Hitting high notes seems to be the rage these days. Also known as the 'money notes', they can be over-rated, because if the rest of the song is not delivered, good execution of high notes will just be a momentary audience or talent contest judge 'wow', not a career-making vocal performance. That said, if the high notes are missed, flat, or splatted, it will definitely detract from an otherwise solid performance. So...
Here are 9 tips for singing high notes:
1. Make sure you are well hydrated.Your vocal folds need to have a thin -not thick and not too thin- layer of mucous in order to perform well. High notes and dry throat tissues do not dance well together.
2. Warm up your voiceduh. Stiff vocal folds can't work nearly as well as warmed up, flexible and hydrated ones. But do remember... form is everything when doing vocal exercises. You don't want your warm up to become a tighten up!
3. Aim at high notes accuratelyDon't just make a blind stab and hope for the best. Actually know what note you want to hit and intend to hit it.
4. Set them upFor short I call this concept 'Lift before you Sound'. Lift the notes before the highest notes so you'll already be 'at' the high note before you sing it. Do not lift the PITCH making those notes sharp, just lift the PLACEMENT of where you resonate these pen-ultimate notes.
5. Back off breath pressureThe biggest mistake I hear people make when going for a high note is pushing them as hard as they can to try and make them go up. This upsets the balance of breath support/breath control. Back off the pressure, add passion (by the way you articulate the lyric) and you will be amazed at how they can just 'fall up'.
6. Use your handsLearn to 'talk with' and use your hands to widen and stabilize your ribcage so it doesn't collapse, pushing too much uncontrolled air.
7. Form vowels more verticallyOpen your mouth more and allow your jaw to loosely fall and your soft palate to lift.
8. Pull them throughThis concept is core in my Power, Path and Performance vocal training. Much like threading a needle, use articulation to pull instead of push your high notes. It's imagery that works miracles - and conquers vocal strain.
9. Follow throughNow that you have that high note sounded, don't think you're done. Like a baseball player throwing a ball, you need to follow through at the end of the note, instead of just dropping your support and minimizing the importance of the rest of the phrase, or the end of the high note.
Let me know if you try any of this. If you'd like to take an in-office or Skype vocal lesson on it, contact me. I'll be happy to make this personal for you and your voice. Or get your copy of PPP vocal training.