This is probably the most common issue I see in beginner or even experienced singers. When I’m teaching a lesson and practicing scales with my students, I can see how they start becoming anxious and stare at the notes that I play on my keyboard.
Well, that’s actually the first problem! You are probably used to the expression “It’s all in your mind”, and in this case it also applies. When you believe that the notes are too high for you, that’s what your mind is telling you. And guess what, your mind is what controls all of your movements and therefore it controls how your voice works as well. So if that’s what you are telling your mind, that’s what your mind is going to tell your body to do. It tells it “Hey stop, you can’t reach that note”. And then the body reacts to that and you can notice how your throat closes.
So that’s the first thing, when you are practicing your scales or when you are practicing your song, sing each note as it goes. Don’t spend the whole time thinking about the difficult notes, be present in each sound. That’s how you will enjoy your singing, otherwise it would feel more like torture!
Another thing that I have noticed in many of my students is that they start to lift the upper body when they start singing higher notes. That is first of all…useless. Not only doesn’t it help you reach the notes you want, it actually does the opposite and affects your whole singing. This is because once you imagine your high notes are actually “high”you start tensing your upper body. As a result of this, your shoulders and neck are tensed and guess what, there is where your primary voice sound is produced. It also prevents you from having a relaxed and deep breath. So, we don’t want this to happen!
Those are the main two problems which prevent you from singing your high notes freely. Then of course, you still have to train your upper register properly. But really, the first step is to allow the body to be aware of that. In the next post I will give you exercises to start training your upper register and expand your range.
Image by Kathleen Tyler Conklin