Vocal Ranges | Finding Your Vocal Range

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Finding your vocal range can help you improve your singing career and of course your voice! When learning about your vocal range there are a few things you need to know and we will start with the basics.

The vocal range of a singer refers to the number of octaves a singer is able to sing and the interval between the notes. To find your vocal range it is best to start by doing your traditional warm-ups as it helps loosen your vocal cords and the flexibility of your voice.

Finding your vocal range

Always remember to warm up your voice through vocal exercises, water and rest. When finding your vocal range, water and rest will keep your voice well rested and hydrated. Very important.

Finding your vocal range with an instrument

Finding your vocal range with an instrument can be a bit easier to some people. By sitting down with a keyboard or guitar simply sing a note that you feel most comfortable with. Then start singing your scales. You are already halfway to finding your vocal range. Take note of the lowest note you are able to produce, even if it sounds terrible.

Through warm-ups and practice not only will you find your vocal range but over time it will keep improving. However, if you have to squeal or force your voice it does not count and can hurt your vocal cords.

Remember your posture when singing, it keeps your airway clearer and improves your singing.

Finding your vocal range without an instrument

This can be tricky. Of course, you always have the option of a friend or singing teacher with you or even a mobile app to help with your pitch but it would be recommended to have an instrument nearby. When finding your vocal range, having someone you trust can be helpful. Remember no screaming.

Environments such as clubs, gigs or even singing too loudly can damage your voice. So enjoy yourself but think of the effects it can have!

Vocal ranges

Traditionally when finding your vocal range, we start by finding the lower note as this produces less tension in our vocal cords and naturally warms up your voice while working our way to the higher notes. The more you know!

How to expand vocal range lower and higher 

Your personal pitch is dictated by the frequency of the vibration and resonance in your vocal folds. Males average frequency is a lot lower, which makes their voice lower. Female frequency is higher, but not as high as children who tend to have the highest voices. If you like to understand the science behind your singing, it can help to read up on vocal science.  

To expand your vocal range lower, work your way down to the lowest note you are able to produce, even if it sounds terrible. Then work your way to the highest note you can manage. Take it slowly and gently. It should be easy and supported by the breath at all times.  

The golden rule here is not to strain. It’s about stretching and limbering your voice. Push too hard or force the sound and you’ll risk hurting your vocal cords. Make sure your core and diaphragm are doing all the hard work – not your throat. 

If you don’t already own an instrument, it can be worth investing in a cheap one. Scales are easier and more enjoyable if you’re accompanied – and you can multitask by learning to play some notes at the same time as developing your singing.  You could even use a free online piano.

When learning how to improve vocal range having someone you trust can be helpful. Perhaps consider getting a vocal coach to work with you. They can keep you on the right track and give feedback. Hitting a note and hitting a note well, are not one and the same. It can be hard to be objective. So enlist an honest friend, family member or record yourself, to gauge whether you sound pleasant.

Choosing a song for your vocal range

Scales are not the only route to vocal flexibility. They are an important element of the base work and as tedious, as it may seem, a mainstay of the singer’s practice. Always warm up your voice and incorporate some scales to help extend that range at the same time. But, you can add in some songs to your practice time to gently stretch your vocal cords.  

Once you have found your vocal range it is important to find the correct song to suit your voice.  Try not to go straight for the vocal runs like Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé!

Songs to expand vocal range 

These songs will not be the same as your performance pieces. Once you have figured out how to improve vocal range it is important to find the correct song to suit your voice. Auditions and gigs are not the time to try things like this out. Stay within your comfort zone in terms of the notes. Then in private, you can work toward the more challenging pieces. Don’t make your mistakes in public.   

Find a song which suits you and that you are familiar with. Sing it all the way to the end and find the highest note and lowest. If this is one which you’d like to sing in front of an audience (live or recorded) and you have trouble with the higher note, simply adjust your first note to a lower pitch and the other way round if having trouble with the lower note. 

Try writing out the lyrics, even if you know them off by heart, and mark down which notes had caused you problems, to help figure out which key you need. 

When you want to have some fun and really get to work, pick a song just slightly out of your range – one or two notes higher or lower than is comfortable and preferably without large intervals. The song then becomes your target goal. Work toward nailing it, using scales in the range you’re aiming for and practising it over and over.