Whether you are a singing pro or just a beginner, it is likely that at one point or another, a limited vocal range has put a damper on your confidence to sing certain songs. If you are unfamiliar with the term, "vocal range" refers to the range of notes you can reach with your singing voice. While some struggle with low notes, most people struggle with the high notes.
High notes can seem very elusive, and maybe you think they are reserved for those ultra divas we see everywhere. However, everyone is capable of bridging the gap to those high notes with some effort on their part.
First, let's take a moment to distinguish between the three main registers of the human voice.
The first register is the deepest and most comfortable for most people to sing in. It is called "chest voice." This is typically the vocal register you talk in. The sound resonates deep within the chest cavity and is therefore given the name chest voice.
On the higher end, we have "head voice." so called because these notes are much higher and lighter and resonate within the nasal and head cavities. This is the sound we usually hear when someone sings higher up in opera
How to practice high notes in opera ?
The solution to hitting those powerful high notes you may hear some famous singers hit, is the lesser-known "mixed voice" or "middle voice." This is the register in between chest and head voice. It is a balance or compromise between the two. Unfortunately, if you are like many other singers, you have spent your life hitting those high notes by pulling up chest voice. Not only is this very painful, but it can be very damaging to your vocals and lead to cysts and nodules on your vocal cords - which is very bad!
So to undo what you have been doing for so long, you need to start practicing going up and down scales without pulling chest. Just relax and let it happen.
It may feel very strange at first, but just be very light on the bottom notes and this will help lead you into mixed voice and then head. At first, your mixed voice will be very airy and sound almost like head, but don't worry! That's normal, especially if you have been pulling chest all your life.
As you continue to practice, you will slowly develop a strong mixed voice with all the power of chest voice and all the ease of head voice.
Can you recognize an operatic voice before it has been trained?
There is little doubt the world of opera is an exciting place. It can bring fame and fortune to those who are good enough if they are prepared to work very hard for many years and then get the lucky breaks.
Like any other exacting profession, opera singing is an art of discipline, even for the most gifted singer. Not only must the voice be properly trained, but music theory and ear training must be studied, roles learnt and memorized, foreign languages studied and acting perfected.
Those who want a guide, the world of opera should first consult with people in the business of opera. People whom they know and can trust. Those who really care. It is important to find the right people in the industry, get to know them and seek their professional advice. It is essential that you get expert opinions about the potential and prospects for you from those whose comments and judgment you can trust.
Having the encouragement from such a person or persons, the next thing is to find a singing teacher. There are plentiful, but don't come cheaply. Look for a sympathetic teacher with clear communication skills. When you find one, outline a teaching program over a limited time frame and make sure this schedule is maintained. Some teachers take on students and just keep teaching without end goals in sight. Avoid them. They're looking after themselves, not yours.
The initial training period should cover the basic elements of voice production and building a limited repertoire. The early 17th and 18th century Italian arias are an ideal starting program and all reputable singing teachers should be aware of these songs which are readily available in albums, preferably with CD accompaniment discs for learning purposes.
For this part of the early training program, a maximum of two years should be adequate. If the student hasn't made sufficient progress in the first two years, perhaps they don't have the necessary commitment for such a demanding career. Be honest with them and yourself. But be firm. It's your money you are paying out!
After completing the initial part of the program students should then start the preparation for an audition at a recognized Music Academy. These are attached either to an Opera House or University, depending on where you live. Audition programs for entrance to these institutions can be accessed through websites quite readily, but take particular car to investigate entrance requirements, especially in the case of a University Music Academy.
In addition to preparing a singing program of operatic arias , music academies require knowledge of music theory and ear training for passing an audition. A six months program should be sufficient to absorb enough information from a recognized teacher of music theory to pass this test.