Tips for singing high notes with great tone quality

Tips for singing high notes with great tone quality

Singing high notes with accurate pitch and tone quality is a challenging skill for most vocalists. Singing well in the extremes of your natural range requires a careful approach and more energy and mechanics than singing in your comfortable middle range, but with a few simple tricks of the trade, you can approach and sustain high pitches with greater ease and confidence.

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Why voice classification isn't that important

Why voice classification isn't that important

One of the most common questions beginning singers ask is, “what type of voice do I have, soprano or alto? Tenor or bass?” It’s easy to understand the urgency of this question, as new singers are anxious to learn about the unique strengths of their instrument, plus they want to be able to choose roles and songs that will fit with their voice type. Much to their dismay, I usually answer this question by saying that it’s not as important as they think, and that I don’t like using strict labels in vocal instruction. I explain that voice type is a convention used mostly in choral and opera music, and modern singers would be smarter to focus their attention on creating a versatile, consistent, flexible voice that can sing a wide variety of music, rather than stick themselves into a box and sing material written exclusively for their type.

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Singing: it’s more complicated than it looks!

Singing: it’s more complicated than it looks!

As a vocal instructor I have the pleasure of working with many new students who have never studied voice before, and sometimes have never studied instrumental music either. One of the comments I consistently hear from them is, “wow! I never realized how many things singers are doing all at once, while they’re performing!” Indeed. Singing is a very complex art, but our job as performers is to make it look easy and natural. It appears we are succeeding, as most amateur singers are surprised by how much is demanded of them when they start taking their songs to the next level.


For those unaware of the nuances happening behind the scenes during a vocal performance, or for those of us who are aware and just want to be appreciated for our capacity to handle so many elements simultaneously, here is a list of what singers normally do during a performance:

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Selecting the best songs for your voice

Selecting the best songs for your voice

When you have an upcoming recital or audition, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what song you’ll sing for this performance opportunity. The song you select will make a big impact on how you prepare and how you’ll maximize showing off your voice within the particular setting. Here are a few things to consider when you’re making your choice:

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Simple ways to create magnetic stage presence

Simple ways to create magnetic stage presence

You’ve learned your song, memorized it, planned your breath marks, and refined your vocal tone quality. When you sing it, your song sounds just amazing. Does that mean you are you ready to perform it? NO! Live vocal performances aren’t complete until you’ve added the visual element - how you look while you’re singing. Most audiences get just as much out of watching a singer as they do listening, which is why live concerts continue to be popular even though we’ve had the technology to record music for a very long time. The visual elements of a performance, known as stage presence, are a critical part of what takes a singer from good to great.

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Singer's stance: the basics of performance posture

Singer's stance: the basics of performance posture

As an actor or singer, your instrument lives within you, inside the container of your body; therefore how you align your body while performing will substantially affect how well your vocal instrument is able to function. For maximum power, stamina and support, adopt a posture called Singer’s Stance (or Actor’s Stance), which is based largely off of yoga and effective ready-position posture for most sports. If you are familiar with mountain pose in yoga, you’ll recognize a lot of the elements of this stance.

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