Vocal Help: The 5 Necessities For Every Songwriter — #1, Singing Range

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Vocal Help: The 5 Necessities For Every Songwriter

Necessity #1: SINGING RANGE

When songwriters have a limited singing range, they have a limited perspective of what they can really write.

“Hey Jude” would’ve never been written by many songwriters today because they can’t picture themselves singing a full octave and a half–which happens to be the exact range of the star-spangled banner- and most singers, who are often songwriters as well, do not possess enough range to perform this well. This is the length of the average scale that I use for my students – and many of them can comfortably sing in 3 to 4 connected octaves.


Singers will rarely take melodic chances if they know they are gonna feel embarrassed for even trying.

There are a number of exercises that I use to extend vocal range and they work rapidly. Here are two. Watch the video for demonstrations.

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Lip Roll / Lip Trill

This exercise, which is sometimes also referred to as “the lip bubble” has gained some notoriety. This particular exercise extends the range because it reduces the strain that is normally concomitant of climbing towards the high notes of a scale.

Vocal Fry

Vocal Fry is another very simple exercise; It’s that groggy voice that Clinton impersonators would use to denote too tired or overly relaxed voice. When we wake up, we may speak with a groggy voice. We aren’t rebuked for not having a clear tone, rather we accept this as our sound. Our voices are not warmed up. This makes it simple to singing high, because you do not need to engage the full amount of musculature to sing high. Rather, you need to reduce the amount of weight against your vocal cords.

Meaning: Reduce the pressure on the voice from bottom to top. But the tone does not have to feel thin. It will always sound thicker and fuller to the listener than it feels in your throat. This is the illusion that you’re giving more weight to your sound than what the listener hears. It’s the process of leaning on resonance rather than on musculature.

This approach to high notes will produce a more commercial tone. These are only a few simple tips (View More), but just like pushups and running are great exercises for the body, lip rolls and vocal fry are great to release the high voice . . .   ultimately expanding the possibilities within your writing.


Brett Manning is a world-renowned vocal coach in Nashville, TN. He is the author of the best-selling vocal training program, Singing Success.For more information about Brett’s singing programs, before & afters, or to read hundreds of testimonials, visit: www.SingingSuccess.com

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