How to Expand Your Vocal Range

Learn how to expand your vocal range from vocal coach Cari Cole in this Howcast singing tutorial.

Hi I’m Cari Cole. I’m a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert. And I help artist find their voice, craft their music, and create successful music careers. I’ve worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole, I’ve worked with the band Journey. I’m going to teach you how to be a better singer and performer

So, I’m going to give you a tip or two for how to expand your vocal range. Vocal range is basically expanded and increased by vocalizing more, by studying, by training, but the principal behind is that there is an overtone series in the voice and when the voice is aligned physically more correctly, because singing is a very physical event, it’s a coordination of air and muscle, and you must master the breath and you must master your alignment. I always talk a lot about alignment, your chest has to be up, your chin has to be down, your head has to be back. If you are jutting forward when you are singing, you’re going to be singing from these muscles and you really need to, in order to get that column of air and that flow of breath, your chin needs to be down and your head needs to be back. So alignment is a very important part of this. So the vocal range gets expanded when the overtone series starts to ring. So if I sing and I sing without an open mouth and a position that is going to compromise the sound of my voice, it’s going to sound slightly flat. So if I sing ahh (vocalizing a note, showing how sound changes when her mouth is open and opened wider and then closed). So those, you just heard a little bit of what overtones are.

Overtones is when the voice is more open and aligned correctly, you’re going to get the voice to ring and therefore more overtones are going to ring. And that’s what creates power in the voice and tone in the voice but it also creates range. So, like my voice teacher when I was training, when I was a student, use to tell me is that the overtones in the middle of the voice are what create the higher notes and the lower notes. So a lot of people mistakenly just go to the high notes to try and increase range or go to the low notes to try and push that lower register. That initially works and that’s good, you need to sing and you need to use your voice but ultimately what expands your range is getting really good tone in the middle of your voice, in the meatier part of your voice and that’s also where some of the weaker points are. So you have to really work on managing that break area, going from chest to head for girls or going from chest voice to falsetto for guys. That is a big part of expanding the range, is fixing that break area. A lot of times we talk about that like singing underneath the door, that you want to slip your voice underneath the door because you need compression. Anytime you’re going higher or anytime you’re going through that passage in the voice. So, what a lot of people will do as they’re going higher and I’m talking about the break area because this is a part of range, so what a lot of people will do, ahh (vocalizing from low to high pitch) and they get really breathy on the top because they have no compression and what we want to do is ahh (vocalizing from low to high pitch and low again, showing compression in the diaphragm not in the chest) so we can go flawlessly through those register shifts and that’s a big part of controlling the range.