how to track, mix, and master music like your favorite professionals.

This is a unique music degree that combines everything you need to know about becoming a professional singer with the best music production techniques.

So, what are you waiting for? Put yourself in the best position to become a professional singer!

Click below to begin your enrollment at AIMM today.

(Video) How to Sing High Notes for Guys Without Straining

How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice (5)


How to Hit High Notes Without Straining Your Voice? ›

Why do we experience vocal strain? During singing, when your voice ascends in pitch, shifts in vocal cord engagement, tension, and sympathetic body resonance occur within the singers body which can feel unfamiliar, shaky, or just difficult if your voice isn't healthy.

Why does my voice strain when I sing high notes? ›

Why do we experience vocal strain? During singing, when your voice ascends in pitch, shifts in vocal cord engagement, tension, and sympathetic body resonance occur within the singers body which can feel unfamiliar, shaky, or just difficult if your voice isn't healthy.

Can singing high notes damage your voice? ›

“Audiences always clap when people sing those big loud notes,” Dr. Milstein says. “But if people are singing that way without using proper technique, they may end up having voice problems.” Damage isn't likely to occur overnight, but you need to take care of your voice over the long term, he says.

How do you hit high notes smoothly? ›

  1. Tip 1: Know Your Range. ...
  2. Tip 2: Warm Up Your Vocal Cords. ...
  3. Tip 3: Maintain Good Vocal Hygiene. ...
  4. Tip 4: Pay Attention to Your Posture. ...
  5. Tip 5: Use Your 3 Voices. ...
  6. Tip 6: Aim for the Second Highest Note. ...
  7. Tip 7: Practice, Practice, Practice. ...
  8. Want to Become a Better Singer?
Aug 9, 2021

Can you fix vocal strain? ›

The primary treatment for vocal cord strain is speech therapy. Therapy may be prescribed to strengthen naturally weak vocal cords — using special types of exercises — or to correct or perfect breathing techniques (as in the case of overuse injuries).

Is A5 a high note for a female? ›

A pretty common range for girls is from A3-A5.

That means a girl who can sing from A3-A5 can go from an A in the 3rd octave (the one right below Middle C) up to the A in the 5th octave. That's all there is to it! Is vocal range genetic?

How do I know if I ruined my singing voice? ›

Generally speaking, voice damage will include the onset of severe voice fatigue, reduction in range, inability to maintain pitch as well as a husky, rough or raspy sound that cannot be intentionally controlled or removed by the voice user.

How can I sing without damaging my voice? ›

Avoid using the extremes of your vocal range, such as screaming or whispering. Talking too loudly and too softly can both stress your voice. Practice good breathing techniques when singing or talking. Support your voice with deep breaths from the chest, and don't rely on your throat alone.

What is an unhealthy choice for your singing voice? ›

There are certain foods to avoid before singing, ones that seem to impact a singer's voice more than others, including dairy, spicy foods, fried foods, and anything particularly fatty. Not only can they increase phlegm in your throat, but they can also cause vocal cord inflammation.

What should I drink before singing high notes? ›

The best drinks before singing are warm drinks without caffeine or milk, warm water and herbal teas containing manuka honey, lemon and ginger are ideal. Warm or room-temperature water will hydrate your vocal cords, making them more supple and less liable to injury.

What should I eat before singing high notes? ›

A singer's meal would be balanced in 1) lean meat, chicken, fresh fish, eggs, or a high quality vegetable protein such as tempeh or tofu; 2) a complex starchy carbohydrate such as whole grain bread, brown rice or potato (not much butter, and no sour cream); and 3) plenty of fresh vegetables and/or fruits (citrus fruits ...

Why are my high notes so weak? ›

If you strain and reach for high notes your vocal type is likely Pulled Chest/High Larynx. If you sing with a weak or breathy sound your vocal type is likely Light Chest-No Chest. If you break, crack or flip, your vocal type is likely Flip-Falsetto.

What is the highest note ever sung? ›

Georgia Brown

The last artist on our short list is not very well known as an artist. However, she holds the world record for the highest note. Guinness World Record registered her in their list for the highest message ever hit by a human, a G10.

How long do voice strains last? ›

In most cases, it gets better without treatment in about a week. Symptoms of laryngitis can begin suddenly and usually get worse over a period of two to three days.

What drinks help your singing voice? ›

What are the best drinks for your singing voice? The best drinks for your singing voice are water (especially room-temperature water, perhaps with a squeeze or two of lemon) and tea, but be careful about consuming too much caffeine, which can dehydrate you. You can find wonderful herbal teas designed for singers.

Why do I lose my voice so easily? ›

Inhaled irritants, such as chemicals, high levels of dust, molds and aerosols, fumes or vapors. Sinonasal inflammation or infections, which can result in post-nasal drip. Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD)

What is Ariana Grande's vocal range? ›

What is Ariana Grande's vocal range? Ariana Grande's vocal range is four octaves and a whole step, approximately D3 – B5 – E7. Is Ariana Grande a soprano? Yes, she is a Light Lyric Soprano.

Can everybody sing a high note? ›

No matter your voice type, almost any singer can hit high notes. However, the most important thing is that those notes sound good. So before you focus on whistle register or how to sing vibrato, let's focus on making high notes comfortable. The range of comfortable notes in your voice has a name: Tessitura.

Is an F note high? ›

A scale is like a staircase. In the major scale, there are eight notes going up the steps from bottom to top. These are the eight notes of the octave. On a C scale, the notes from low to high would be C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

Can singing quietly damage your voice? ›

In short, the answer is that there is no “too soft” or “too loud” for vocal health–it's all in how you produce the sound. Here's the longer answer: When it comes to singing “freely” or even healthfully, it isn't really about singing loudly or softly—more about the way you're producing that loud or soft sound.

Can yelling permanently ruin your voice? ›

It could, however, do temporary or even permanent damage to your vocal cords. "Too much screaming can change the quality of your voice, your ability to use it how you want to, and even put you at risk for losing your voice's natural sound," says David L.

What does vocal damage look like? ›

Symptoms may include a raspy, hoarse, low, or breathy voice, or trouble swallowing or coughing. Any hoarseness or change in voice that lasts longer than 2 weeks should be brought to the attention of your healthcare provider. Vocal cord disorders caused by abuse or misuse are easily preventable.

Is it good to sing everyday? ›

A daily vocal workout will strengthen your vocal cords, increase your vocal range, and enhance the tone of your voice. You should sing for about thirty minutes each day, with your warm-ups completed first. If you don't already have one, work with your voice coach or consider taking voice lessons in Kansas City.

How should my throat feel when singing? ›

You shouldn't feel tightness, pushing or pain in your throat. You shouldn't have to tense any part of your body to excess. It should feel GOOD.

Why do singers wear an earpiece? ›

These protect performers from being exposed to loud band sounds and shouts from the crowd. Remember that improperly adjusted earbuds and IEMs can still damage your ears – such as when amped to over 85 dB for too long. Properly used, however, and they are perfectly fine for your ears.

Why can't singers drink milk? ›

Milk. When you drink milk, it increases the mucus in the back of the nose and throat. This can make your voice unclear and cause you to cough and clear your throat more often, which can damage your vocal cords.

What should a singer avoid? ›

  • Don't clear your throat too often. Clearing the throat causes the vocal folds to rub together. ...
  • Don't smoke—or if you do, quit. Smoking anything is irritating to your throat—the chemicals, the heat, all of it. ...
  • Don't use medications that are drying.

How do you lubricate your throat for singing? ›

A: The most important thing we can consume to improve vocal health is water. Staying hydrated helps your body produce thin, watery mucus. Your vocal cords vibrate more than 100 times a second when you speak, and they need that mucus to help them stay lubricated. We recommend drinking 64 ounces of water each day.

Should you open your mouth when singing high notes? ›

While it IS an open mouth, it is totally the wrong shape for singing your high notes. When singing in your upper range, you need to open your mouth vertically. You want a vertically open mouth shape with relaxed cheeks, jaw, and neck muscles.

How do you relax your throat when singing high notes? ›

Feeling your voice box between your thumb and first finger, sing the phrase, being careful not to raise the larynx. If you're still feeling any tension in the larynx, try to sing the phrase again with a bit of a “yawny” feeling, as if you're really sleepy. This “yawny” feeling should relax the larynx as you sing.

Does singing everyday improve your voice? ›

The best thing you can do to improve your singing is singing regularly. “Practice makes perfect” is a cliché, but practice really does make you better. Singing every day strengthens your vocal cords, improves your vocal range, and will gradually lead you to a better vocal tone.

What do singers chew before singing? ›

Chewing gum could also help lubricate your vocal cords. Your mucous glands are active when you are chewing and in turn, your vocal cords get lubricated.

What foods make you sing higher? ›

Eating the best foods and knowing what to drink to have a good singing voice can help you improve before you get on stage.
  • Warm water.
  • Herbal teas.
  • Manuka honey.
  • Lemon.
  • Ginger.
  • Cucumber.
  • Watermelon.
  • Salads.

Why are high notes attractive? ›

Turns out, there's a good reason we love those high notes. It's in our DNA. We're hardwired to have a strong response to falsetto in music because of the way our brains process pitch and because of the unique relationship between falsetto and emotion.

Why is my voice shaky on high notes? ›

A wobble is usually a support problem (not enough lower body resistance of the upper and lower abdominals and the lower lumbar muscles to hold back the breath pressure), followed by carrying too much weight too high in the voice (singing with too much “thick vocal cord mass”), lack of focus in the tone, and lack of ...

Why can't I hold a high note? ›

There are a few reasons why some people have difficulty singing high notes. One reason is simply because of the anatomy of the human vocal cords. The vocal cords are two bands of muscle that vibrate when air passes through them, and the pitch of the sound produced is determined by the length and tension of the cords.

Can I train myself to sing higher? ›

Can we increase vocal range? The answer, as you can see, is a resounding yes. Like all things in music, the answer is practice, practice, practice! As a final note, keep in mind that all of these exercises are temporary steps to get you singing higher notes in your range.

Why do I lose my voice when I sing high notes? ›

The reason you have lost your voice is most likely because the vocal folds have become swollen or irritated, which means that they cannot come together properly. If you don't give your vocal chords adequate rest, the damaged areas could become hardened, resulting in nodules.

Who can sing 7 octaves? ›

The seventh octave is the range of notes between C7 and C8. It is easier for very high coloratura sopranos to sing in this octave, but some people who are capable of singing in the bass range (like singers Adam Lopez, Virgo Degan, Nicola Sedda or Dimash Kudaibergen) can do it.

What was the lowest note ever sung? ›

In spring 2012, De profundis inspired a worldwide search for the lowest human voice in existence. The piece features a low E which, at 329 Hertz, is six notes below the lowest note ever previously written for a choral piece (the latter is a B flat featured in Rachmaninov's Vespers / All-Night Vigil).

What note can Mariah Carey hit? ›

What is the highest note Mariah Carey can hit? Mariah Carey can sing at least up to G#7, the second G# above “soprano C” (C6), and nearly 4 octaves above “Middle C” (C4).

How do I stop my voice from straining when I sing? ›

How to Prevent Vocal Strain
  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to keep your throat lubricated, which can help protect your voice. ...
  2. Watch what you consume. ...
  3. Warm up. ...
  4. Practice breathing techniques. ...
  5. Work in a clean environment. ...
  6. Rest your voice. ...
  7. Try voice therapy, if necessary.
Jun 7, 2021

Why does my throat tighten when I sing high notes? ›

As your voice inflects to create attitude or you sing higher notes, the swallow muscles kick in and squeeze the throat. Remember, this is a natural engagement for swallowing. However, this squeezing hurts the vocal cords and makes it impossible to sing in our higher range.

What do singers drink before they sing? ›

The best drinks before singing are warm drinks without caffeine or milk, warm water and herbal teas containing manuka honey, lemon and ginger are ideal. Warm or room-temperature water will hydrate your vocal cords, making them more supple and less liable to injury.


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