There are a couple of exercises that help working the high notes for singing and all of them seem to "work", but I wanted to ask if anyone can explain what is the difference between them and what would be a preferred exercise:

  1. Nasty/Whiny "NAYS" - This exercise seems to help "compress" the cords when going up the scale, but there seems to be some point where I can't get any note out anymore without straining, so I'd say this exercise works, but on a limited range.

  2. "Koo" - The "K" consonant helps bring the cord together, and when going up the scale, its without straining or pushing and letting the "K" connect the cords. When I do this exercise, even if I flip to falsetto at some point, because of the "K" I am able to go way higher than I could with the "NAY" exercise without straining, but I'm not sure if the tone produced is a good one.

  3. "Gee" - Its basically the same idea as the "Koo", going up the scale without pushing or straining and letting the "G" connect the cords, again same result.

From what I understood, many prefer using the "NAYS" because they are supposed to be "safer" for the cords than using hard consonants such as "K" or "G" but I would love if anyone can give some insights on the difference between them, and which one is the preferred one to use?

1 Answer 1


Nasally "NAY" exercises are used predominantly to help you keep the sound "bright" or forward, to counter a "wooly" sound often found in many singers. I'm not familiar with it's use to specifically to increase range. That being said, keeping the voice "spinning" and forward is a necessity for ensuring notes in the higher part of your range are sung safely and sound good without being too much work. But that's more about airflow than being specifically "nasal" in tone. Too much nasality isn't pleasing to listen to and can be hard on the voice as well as it can encourage you to sing from your throat instead of singing with full breath pressure from your lower abdominals and ribs.

Putting a particularly wet Kh or T(hhh) in front of a note does a number of things, both are "stops", occurring in the mouth, so it often will naturally facilitate airflow down at the larynx. The breathy "h" tail to a wet K or T also gets air flowing right away. Faster airflow is essential for higher notes to work well.

I'd recommend using T instead of K to initiate your exercise #2 as it doesn't cause your tongue to bunch up and throat to close as much as with a K or a G (and depending on how you pronounce your K or G, both can be very close to each other)

For #1, nasality in the extremes of your range can be hard on your voice. Don't push it too much.

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