How High Should You Sing During Your Vocal Exercises | Avoid Hurting Your Voice During Practice
Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite training tips for singers. It’s one of my core training principles, that I think every singer can benefit from! No matter what type of singing you do or your voice type, make sure to try out this tip to improve your singing and get more out of your practice time. Today’s tip is all about how high you should sing during your vocal exercises to get results! So many singers think that you just sing to the top of every scale or exercise. But that isn’t always the best thing to do. If you’re using a press-and-play program, then this tip will help! So, let’s talk about how to know when you’ve gone high enough!
So, how high is too high to sing during your vocal exercises?
In practice sessions, there’s several scales and syllables that singers use. It doesn’t matter which one of these exercises you’re working on. If the scales ascend and descend at points (which is almost every exercises) that’s all we need for this discussion! You can do these with a live piano or in an app, like VoiceFit (in the works!!). The question is: how do YOU decide what’s too high to sing? Are you someone who just follows the exercise blindly and stops when you’re at the end of your range? Do you just make a decision somewhere along the lines?
Starting now, I want you to begin to get really in tune with yourself. The decision of where to stop singing in your range during your vocal exercises is really about your body. By understanding how your body is feeling and working on any given day, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.
A Few Quick Tells…
One way to determine how high to go is to understand what you’re doing during the exercise. Watch and listen to yourself closely to see if you’re doing any one of these signs. First, is pushing. If you find yourself really pushing to get the top notes out, you’re too high. Another one I hear a lot is a grip and flip. You’re backing off of the top notes then coming back into your full voice for the rest of the downward scale. Both of these options are hard on your voice, and are not helping you make any progress. If you’re scooping into the top note, I’d say you’re okay – it’s a cheat, but a little one that can be helpful sometimes. I can live with that. But the other two signs are definitely telling you that you’ve hit your high point! Once you’ve figured out that this is a point in the exercise that’s difficult, it’s time to hop off.
Introducing the “Hop Off”
The Hop Off helps you become more in tune with your body and helps you decide how high to go so that you’re actually benefitting from the exercises you’re doing each day. Like athletes, you’ll be able to decide when to stop and when to keep going. All it means is that once you’ve hit your comfort zone and gone one step above it, you can let the scale go by until it gets lower. Listen and stay in the exercise – but don’t feel like you have to keep pushing. Stretch your neck, put your shoulders down, and maybe consider lip trilling to the next few steps up. Once the scale goes back down and you can get back in, do it. You’ve hopped back in now! From here, you can finish your exercise.
Hopping off helps you get more in tune with your voice as a singer. Understanding what works for your body is one of the most important things you can do as a singer for yourself and your body. Each day might vary so that’s one of the reasons I love hopping off – you can meet your body and voice where they are that day and still get enough out of your practice sessions to keep improving… all without hurting your voice!