Pop Ensembles, World Choir Games 2023 © Choi Yongbin

The 6 Best Exercises to Increase Your Vocal Range and Agility

These simple exercises allow you to sing more notes with incredible accuracy.

Your Voice

Choral music, like all singing, requires performers who can use their vocal range effectively. These two features (range and agility) combine to form someone’s singing potential.

What exactly is a vocal range? Your vocal range is the entire amount of pitches you can actually make with your voice. But that isn’t all that a great chorister needs. They also need to be able to move quickly and accurately through that range — something we call agility.

If you want to win big at the next World Choir Games or simply want to sound your best while singing in the shower, vocal range exercises are a great way to improve your voice. If you stay disciplined and positive, these will definitely improve your agility and range over time.

1. Breathing Exercises

We’ve covered diaphragmatic breathing before, and that’s because this one skill might be the most important game-changer for any chorister.

Breathing exercises can actually develop your voice in many different ways, but it is extremely helpful for improving vocal range and agility. How? Having more air capacity increases power, which often is a limiting factor in the vocal range. Breathing exercises also train your control over the amount of air — giving you more control and more agility.

As you might suspect, all of these benefits don’t really come from one single exercise. Instead, a full diaphragmatic breathing exercise regimen is probably better. So this first item really includes bonus items.

In this video, you’ll learn a few great ways to improve your diaphragmatic breathing:

2. Vocal Warm-Ups

Vocal warm-ups are a great way to get ready for a big performance, but did you know that they also improve your vocal range and agility over time?

That’s right! Dedicating yourself to vocal warm-ups before you sing gives choral singers a wide range of benefits, including exercising the exact muscles that you’ll be relying on for achieving notes on the high and low ends of your range, as well as the work you’ll need to do to keep agile.

The video below will give you a great warm-up to do every day. This is a great stand-by for performance situations, but, as we discussed, you’ll need to repeat it, too.

A side benefit to all this? You’ll protect your voice along with improving it! That means you’ll sing better for longer.

3. Scale Practice

When it comes to vocal agility, scale practice is probably the most foundational go-to exercise. You really can’t skip this one if you want to improve your ability to smoothly and accurately hit your next note. Executing melodies is all about hopping around on a scale, after all.

If you’ve been singing for a long time, you might think that scale practice is just too boring and rudimentary to give you much benefit. Well, you’ll be surprised. There’s always more challenge you can put in your scale practice.

Looking to make things a little more interesting? Try learning new scales by making them part of your daily practice. That way, you slowly increase your music theory knowledge while training vocal range and agility.

4. Interval Training

Interval training exercises start to give you a bit more of a challenge in your vocal range training routine, and they really help wrap our minds around the Western musical system in general.

How does interval training work? You sing two notes with a specific distance between them — working out your musical ear. How does it expand your vocal range? By gradually increasing the intervals' size.

You begin with smaller intervals, like thirds and fifths, and work your way up to octaves and beyond. Interval training is crucial for choir singers to achieve precise pitch matching and harmony blending.

5. Dynamic Vocal Exercises

Dynamic control is a specialized term meaning you can change the volume of your voice. Of course, even when we first begin singing, we have some control over our volume, but the more you practice this, the more accurate you can get.

These exercises can sometimes be as much about not changing volume. For instance, many singers instinctively increase their volume when reaching for difficult notes — distorting their overall performance.

Dynamic vocal exercises give you greater agility within your range, powerfully picking both note and volume at will.

6. Articulation Exercises

Articulation is a form of vocal agility that is rarely covered when we talk about singing, but it is still very crucial. These exercises make sure that you are easily understood by your audience! Many choir pieces are set to beautiful poetry, and listeners get so much more out of performances when they get both the choral music and the lyrics.

 

Increase Your Vocal Range and Agility

If you use the exercises above, you’ll greatly increase your vocal range and agility. The key is dedication, making sure that you return to these practices day in and day out.

For more helpful tips on choral singing, keep an eye out for our latest posts in the

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