How To Sing High Notes Using The Playful "E-Stretch"

One aspect of singing that many singers ask about is "How To Sing High Notes?"

It seems that many singers think of a high note as something that is "up there." And somehow, we must reach up there to get it. We stretch our necks, lift our eyes and strain our throats with the great effort of reaching "that place" so far away.

Of course, we learn quickly that this is not true. These higher notes are created, like all the others, in the throat - by the passage of air through the vocal cords.


In order to create tones that sound high, we must allow the vocal cords to get thinner and shorter. Our job is to stay out of the way while our throats make the small, necessary adjustments that allow for these changes.

It takes work to sing any note well - but we must learn the right way to do this remarkable work.

One exercise that I have found very useful in helping singers to understand how easy it is to move through the whole range of the voice is the E-stretch.


HERE to listen to and to practice singing this easy exercise. The E-stretch uses a head-voice mix. You are not trying to pull heavy chest notes uphill with this vocalise. Start with a connected head-voice and zip up and down the range on an E vowel.

If you don't know what this lingo (connected head voice etc.) means, just go and listen to the E-Stretch and it will become clear.

I like the "E" vowel best for this exercise because it is a narrow vowel that allows for a little more texture in the sound. But I suggest that you forget technique when you sing the E-stretch and just think of playing with your sound as you move up and down.

With a child, I might say, "Think of a fire engine as you play with this exercise."

Unlike this funny-looking wide-mouthed woman on the left, you may or may not have to open your mouth wide for the upper range. Keep a loose jaw, a little smile, and the notes themselves will "tell you" how wide is wide enough. Most important - have fun as you slide through your range.

You will be surprised at how easy it is for most singers to sing "up there!" Once you and your ears have heard you do it, the upper range will start to be within reach - and very accessible. Then you can work on ways to build texture and volume...


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