Know Your Vocal Range
by Molly Shorter
If you're a singer you are carrying around an instrument uniquely created for you. No one else sounds just like you. God has entrusted to you an instrument to use for His honor and glory. To make the most of these pipes God has given you, you should know your instrument well. Do you know what voice type you are? Are you an alto, a soprano, a tenor, a bass? Do you know your vocal range?
Understanding your individual instrument with its strengths and weaknesses will help you immensely. It will help you in choosing the right songs to sing and it will help you to perform those songs well. Join me in Voice 101.
To find your vocal range begin at Middle C and move down the scale, holding each note for 4 beats. Stop at the note where you can no longer comfortably hit that note. The note one step up from that uncomfortable note is the bottom note of your range.
Now start at Middle C again and move up the scale, holding each note for 4 beats. Stop at the note where you can no longer comfortably hold that note. The note one step down from that uncomfortable note is the highest note of your range.
Based on the range that you have you can determine if you're predominantly an alto, soprano, tenor or bass. A range that is predominately low notes will place a female voice in the alto category and a male voice in the bass category. A range that is predominately high notes will place a female voice in the soprano category and a male voice in the tenor category.
Just like muscles, your vocal chords can be strengthened through proper exercise. To expand your vocal range, try the previous exercise daily. When you hit that low note that is difficult to hold, hold it then move one more note down and try to hold. Do the same moving up the scale to the highest note, then take one more step up and hold. This will help expand your range.
Once you've determined what your range is you'll be better equipped to choose the right songs for your voice. Finding songs that fit within your vocal range will help you make the most of the strengths in your voice and play down the weaknesses.
I work with a group of incredibly gifted musicians. One thing I appreciate about them is that each singer knows his or her strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone can belt out those high notes and not everyone can hit those low notes strong. We work as a group, playing off each other's strengths.
As a soloist, choose songs you can sing comfortably within your range. Don't choose a song that is well out of your range or you may regret it at performance time. Figure out your vocal range and make the most of the instrument God has entrusted to you.
Molly Shorter is full-time musician and worship leader in the service of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She works with church musicians, giving them opportunities to develop and use their God-given musical gifts for His honor and glory.
Along with leading a large worship team, she is also a teacher to budding musicians, a playwright and theater director, a composer, and the writer of your enouragement here at Christwill Music.