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I am just starting to learn singing high notes. I often tried to sing songs that have notes I could not comfortably reach. After warming up, I quickly want to sing these songs and record my singing to know whether I sound good or not.

My question is: is this an OK training method? Should I separately try to reach the note on its own, rather than reach it while singing a song containing the note? Or if I have to do both, which one needs to come first?

  • Learning both to reach a high note and to hit the pitch accurately will happen much faster in a dedicated training session than "on the fly" in the middle of a tune. Learning to sing intervals, similar. – Carl Witthoft Aug 1 '18 at 11:37
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High notes "head voice" start at most people around E4 (on guitar is the first string). Without a vocal coach, It is difficult to establish a stable head voice. It's like learning an instrument or going to a gym you need proper exercises to develop noticeably.

To answer your questions:

1) I think you can develop headvoice and chestvoice kind of independently, then connect the two. You must think in months in terms of development, not weeks or days.

I think you definitely need targeted exercises to improve. If you do not have the money to go to a GOOD vocal coach you might join a local choir I'm sure you can find educated and helpful people there. I actually attend one, and there are helpful men who otherwise would teach me for rather a massive fee if we did not know each other from the choir.

2) Sing, whatever you like and can. It gives you different skills than pure vocal practice, but it has the danger of stabilising bad habbits. So when singing, try to stay in your comfort zone. This means that you will certainly crack etc. if you try to sing difficult songs. It's OK when practising but you will not want to share it on the net.

3) Singing methods and the science behind it is fairly new. There are schools like Bel Canto ( an old Italian but still regarded an excellent one) or SLS etc.

Only a singing teacher can navigate through this. You can see loads of material on YT if you type in some keywords, that might help in the first steps, but consider the time you spend with searching and the money you can earn during the same time or (study the same time) - it's not worth ferreting around finding the ultimate source. I hope this might have helped.

Have fun!

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    Nice tips, but I don't think you addressed the question, which is whether to practice high notes separately from songs. – coconochao Jul 31 '18 at 19:48
  • Re. the first paragraph: not sure I would agree that you absolutely need a coach to learn an instrument. I've taught myself to play electric guitar to a reasonable level (imo), with no coaching whatsoever and not much in the way of 'proper exercises'. – Time4Tea Jul 31 '18 at 20:02
  • Although, I probably would have gotten there faster with a coach :-) – Time4Tea Jul 31 '18 at 20:07
  • Instruments are different from singing. Simply put, your singing apparatus is a very complicated instrument. I aggree, you can get quite far with guitar, especially with loads of superrior staff on youtube – TwoFiveOne Aug 10 '18 at 15:11
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Disclaimer: I'm not a vocal coach, I'm just going to answer based on my own experience. If you are trying to increase your range without a vocal coach, then it is at your own risk.

Firstly, if you can afford it, hire a vocal coach, as that is almost certainly the most effective/safest way to increase your singing range. That is the perfect-world solution.

Having said that, I've been self-training to sing the lead vocal on Alice in Chains (metal band) for the past 3-4 months, as I don't have the money for a vocal coach. When I started, many of the highest notes were outside my comfortable range (some of them still are); however, my voice has been getting stronger and I've definitely seen some improvement in my range over that time.

I haven't been doing a lot of scales (although I do make sure I warm up properly first). Mostly, I've been practicing by singing the songs. I sat down and ranked the songs in order of pitch difficulty and started with the lower ones, which were comfortably within my range. Then, I moved on to some of the ones that were a little bit outside my range and worked my way up gradually, once I became more comfortable with those.

It's a slow process and it shouldn't be rushed. Be very careful and stop/take a break, if you feel any pain or your throat starts feeling sore.

I'm sure that doing scales to practice and increase your range wouldn't hurt. Although, the impression I get personally is that the main thing is to be exposing your voice to those higher notes on a regular basis. If you're doing that then your range should improve gradually over time. I think it's quite similar in a sense to body-building (your voice is a muscle, right?) - it's possible to build muscles by working in a gym doing exercises with a personal trainer, or you can do it by hauling bricks on a building site all day. The end result in both cases is muscles (unless you take it too far and injure yourself). So, I think it's important to try different things and find a method of training that works best for you.

In anticipation of some people not liking this post, because I am advocating trying to increase singing range without a vocal coach: The thing is, it's not a perfect world and many people simply can't afford it. So, for those in that situation, the only realistic choices are to either take the risk of self-training, or not sing. Personally, I'm not happy with the second option and want to give some advice for others who might be in a similar situation.

(I should probably also mention that I did quiet a lot of choral singing at school when I was younger, so I wasn't coming at this completely 'cold')

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