Do you pull back the volume or intensity on your high notes because you’re afraid they might hurt your voice?
So many singers believe this myth that pulling back on your high notes will help preserve your voice. But in today’s post, we’re busting this myth.
The truth is that pulling back on your high notes in an attempt to “save” your voice is actually causing you bigger vocal problems than it is solving.
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the video below!
Your Fear of High Notes Is Understandable (But Irrational)
You’re not alone in your fear of belting high notes. So many singers find high notes scary. But being afraid is actually worse for your voice.
When our fear response is triggered, we tend to tighten our throat muscles on our high notes. We’ll pull back on volume out of fear that producing that high note will somehow hurt us. But actually, it’s doing these things that can cause it to hurt. So it’s understandable that you would have that fear.
If you’re brand new to singing high notes
High notes, particularly when you aren’t accustomed to singing them, require you to make more sound for those pitches to come out—which is the opposite of what it feels like we should do.
When you’re first learning how to belt, your instinct will be to make less sound on the high notes. Belting is naturally loud, which can feel strange when many of us are taught that being loud is inappropriate.
But the secret is to not hold back. High notes require two things:
Volume and space.
(I want to be abundantly clear that I do not mean the open space like in classical singing. To learn about the myth of singing with an open sound, check out this blog post).
When volume and space are missing from your high notes, it can make your vocal cords feel like there’s pinching or scratching happening in your throat.
Even if you’re doing everything else technically correctly, if you hold back on volume and space, it will hurt your voice.
An Easy Exercise To Belt Beautifully
Here’s an exercise for you to try to sing those high notes with ease:
Imagine you have a water balloon in your hand and you need to throw it to another person on the other side of the room.
You want to throw that water balloon as hard as you can so that it actually reaches the other person.
What does your throw look like?
If you don’t put any power into it, that water balloon probably isn’t going to reach the other person.
But if you picture what a major league baseball player looks like throwing out a pitch and emulating that kind of power, then the water balloon will reach the other person with no problem.
Put your whole body into your imaginary water balloon throw. Putting your whole body into it will get the ball to your target.
Now sing that high note while throwing the imaginary water balloon, and put that same energy into it as you did when emulating the baseball pitcher. Your goal is to get your sound to land across the room, and that powerful throw can help you get there.
I first came up with this exercise while teaching a room full of singers. Upon throwing those imaginary water balloons, those singers discovered that the high note was a breeze. Also, that it didn’t hurt at all. The looks on their faces was that of astonishment.
Don’t pull back
This is just a simple exercise that can help you get out of your head when it comes to singing a high note if you’re someone who tends to pull back out of fear.
High notes are surprisingly quite effortless once you can get over the fear of them, and sing them with proper technique.
What if your high notes were powerful, and beautiful, and gave your audience—and even yourself—goosebumps? This is more than possible for you.
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