Thursday, June 05, 2014

Hitting the Right Notes : The Myth about the elusive High Notes~!

A vocal coach for about 7 years now, the concern I most often get from students on why they want to learn singing, is that they're unable to hit the high notes

With the music scene evolving continuously, songs today seem to be geared towards the higher ranges, making it much more difficult for the average guy or girl to sing.

The epitome of high notes in today's pop singing
With the growing popularity of songs from the high-note maestros such as Bruno Mars, Demi Lovato, Gary Cao Ge or basically the whole Korean singers' roster, it's no wonder we see many individuals struggling when singing their favourite tunes. 

Whether it's for karaoke or for competitions,why is there a current obsession with being able to hit the high notes? 

Having had the opportunity to judge numerous competitions and work with several producers over the years, it's clear that tone quality still remains one of the most important aspect in being regarded as a good singer. 

Many try to impress with high notes, but tend to forget that singing those notes often leads to a thinner, sharper voice, which often sounds uncomfortable if done wrongly. 

Now now, we aren't talking about hitting the high notes with a falsetto or head voice, but with a tone that sounds real to the listener - yes, that kind that most people end up struggling at! 

So, does being able to hit higher equate to being a better vocalist? It does sound impressive if executed well, but you run the risk of losing the steadiness in your voice. 

Here are two examples of singers that are less about high notes, focusing on delivery and feel instead:

However, focusing only on a beautiful tone alone does not equate you as good vocalist either. In today's day and age, it is important to showcase some form of skill level that sets you apart from the others.   

Not so easy? There are ways however, that you can overcome this problem with correct training and practice methods. 

While everyone's vocal range is rather fixed based on their vocal cords, many beginners, and sometimes even veteran singers do not know how to further increase their range the right way. 

If high notes are ultimately what you want to work towards, here are 4 things you can and should take note of when trying !

1) It should not be Painful / Strained
Hitting high notes the right way is actually a lot easier than most people think. However, many people tend to use the most inefficient method towards achieving them. 

I've seen many students who were previously taught to simply told to squeeze or shout their way up into the right pitch, but that leaves long term damages, and builds almost permanent bad habits. 

As a result, they suffer tears and swelling in their cords extremely easily. 

2) It takes Time, Patience and Practice
Building the correct musculature for high notes takes effort and time. It's like building muscles for any other part of your body. You'll need time to gain more control over it, so they don't react negatively to a more challenging exercise. 

I've had students who expect to go from bassy singers to hitting Beyonce-like notes in 4 sessions, and that rarely ever happens. 

But with adequate guidance and training, you can definitely see big improvements in the quality and skill level of your sound. 

Relax and understand what isn't working for you. Work on those, and get control of your voice one skill at a time. 

3) Know your Singing Limits
Before you know what's your actual range, don't expect yourself to reach the high notes via shouting. 

For beginners, don't be embarrassed to lower the keys of songs that you are currently unable to hit. You'll be doing your voice a much bigger favour when you try to stretch your range slowly rather than screaming your way to it. 

In time... in time.
Not even many other professional singers can reach Bruno Mars' or Demi Lovato's range. Work on building tonal quality and other skills while slowly but surely expanding your range!

4) Get Good Guidance to check your Progress
A good teacher / mentor goes a long way in helping you achieve what you set out to do. It's important to work with someone you can trust your voice with, understands your concerns and you feel comfortable with! 

A good teacher that pushes you just enough so you can see the challenge you have to overcome, and is honest in their assessment with your progress!

Good guidance can very definitely help build a solid healthy foundation before your voice picks up permanent bad habits, that prevent you from singing well for good. 

I've had the privilege of working with some of the best mentors throughout the years who are more than willing to help guide and shape my perception of singing and teaching singing. 


Ultimately, high notes are important, but not the be-all-end-all to have good singing. In fact, high notes are part of like an expanded bonus you'll gain with sound and progressive practice. 

There are a million and one other elements you can and have to work on beyond high notes, and do try focusing on them if you currently have problems!

Before I sign off, here's an awesome video you might not have seen that you can / should check out! Highlighting a great balance between all important vocal elements, it's currently my song of the moment!

Have more questions about singing, dancing, or anything else under the sun that you would like our team of writers to talk about? Simply Leave us a message or e-mail to! Enjoy!

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