(Let’s talk about the unsung heroes (pun intended) of the music world… low notes! They’re a quintessential aspect of any singer’s routine, helping to bring out your voice's richest, raspiest tones to enhance any song. Just like with high notes, you can utilize your Singing / Straw to get to the bottom of your register and bring out your lowest, loveliest sounds. But first, let’s talk about the science behind them, shall we?
How do low notes work?
When attempting to become a master of low notes, it’s important to understand what’s happening at a vocal fold level as we sing throughout our range. First of all, the lower we sing, the slower your vocal folds move. And as we emit sound in a more “chest-like” voice, our folds are in a thicker coordination, resulting in more tissue touching with each vibration. This isn’t just the case with singing, but also speaking! So if you want lower, richer notes, think about trying to emulate that thicker, speakier sound with every low note, creating a blend between your singing and speaking voice that’s truly sensational.
That being said, remember that only so much is within our control. How low you can ultimately go with your voice will depend on the shape and size of your vocal tract and vocal folds. In addition to your age, lifestyle, hormone levels, and so much more! Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re never trying to transform your voice or mimic anybody else. Rather, strengthen your unique sound and make the most of your low notes with the following exercises….
What Singing / Straw exercises are the best for low notes?
3 Tone Walk
When working your lower range, I like to start with a straw that’s sized up from your everyday size. Meaning, if you usually use the 3mm in our S/S PRO - size up to the 4mm. Or if you’re using our S/S original, try using two at once. Then take that on a simple 3 tone walk (find it here!). This 1-2-3-2-1 exercise focuses on a short amount of range to help you settle into your lower notes. You can even walk it down as low as you can go, working on that ease, thickness and strength.
Vocal Fry Slide
Believe it or not, the Kardashians didn’t invent the vocal fry! Defined as the lowest register of your voice known for its deep, creaky, and breathy sound, you’ve likely heard it from Kim or Kourtney at some point. But what if we told you that as annoying as it was, it could become a part of your vocalizing routine for lower notes? A small amount of fry may help to stretch your vocal folds and push your range in the direction you’d like…especially on the lower end. Take this one with caution though, if you have any known vocal health issues - skip it unless you’re working with a professional.
Taking the classic major arpeggio and alternating between your straw and a vowel-consonant combination on the stronger side, something like “Ba” (yeah as in sheep) or “No” - will help to encourage and reaffirm those low notes. Check out our full video here. Stick to more of a speaking tone (don’t get too yell-y, just like you’re talking to a friend) and this combination will be the key to your best low notes yet.
You’ll start at the bottom of your range and work your way a little higher, encouraging the tilting of the larynx that occurs as you stretch your vocal folds in your upper register. After alternating between your Singing Straw and “Ba” mantra at a higher point of your voice, you’ll then work your way back down to re-engage your lowest notes once again. Keep this practice up and you’ll feel comfort, strength and ease in your low notes in no time!