The Top 5 Biggest Mistakes Singers Make When Singing High Notes

How to sing high notes is a common question among aspiring singers. There are hundreds and hundreds of resources out there, including books, websites, singing programs and online courses that promise you to do just that – teach you how to sing high notes. With their help you discover what to do and how to do it.

In this post, I decided to put together the most common mistakes singers make when hitting high notes.

Do you make any of these mistakes?

Singing high notes is a learned skill.

Even if you don’t make any of the following mistakes, you need to practice this skill. You need to learn to isolate the deep muscles of the larynx to produce high pitches and at the same time to relax the superficial muscles of the larynx that interfere with the production of high pitches.

To see an infographic that summarizes the information from this blog post, please visit Infographic: Most Common Mistakes When Singing High Notes


Mistake Number 1

Lifting Your Larynx

The deep muscles of the larynx change the length, tension and positions of the vocal cords resulting in change of pitch. The deep muscles are not used very often, unless you are a trained singer. The superficial muscles of the larynx are employed every day and therefore tend to take over in untrained singers when they attempt to sing high notes. However, to produce high pitches, a singer needs to learn to use only the deep muscles of the larynx to avoid strain and tension.

Your larynx should stay relatively stable when producing high notes. Lifting your larynx when you sing high notes (or moving it down when you sing low notes) means that you are engaging superficial muscles of the larynx. Lifting your head, looking up, tilting your head upward or changing your body posture may be another mistake associated with moving your larynx to a high position. Both high and low notes are produced in the same place.


Mistake Number 2

Body Tension

If there is muscle tension anywhere in your body, the chances are that your larynx is also affected. If your shoulders are tense, your larynx is probably squeezed even before you start singing. If your belly is tensed up and not moving fluidly, your breath will also not move freely through the vocal cords. If your jaw is locked, your face muscles will push on the larynx. Everything in our bodies is connected.


Mistake Number 3

Squeezing From the Throat and Singing Too Loud

Squeezing from your throat is not good for you whether you sing low or high notes. If you squeeze your throat, you are causing strain to your vocal cords, which can be very damaging. Singing low or high notes should never hurt.

Inexperienced singers often squeeze because they associate singing of high notes with singing loud, shouting or screaming. But power does not mean squeezing or using force! Power is created by allowing the sound to resonate in an open throat. If you squeeze, there is no space for the sound to resonate. Make your larynx, throat and whole body relax so you can drop the larynx, open the resonating spaces and create a sound without pushing.


Mistake Number 4

No Proper Warm-Up Exercises

Many beginner singers just go for it – they try to sing high notes without any preparation of vocal cords, not realizing that singing high notes is a demanding activity. High notes are often at the top of your comfortable range so singing high notes represents an intensive workout for vocal cords. Warm up by singing in your comfortable range with either 5-note ascending and descending scales or an easy song or an easy part of a song.


Mistake Number 5

You Will Not Believe This One – Fear

The mistake number five is probably the hardest one to eliminate.

Your previous negative experience with singing high notes, will play tricks on you and affect your singing negatively. You will anticipate that something will go wrong – maybe your voice will break, maybe you will not hit the note exactly as it should be, or maybe your voice will be weak. And you know what? It is very likely that one of these “things” will happen. But this kind of thinking will not get you closer to your goal of singing high notes. If your mind set is programmed to fail, you will fail.

Read more about this mistake as well as about some solutions to all the mistakes in this free guide about singing high notes.

You can also read more about singing high notes here: How to Sing High Notes

Singing high notes is a discovery process. Happy singing!