How To Hit The High Notes

Lisa Witt  /  UPDATED Feb 22, 2022

“Am I afraid of the high notes? Of course, I am afraid, what sane man is not?” ~Luciano Pavarotti

Even Pavarotti was afraid.

That should tell you something about your own anxiety when it comes to approaching those notes at the very edge of your range (or beyond).

But hitting those high notes is also one of the most impressive things you can do as a singer. So today, Lisa is here with her personal vocal coach, Darcy D, to show you how you can expand your range and hit those high notes.

But first things first…

You need to be warmed up!

This should go without saying, but it’s probably the most important thing. If you’re not warmed up, you’re just making things much more difficult and also risking damage.

Warming up your voice should become a non-negotiable as part of your singing routine. And it doesn’t have to take long.

Here’s a simple routine you can do every day:

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to approach those high notes.

And there’s one thing that will change everything…

It’s ALL about the vowels

The first thing to do is figure out the vowel sounds for those high notes. In the example in the lesson, the first note word is “If”, which has an “IH” vowel sound.

So Darcy breaks that down into the word “BIP” because it uses that sound. Then Lisa runs through some scales up and down approaching the high note using that sound.

After practicing using the “IH” sound, Lisa moves on to the “AH” sound. Darcy breaks that down into the world “BAP” and repeats the same exercise.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of vowels when it comes to improving your range and voice. It’s often referred to as the “Singer’s Secret Weapon” and you can find an entire lesson on it in the Singing Starter Kit course.

Once you have the vowel sounds, there are still some other exercises you can do to hit those high notes with ease.

The Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract (SOVT) exercise

Hard word, easy exercise.

SOVT exercises simply mean that you are partially restricting the space at your mouth. Because that space is restricted, some of the air well return back to the vocal cords, which helps them vibrate.

That’s the science, and honestly, it’s not as important as actually doing the exercise.

An easier way to think of this is by calling it the “Puffy Cheeks” exercise.

Puff up your cheeks so you only allow a little bit of air coming out. Then sing the phrase of the song using your puffy cheeks.

It’ll feel silly, but it will you balance and find the notes you’re looking for.

But that’s just the notes. There’s one other critical step that will help you hit those notes…

Make the song your own!

This might sound silly. After all, most of the songs you sing will have been written and performed by other people. But you need to put on your “actor’s hat” and really get to the emotion of the song.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the song about?
  2. What does it mean to you?
  3. How does it make you feel?
  4. How do you look when you feel that way?

By doing this, you’ll step into the song and make it your own. And that’s all you can do.

You are not the artist who performed it, and that’s ok!

The power of a coach

This lesson is a unique insight into how a vocal coach can help guide a singer to greater depth and range of performance.

Darcy is Lisa’s coach, but he could be yours too!

Because Darcy and Lisa are BOTH coaches inside the Singeo membership. Darcy has an entire course on the Science of Singing, which breaks down the anatomy of your voice. Because when you understand how something works, you can use it better.

So if you’d like to see what’s possible with a singing coach, give Singeo a try. And enjoy hitting those high notes!