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5 Essential Facts About Your Vocal Range

For lowest to highest - Lisa Popeil shares why the notes you can sing matter.

All instrumentalists know which notes their instruments can play; why not singers as well? - asks Lisa Popeil

1. Your range is preset

Like your height or eye color, your vocal range is preset by genetics. Though it may change by a note or two, like when you’re sick or when you age, your vocal range is determined by the size of your vocal folds. The larger your folds, the lower your voice; likewise, the smaller your folds, the higher your range.

2. Your vocal range is huge

The average human vocal range is 3 and 1/3 octaves. That’s huge! That’s about 40 notes in total on which the average person can produce sound. Most singers, even very experienced professionals, often underestimate the length of their range capacity.

A female singer belting into a microphone

3. What does it mean to “expand your range”?

Once you discover your range, then vocalize on all of the notes your vocal folds can make. That way, the notes which are adjacent to the extreme edges of your range will become more comfortable and dependable for regular use. By vocalizing on all the notes of your range, you’ll have trained your vocal folds to stretch and thin as you sing higher and shorten and squoosh as you singer lower, kind of like yoga class for your voice.

4. Range doesn’t determine your sound – only which notes you can sing

Since your vocal folds primarily determine your range, what gives you your unique voice? Your head! Well really, it’s the spaces in your head: your throat, your mouth and your sinuses which determine the timbre or color of your voice. Therefore you could have soprano vocal folds with a mezzo-soprano head or if a male, you could have baritone vocal folds with a tenor head. Hybrids such as these often have the most unique voices, so it’s not at all a bad thing to have a mismatch between your vocal folds and your resonator.

5. Talent doesn’t necessarily correspond with size of range

Surprisingly, there seems to be no relationship between size of range and singing talent.

Surprisingly, there seems to be no relationship between size of range and singing talent. Though I have heard many singers who were naturally gifted and possessed a 4+ octave range, I’ve also heard terrific singers who had less than 3 octaves and mediocre singers with 4 octaves. It goes to show that there’s a lot more to being a great singer than the length of your vocal range. It’s what you DO with your notes that counts.

Don’t be afraid to experiment to discover your lowest and highest note. It’s a vital piece of your vocal identity. All instrumentalists know which notes their instruments can play – why not singers as well?

Lisa

Lisa Popeil

Portrait image of a Singdaptive singing instructor Lisa Popeil

Lisa Popeil is one of LA’s top voice coaches with over 40 years of professional teaching experience. As a singer, she’s performed and recorded with Frank Zappa and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and her album ‘Lisa Popeil’ was a Billboard ‘Top Album Pick’. Lisa has an MFA in Voice, is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method, and is regularly featured in leading music magazines, journals, books and conferences.

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FAQ

What’s different with Singdaptive from other approaches?

There are millions of instructional videos out there for singers. What Singdaptive offers is personal guidance for your unique voice through personal video exchanges and tasks selected especially for you by your instructor. What makes us truly unique is that we offer asynchronous learning – this means that you don’t need to keep an appointment and can interact with your learning at any time, day or night.

The other feature of Singdaptive is that your Lead Instructor will be directing you to exercises and lessons from several others on the team so that your learning will transcend the expertise of a single teacher.

What music genres and singing techniques do you teach?

Singdaptive’s Instructor Team is multidisciplinary, so we assign you a Lead Instructor that is an expert in your genre. There are many good singing techniques created by informed singers and researchers. We value the work Janice Chapman, Jeanette Lovetri, Lisa Popeil, Cathrine Sadolin, Ingo Titze and others. In fact, one of these is on our teaching team and we have worked closely with several others.

What we value most are approaches that are not secretive in nature and that are recognized across the disciplines concerned with healthy singing - coaching, therapy, nutrition, otolaryngology, and musicology. The exercises and methods you receive are focused on healthy voice production no matter what your genre.

What does this cost?

Less than the price of face-to-face lessons in your location. At $25 USD a month our Standard Subscription gives you personal exchanges to determine your unique learning plan. You get tasks with exercises, in-demand lessons, actions – with continued check-ins each month with your lead instructor. Our Premium Subscription at $99 a month gives you unlimited personal exchanges with our team of instructors. Singers facing intense needs or wanting a fast-paced learning style start with the premium plan.

You can upgrade, downgrade, pause or cancel your subscription at any time.

Is this for pros or for beginners?

Yes - to both!. If you have just stepped out of the shower and want to share your voice with more than just your golden retriever, we will walk with you into your future. Or, if you’re having trouble with your voice after live streaming 5 hours a day, or are facing an audition for a Musical Theatre role on Broadway or London’s West End, we can get you ready.

We work with singers of all genres from choristers, to lead singers, session singers, ensembles - the entire spectrum!

Do you have some tips for me before I get started?

You can get started for free – this will let you experience the quality of instruction that we have for your singing journey. To do this, simply create a free account , take the welcome lesson and then start your first exchange with our team! We will give you personal feedback on your area of concern – this will come from one of our team's instructors. If you don’t have any idea of what you want to work on, you are invited to say just that and our instructor will come back to you with areas to consider!