Renee Grant-Williams


Think about Whitney Houston’s song “I Will Always Love You.”
I don’t know about you, but I get goose bumps every time she would hit those high notes. And she hit them with such grace and ease that she made it seem easy. And, yet, it actually is easy, if you have the right tools.

These 5 Tips for Hitting Killer High Notes will give you the tools you need to hit and hold killer high notes just like Whitney Houston. Now choose a favorite song with some challenging high notes within your range. Work with the first tip until you feel you have fully incorporated it. Then move on to the next tip.


Resist reaching up with your chin to power the high notes, they are not up there like flies buzzing around. Try this little experiment so you can see how tensing your chin and jaw has a negative effect on your voice.

Sing or hum a long note as you slowly dip your chin to your chest and then raise your chin upward, letting your head fall back. Slowly go back and forth a few times. Do you notice how tilting your head back chokes off the sound and makes your voice sound thin?

Instead, power the sound by putting air into what feels like your lower abdominals. Then contract the strong muscles in your lower body—legs, glutes and abs to expel the air as you sing or speak. Feel the connection to your lower body.

When you sing bend your knees as though you were going to pick up a heavy piece of furniture or dance the “Limbo.” Tuck your hips under the rest of your body and push your feet into the floor.

Start recording yourself singing a favorite song. Keep the recording so you can reference how you sang before and after learning each tip. Take note of the improvements you hear.

Now sing your chosen song and apply this tip to the high notes until you can do it without having to think about it. Then move on to learn Tip #2 which is all about “High Note Anxiety.”


High notes should sound like they are easy to sing, yet when we encounter one we reveal our anxiety by stiffening up like a deer caught in the headlights. Why not take a different approach and imagine you are speaking the high note instead of singing it?

The mind can be a powerful force when you sing and, as strange as it sounds, sometimes if you simply imagine you are speaking the top note it will just pop out easily — and right in tune.

If you will keep in mind that singing is nothing more than simply speaking on organized, rather than random notes, you should have no trouble speaking the high notes. This also works really well with a note that is low in your range as well. Give it a try.

Continue to work on applying Tip #2 until you can do it in your sleep. Then concentrate on adding Tip #1 into the mix. Now you are using Tip #1 and Tip #2 when you sing high notes.

The next tip, Tip #3, is titled “Lighten Up Before You Leap.” Learn why you should turn down the volume as you approach your high notes.


If you’ve not mastered Tip #1 and Tip #2 continue to work on them before you incorporate Tip #3.

As you go higher in your range, vocal tension increases. Unfortunately we tend to freak out and sing the notes before the high notes louder and heavier. When you’re headed for a high note imagine you are about to jump over a fence holding a bag of bricks in each hand. This jumping maneuver would be easier if you were not holding the heavy bricks.

Now, what if you drop all of the bricks before you leap? The leap becomes easier. The same thing happens to your voice when you lighten the volume of the one, two or three lower notes before the high note. Just like lightening the load of bricks would make it easier to climb the fence, when you have less weight to carry up to the high notes they will be easier for you to sing.


Have you ever taken time to simply listen to the tracks to your songs? If you listen carefully you can hear them breathe, there is an organic kind of push/pull. In most songs you will hear the rhythm section pull forward as you get to the end of a line.

You must learn to anticipate the downbeat in the tracks of the songs you are singing. You will hear the band push ahead to the beat early each time they play a downbeat. Match your rhythmic pushes to correspond to those of the band.

Always start your high notes a tiny bit early and ever-so-slightly ahead of the actual beat in the song. You want it to feel as if you were pushing ahead into the front side of the downbeat. It should sound compelling, even enthusiastic, but do not push it to the point that it actually goes out of rhythm

Don’t forget to record yourself and analyze the differences.

Once you have mastered Tip #1 through Tip #4 take a moment to go to YouTube and watch Mariah Carey. Can you guess what she does to hit the high notes?


To hold a high note a really, really long time, bend your knees slightly and allow the air to fall into your body. Now, lean back as far as you can, moving no more than a quarter of an inch at a time as you sing the note. Tuck your hips under your body and keep leaning back a bit at a time for as long as you wish to hold the note. Be careful not to fall over.

If you are balance-challenged, give this a try. Sit on the edge of a couch, bed, or big soft chair and sing Ahhh as you lean back very, very slowly. You will most likely hit the back of the couch before you run out of the air sustaining the note.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these 6 tips for hitting better high notes. We will be providing more learning opportunities for many various areas of breathing, consonants, and so much more.
Stay tuned!


Renee Grant-Williams explains her tips, tricks, and techniques. Her Master-Class Program lets you inside as she coaches and guides real people to find and sing their best voice


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