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Reach That Elusive High Note

Re-think the way you approach notes at the top of your range –says Simone Niles

Do you ever find yourself striving to reach notes in your upper range that are slightly outside of your comfort zone?

These notes can come out flat or have an undesirable tone.

At the same time you may be lifting your head too high, which can create constriction.

Today I want to introduce you to a way of ‘tricking’ your body into approaching that high note differently.

A New Way of Thinking

Try singing some ascending scales, but rather than thinking that you are moving up in your range, think of moving forward.

In other words, picture a pathway rather than a staircase.

Involve your body in this as well: gradually extend an arm forward as you sing each note and focus your eyes forward and not upward.

Technically, this ‘trick’ involves changing the position of the larynx when moving up in range.

Normally your larynx moves up as you sing higher and down as you sing lower.

So what you want to do is lower the larynx slightly as you are approaching that note which is just out of your comfort zone.

Regardless of your song choice, once you find yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone (range wise) you can place the note forward and slightly lower the larynx.

Try This

Sing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’.

Sing the first line through and look and point upward on the movement between ‘Some’ and ‘Where’ (the octave).

Now, try singing this same line as we have discussed, looking and pointing forward instead.

Remember to get your body involved!

This simple exercise can positively impact many of the trouble spots that occur in your music.

Play, learn and grow!

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vid

Jessica Bredeweg – Blue (Cover)

Jessica, you have such a lovely tone. You moved really well across your range and your yodels were done with good control. Try to sustain your breath until the ends of your phrases so you do not lose support and subsequently a less controlled tone. You sang this song with ease – it would be good to show this visually as well. Taking your hand away from the mic stand would encourage you to use gestures to help you express the song even better. You can sing really well; be confident with this and you will transform your performance.

-Simone Niles

Simone Niles is a leading vocal and performance coach and an author on the specialty of performance enhancement. She has a busy private teaching practice in London and also teaches at The Institute of Contemporary Music, where she is MD of the college’s vocal ensemble. Her book “Coaching for Performance Excellence”, gives artists new and innovative ways to achieve performance excellence and is available from her website.
Coaching Artistry
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This article has been especially adapted for VoiceCouncil Magazine from Simone’s book, “Coaching For Performance Excellence”. www.coachingartistry.com