As professional entertainers, we in Mannequin like to contribute anything we can to our community. In that spirit here is a blog from the Denver Music Institute about helping baritones to grow their range!
If you are reading this, you are likely a baritone who is tired of blowing out your voice singing higher than an F or G… or some similar range. You might be singing primarily in your chest voice… using the throat to texture your vocals. Then, when it’s time to cross up into tenor notes, you just push harder and louder, sometimes hitting your notes powerfully and cleanly while other times screeching out unwelcome sounds or even hearing your voice “crack”. Using your head voice will eliminate the screeching and cracking and give you the control you want. Then, compressing your air can provide that texture you seek. Read more below…
- Starting A Band, 13 Common Pitfalls Part 1
- A Career In Music, Can You Have One
- Baritones – Grow Your Range
How to Sing High Notes For Baritones
3 RULES FOR SINGING HIGH NOTES WITHOUT STRAINING
THE NUMBER ONE RULE
…is to relax. Focus on relaxing your head and neck. One of the best tips I got was from Aubrie Hamrick of Denver Music Institute, who taught me to imagine my head was like a bobble head. Balanced and effortlessly held over my neck… loose. This brought my attention to relaxing the rest of my body, except for my core/diaphragm, of course. You have to pack that air tight and compress it so you’ll be a little tense in the core:)
But relax the rest of your body, your voice components and your mind! In my case… I couldn’t sing higher than the baritone’s top D#-F. That was in the 90’s. That’s strange to me as now I’m able to sing almost an octave higher than that without going into head voice (I now top at tenor high C and cross to head voice on C# when belting)… but back then I couldn’t do any of this. However, I was convinced I could sing tenor. I just couldn’t crack the code.
TRYING TO HARD
The biggest nail in my coffin during live shows was when I would run short on breath. When this happened, my go-to physical response was to just sing louder. Push harder. Yell. With lessons from Aubrie Hamrick and Chris Mercer, plus a great deal of stage time to work through my bodies confusion in learning to sing a new way, I began to finally tackle relaxing. I still struggle with it sometimes, it’s an ongoing process to reprogram my muscles and body.
I spent what must have been two years just learning to sing a G with consistency and control! That was a very tough time for me, but when I had my next break through, the dominoes began to fall. That was when I learned to compress my air and place the note in my mask while letting it resonate in a lifted and spacious soft pallet.
THE NUMBER TWO RULE
SING OVER THE PENCIL! Chris Mercer had me put a pencil in my teeth and then told me he wanted all of the notes I sang to flow over the pencil. Not from my throat. I had NEVER been so aware of my soft pallet or vowel sounds. Keeping the note over the pencil, even low notes, made going higher easier!
Also, during this time, we noticed I had a real issue with certain consonants pulling the note back into my throat. Specifically “Guh” and “Kuh” sounds. When I would go back into my throat, muscle memory would keep me there.
I needed new muscle memory. And that only comes with fearlessly trying to open up and major repetition and practice!
THE NUMBER THREE RULE
Take lessons from multiple teachers. Each teacher will hear or see something different. It won’t all be gold, but you’ll learn more than if you just see one coach. I also used youtube videos and audio files and I recorded myself singing in the car all the time and then listened back to hear bad placement or other issues I can work on. Gradually, I am becoming more and more aware of how to control the shape of a vowel while controlling the placement of it. I am even beginning to hear it more clearly in others.
I hope this helps! Let us know your tips. What has worked for you. What are the resources online or offline that you found most helpful. These tips work for me, but there might be someone reading our blog who could use more or different advice! Email me directly at: [email protected]
Also, if you’d like lessons, call Mannequin’s music school, the Denver Music Institute at 303-788-0303!
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