How to Sing High Notes Without Strain
Learn how you can hit high notes easier when singing
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Last Update: July 2022
So you want to know how to sing higher?
In this complete guide we’ll show you how to hit high notes without strain when you’re singing.
We’ll start with some general tips on singing higher without damaging your vocal cords and then get into a couple exercises that’ll help you develop your voice.
We’ll end off with a quick note about improving your vocal range.
BUT REMEMBER THIS: trying to strain and hit high notes incorrectly can be dangerous and lead to injury. You want to be careful and get proper feedback on your technique from professionals in your area.
If you notice any pain at all, stop immediately.
Alright, let’s get to it…
Article Table of Contents
- 3.1 Open Your Damn Mouth
- 3.2 Tilt Your Tongue and Chin Down
- 3.3 Get Enough Air
- 3.4 Hold Your Jaw Open
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Tips on Hitting High Notes Easier
The real key to being able to hit high notes is not in some secret technique that you’re not doing right – it’s really about how well you train your voice, how hard you practice and how you prepare yourself.
So there’s a few things you need to do to really ready yourself to hit high notes without hurting yourself.
If you’re new to singing, make sure you read our guide on how to sing properly first.
There’s a couple non-starters you NEED to know before trying to hit high notes correctly:
- You need to know how to breathe like a pro singer (learn how to breath from your diaphragm)
- You need to be practicing and training your voice regularly
- You need to know your vocal range
Getting Ready to Sing Higher
It’s always a good idea to hydrate yourself before singing – your vocal cords need to be well lubricated to work to their full potential.
It can also help to sip tea to help warm up your throat and vocal cords.
It’ll help a lot.
Just avoid coffee or alcohol because caffeine is not good for your voice. Neither is cold water or other cold drinks.
Add a little honey to hot water/tea to help protect your throat and vocal cords too.
The first thing you need to do is relax your entire body, but especially your facial muscles. Your vocal cords also need to be relaxed for high notes especially.
Here’s how to relax your entire body before singing:
- Start by taking 10 slow, full breaths – in and out. DON’T RUSH THIS. It should be slow.
- Keep breathing slowly and evenly while doing the next steps.
- Relax your shoulders, neck and chest – make sure you’re not tightened/tensed up.
- Roll your shoulders forwards and backwards slowly a couple of times
- Roll your head slowly around to help stretch the neck muscles
- Shake out your arms (and legs) lightly
Now massage your facial muscles to loosen them up:
- Using the palms or heels of your hands press against your cheek bones.
- Start softly rotating your palms in circles while your mouth is slightly hanging open
- Next, put your index fingers on your chin and thumbs right below it
- Massage the bottom of your jaw softly back and forth
- Stretch your eyes, nostrils, and mouth open as wide as you can a couple times
- Pretend to do a really big yawn
OK. Now you’re ready
Related Content: How to Sing Falsetto Properly
Techniques to Sing High Notes
Now, there is a part of singing and being able to hit high notes related to technique and how you do it.
But if your voice isn’t in tip-top condition through practice, relaxation and care, you’re still going to have a hard time hitting those notes.
But here’s what to know about proper technique.
Open Your Damn Mouth
Most new singers learning how to sing higher don’t open their mouth enough. They keep it too closed and small when trying to sing.
That’s not going to work. You need to open your mouth nice and wide when singing.
It’s basic, but it works. Don’t grip tightly with your jaw/throat/vocal cords. Again, relax and open wide (pause).
Related Article – How to Sing Loud
Tilt Your Tongue and Chin Down
This one’s a bit counter-intuitive, but it works.
When most beginners try to strain and hit those really high notes, you notice them start to look upwards as if their reaching for a note that physically higher than them. They start to move their head and chin up.
But that’s not right.
Keep your chin tilted downwards as you go up higher and higher.
Also make sure you aren’t lifting your tongue.
Although you do want the soft palate in your mouth to arch up, you don’t want your chin and tongue moving up.
Don’t look downwards, but keep your chin level or pointed down and press your tongue down in your mouth.
Get Enough Air
There’s not enough you can say about the importance of breathing correctly when you’re singing. Learn to breathe from your diaphragm and learn correct posture when singing. Those two things will help you increase the amount of air you’re able to use and how effectively you’re able to use it with high notes.
The high notes in your vocal range are so much easier to hit cleanly if you’ve got a lot of air and a good standing posture. The increased air and air flow lets your vocal cords work easier. And that’s important when you’re trying to hit a note just right.
Hold Your Jaw Open
Related to the last point, if you want to sing higher you need to keep your jaw open. A closed mouth/jaw will limit your power and control of your voice.
So when you’re singing, make sure you’re keeping your jaw open until you finish the word you’re trying to sing completely.
The best way to do this is practicing vocal exercises. The best vocal exercises come from singing lessons online.
How to REALLY Sing Higher
Now all that stuff we’ve talked about is good and well. But if your voice isn’t well trained, you’re always going to have trouble with high notes.
You have to regularly practice (daily for 30 minutes minimum, 60 minutes maximum).
And you need to practice a few things to improve your ability to hit high pitches properly
- Breath control (diaphragm breathing + breath exercises)
- Vocal Technique (good vocal cord closure, lowered larynx)
- Pitch (being able to sing pitches/notes as close as possible)
- Vocal Stamina (being able to control/use lots of air and sustain sound)
To really get better in those areas, we recommend checking out the 30 Day Singer program – they have great exercises and lessons on all that and more.
Once you’re done all that, you can work on extending/developing your vocal range. That means working on reaching high/low notes that you can’t currently hit without straining.
But that’s an advanced topic (also covered in 30 Day Singer).
Vocal Exercises to Help You Hit Higher Notes Better
There are vocal exercises that can help you sing better. One of those is the “trill” exercise and lip rolls we feature in our free vocal exercises and practice plan.
You can download it below:
Get Our “Level Up Your Voice” Vocal Exercises + Singing Practice Plan
Here’s what you get when you download:
- Easy Access Cheat Sheets – quickly reference our vocal exercise guide and practice plan anywhere, anytime you want.
- Step-By-Step Instructions – we explain exactly how to do each of the vocal exercises, step-by-step.
- A Complete Practice Guide + Timeline – know exactly what part of your voice you should work on, and when/how to move on.
- Additional Singing Tips & Resources – sign up and we’ll keep in touch with our latest guides, tips and resources for a better singing voice!
There’s really only one way to get better at hitting higher notes. You need to improve your technique and specifically your PITCH.
Just keep in mind that most people have a vocal range between one and one-half up to two and a half octaves.
You can train yourself to extend your range, but keep your expectations realistic in relation to YOUR voice.
And that’s that – how to sing high notes without killing your voice. We hope you enjoyed this guide!
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