How to Hit High Notes as a Singer

How to Hit High Notes as a Singer: tips to work on exercises and songs with high notes from vocal coach and VoiceFit founder Tamara Beatty

As a coach, a big focus for most singers is hitting the high notes. Everyone loves these notes – they help us express emotions, they help us to bring what’s inside out, and it feels really good when we hit them! But sometimes, hitting those high notes isn’t as easy as it seems and it can become really frustrating. So today, I’m sharing my tips to help you hit those high notes as a singer. These are tried and true methods from my work as a voice coach, so hit “play” on this week’s video and let’s get practicing.

How Are You Reaching Your High Notes?

The first thing to think about is HOW you’re currently trying to reach your high notes. One of the first thoughts you might have as a singer is that you want to be in chest voice. Why is chest voice helpful? Well, it helps us to convey many emotions – especially anger, frustration, and passion! Different registers and tone qualities help us convey messages in different ways. Another way to hit your high note is by using your mix (or some people say mixed) voice. This is especially helpful for reaching those tones that you can’t quite get in chest voice. Using your ‘mix’ voice can also be a healthier way to hit your high notes. A third way that you can go about hitting your high notes is by using your head voice. Basically, when you’re trying to reach high notes, you’ve likely used one or more of these three ways to get there. So how do you decide which one to use (chest, mix, or head)?

Approaching a High Note

Whether you’re singing a song or working through exercises, you’re going to come across a high note. Many singers don’t think about when they’ll make the transition to different parts of their voice. Unless you’re hitting the high notes with no issues at all, and you’re able to just ‘feel’ and then the high notes work, I recommend actually pre-planning when you’re shifting between your voice registers. When we start to sing and can’t hit those notes in our vocal registers, the reality is that if we want to think less, we need to do something to allow that to happen. Essentially, we need to build more strength (which comes with time!). It’s definitely important to be working on this skill BUT, in the meantime, it’s also very helpful develop a plan for your exercises or songs to hit those high notes.

Exercises or Songs?

With exercises, it’s super straight forward – especially scales. You can simply decide which notes you need (or want) to change from chest voice to head voice or mix voice. Nice and simple. This makes the transition between your registers much more seamless. Remember to keep the volume the same from the bottom to the top of your scale or exercises, even as you transition between voice parts. With songs, it’s similar. You want to decide (in advance of a performance) which lyrics you will switch registers on. Print out your lyrics, find the notes that are a little ‘iffy’ and decide if you will sing those words (or sing certain syllables of those words) in chest voice, mix voice, or head voice. Make sure you can actually DO what you’re aiming to do. If you really want to sing the high note of your chorus (let’s say it’s the word ‘love’) in chest voice – but it’s a bit high in your voice, you can actually decide to do it in mix or head voice. Just for now, until the strength you are building in the background allows you to sing it the way you want.

When it comes down to it, hitting the high notes is really about having a plan in place. You need to know what to expect for your voice and in your voice to make it happen. Have a plan, execute it, and the whole process will feel much better!  Don’t forget to be building those skills in the background during this process – but a plan can seriously make a huge difference.

Watch this week’s videos for more exercises!

I have designed a 6 Week Training Program to build your vocal foundation! Check out Foundations Training to gain foundational strength in 6 key areas of your voice. By working on your voice foundations, you’ll be able to build a stronger voice, reduce vocal fatigue, and so much more!

Ready to take your voice training to the next level?