Unlock Your Inner Vocalist: Explore Your Voice and Vocal Range | Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton | Skillshare

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Unlock Your Inner Vocalist: Explore Your Voice and Vocal Range

teacher avatar Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton, Songwriters, Vocalists

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Determining Your Vocal Range


    • 3.

      Singing with Your Chest Voice


    • 4.

      Singing with Your Head Voice


    • 5.

      Finding Your Passaggio


    • 6.

      Singing in Falsetto


    • 7.

      Belting with Control


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Tune in to this class to define your vocal range and unlock new singing abilities. 

As professional songwriters and vocalists, Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton have turned their powerhouse voices into powerhouse careers. Since 2008, the two singers have collectively and individually toured with major recording artists like Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J. They have also worked as vocalists on American Idol and The Voice and in films like Encanto, The Lion King, and Jordan Peele’s Us. Now ready to share their top singing tricks and techniques, Denise and Neka dive deep into the fundamentals of finding your voice and its unique ability. 

In this exclusive class, Neka and Denise will help you establish your vocal range, explore your sound, and strengthen your voice all while protecting your vocal chords. You’ll explore different voice parts, sounds, and registers and see which technique is the most comfortable and safe for you.  

Through Denise and Neka’s actionable lessons, you’ll:

  • Strengthen your chest voice 
  • Support and explore your head voice 
  • Glide through your passaggio with ease and awareness
  • Connect and fine-tune your falsetto and belting voice 
  • Learn how to achieve a healthy sound

Plus, Denise and Neka provide a wav version of the vocal warmups so that you can discover your vocal range and explore your chest, head, falsetto and belting voices any time you like! 

These lessons will help you identify your voice, get comfortable with it, and learn safe ways to explore your vocal range through expertly informed voice exercises.

The second class in Denise and Neka’s five part learning path was created for anyone curious about learning how to sing. Whether you grew up going to choir practice or you’re a dedicated shower singer with a desire to improve your voice, Denise and Neka will cover the fundamentals you need to find your voice. If you’re completely new to singing, consider watching Denise and Neka’s first class on the fundamentals of a healthy singing voice. As the only instrument you’ll always have with you, the only thing you’ll need for this class is your voice and, if desired, paper and a pencil for note taking.

Meet Your Teacher

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Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton

Songwriters, Vocalists


Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton  are professional songwriters and vocalists who have turned their powerhouse voices into  powerhouse careers. Since 2008, the two singers have collectively and individually toured with major recording artists like Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J. They have also worked as vocalists on American Idol and The Voice and in films like Encanto, The Lion King, and Jordan Peele’s Us. Now ready to share their top singing tricks and techniques, Denise and Neka dive deep into performing and pursuing a musical career. 

Connect with Neka on Instagram and Denise at her website!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: A voice not only produces sound, but it expresses emotion, tone, and point of view. Hi, I'm Neka. And I'm Denise and we are professional vocalists and songwriters. With over 15 years in the music industry, we have collectively and individually taught with major recording artists such as Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J, to name a few. Everyone has their unique sound and we're passionate about helping you identify that sound, get comfortable with it, and learn safe ways to challenge yourself. For this class, we will help you establish your vocal range and voice part as a soprano, tenor, alto, or bass, accompanied by exercises that help you explore and strengthen your voice. We will work to enhance your voice within your voice part, allowing you to go beyond that and stretch your range. It's essential to understand your voice so that you can perform songs in the proper key, have a comfortable safe delivery, and have room to personally connect with the music, rather than thinking about how you will deliver. We are excited to hear what stories you will tell by using your voice. Now let's get started. 2. Determining Your Vocal Range: [MUSIC] At our vocal anatomy class we stress the importance of breathing posture and learned a few vocal techniques. In this lesson, we're going to talk about vocal range, help you establish it and why it's important. Vocal range is the distance between the highest and lowest of pitches that a singer can sing competently. This will come in handy when establishing your songs, the keys that your songs are in, and how to challenge and stretch within your vocal range. Voice classification is less about how high or low someone can sing a note, but rather the range of person can most comfortably maintain over a long period of time without exhausting or damaging their voice. Now we always welcome a challenge, but it's vital to be cautious and not strain your voice when establishing and exploring a range. Once you've reached a point of comfortability and confidence while singing in your range, you are capable of expanding your vocal potential. There are four basic vocal ranges, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. In addition to those foundational parts, there are others such as mezzo, soprano, baritone, or contralto to name a few. Jennifer Hudson, Billie Eilish, Paddler Bell, and Carrie Underwood are artists that fall under the soprano voice range. Gladys Knight Share Adele, Toni Braxton are examples of altos. Some tenors to name are Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith's, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Lastly, artists that are bass singers are Barry White, Gibeon, Johnny Cash, and Melvin Franklin from the temptations. Now using Janelle our vocal demonstrator, we're going to identify her vocal range. We're going to start at middle C and work our way up to establish the highest comfortable note that she can sing. [MUSIC] If that is too high for you, then we suggest starting at an octave below middle C. An octave in simple terms, is a higher frequency of the starting note. The same note just in a higher register or lower register. Now we will identify the lowest note Janelle can sing. [MUSIC] Janelle's lowest comfortable note is E-flat three and her highest comfortable note is E-flat five. Because these notes are within the range of f three and F5, this would make her an alto. The typical range for a base is E2-E4 [MUSIC] the typical range for an alto is F3-F5 [MUSIC]. The typical range for soprano is C4-C6 [MUSIC]. The typical range for tenor would be C3-C5 [MUSIC]. This might sound like a foreign language to you, so we provided a scale for each of the voice parts in the class resources. That way you can sing to each scale and see which one fits your voice the best. Make sure that when you sing with the scale, you're not straining and you are to sing it on a law. The way we did with genome. 3. Singing with Your Chest Voice: For this lesson we're going to focus on what is usually the most dominant of all registers, also known as the chest voice. When you speak or sing in your chest voice, it should feel like the tone is resonating in your chest. In our vocal anatomy class, we mentioned how our vocal folds vibrate to produce sound. In this case, the entire fold vibrates against each other to create the chest voice sound. In order to have a supported and stronger sound in this register, you want to focus on having a neutral or lowered larynx. What helps to do this is to motion your throat like you're yawning with a relaxed tongue. Place your hand on the front area of your throat and say, how are you today, in your speaking register. How are you today? Let's do that again. How are you today? Now, in that same register, start with a light hum and try to sound like a motorcycle. You will most likely feel an intense vibration in your chest. This is where the chest voice sits. In a social environment, you're more than likely to use your inside voice due to close proximity to one another. This is the register we use for chest voice, or also known as the lower register. The best way to properly project while singing is not only to increase in volume, but also focus on your breath support. In our vocal anatomy class, we shared with you the importance of diaphragmatic breathing. This is an important tool to use when singing in your chest voice. A lot of people think that if you're singing in your chest voice, the main ingredient is volume. That is not necessarily the case. It's more so about the range and where the resonance is felt, which is in your chest. So for this demonstration, we'll be focusing on strengthening and being comfortable moving around in our chest voice. It's a, ha, aaa. We will be singing this line without breathing in-between the a and the ha. When pausing on the a, you want to be conscious of your diaphragm and also thinking to preserve air in-between pulses. The last line of a should be connected together being conscious of your mouth position being north and south, letting out air and sound. The hope is to feel this reverberate in your chest, keeping the sound more in the back of your throat. Now, I'll demonstrate and then we'll do a warm-up with Janelle in chest voice. [MUSIC] Thank you Janelle. Remember that it's easier to sing in your chest voice when you are in the lower parts of your range. So there's a terminology called pulling chest voice, which essentially means that you are no longer singing with the lowered larynx. It's best to identify when there is a shift in approach and discontinue singing. Now we always welcome a challenge, but we don't advise you to push when the strain starts. 4. Singing with Your Head Voice: [MUSIC]. Ariana Grande is one of the biggest pop stars of this generation. She is notorious for her singing in her head voice and also falsetto. Adam Levine is another artist that primarily uses his head voice. So what is it? What is head voice? This is the register above your natural speaking voice which tends to sound a little thinner than the chest voice. Some like to call it sympathetic vibrations because they can be felt the most in your sinus cavity and mouth. One important factor to consider is that although the term is named head voice, your vocal folds are the main thing at work. They vibrate with less mass vocal production so the cords aren't vibrating fully together when making sound. One of the differences between chest and head voice are the areas in which you can feel the sound vibrating in your body. But you are for sure using some of your chest to mix it in with your head voice. For this warm up, we'll focus on the head voice register. We'll sing it with the word loo, which is L-O-O. Try your best to create a firm airflow so that it's not too airy but yet still supported. Think tall, use the L to take you directly to the oo sound. Like Loo. Be mindful of still opening the oo sound, which is more straight tone. A great tip for a supported tone when singing in head voice is to lift your soft palate. A soft palate is the back muscular part of the inside of our mouths. An easy way to find it is to place your tongue and the roof of your mouth and move towards the back to where it's not bony anymore. Like this. [LAUGHTER]. When we lift our soft palate, we create more space for air to carry forward out of our mouths. Now I'll do the demo first and then we'll hear it from Janelle. [MUSIC]. Great job Janelle. Be sure to keep the tips that we shared in mind when you use your head voice. Catch you in the next lesson. 5. Finding Your Passaggio: [MUSIC] One thing we want to bring to your attention is your break, also known as Passaggio, which is basically the area of notes that separate different registers. For example, [MUSIC] I don't know if you heard the flip, but when singing, most people tend to flip. When a note can't be produced with the same application in a different register. This is why we call it a break and even tend to crack. The goal is to successfully be able to glide through these different parts of your registers with ease and awareness. Be patient with yourself as you learn your voice, you are a work in progress. Some obstacles may occur for others where you find it easy and vice versa. A singing exercise to help you get a feel for connecting registers is singing octaves. [MUSIC] Now, try your hand at singing octaves and remember, concentrate on your airflow with a forward approach. 6. Singing in Falsetto: [MUSIC] Now we get to the falsetto register, which in Italian means false. Falsetto is your head voice with more air. Unlike other registers where your chords touch, falsetto is when the chords are apart. The error between our vocal cords is what produces the light, airy sound. Back in vocal anatomy class, we started out with stressing the importance of breath support in order to deliver a supported healthy vocal performance. Keep in mind that the vocal folds are working differently singing in falsetto. There's a different muscle coordination, so for this demonstration, we'll be singing the Christmas song, Deck the Halls, and we will be approaching the fa la la la la, with a light and airy feel. Now keep your throat relaxed. Breathe deep because it will require a lot of air. I'll do the demo first and then Ganelle will take it from there. [MUSIC] Now you may find that it will become somewhat winded working on your falsetto, it's a lot of air happening, but don't be alarmed, this is normal. We suggest you approach working on both your head voice and falsetto and finding the balance between them. 7. Belting with Control: [MUSIC] Now that we've covered most of the voice registers and ways to achieve a healthy sound, we want to introduce you to the belting voice. Generally when referring to belting, people think loud, high, and unhealthy. But we believe you can develop the strength to belt in all registers with a supported and full sound. You should feel forwardness in the mask of your face with resonance in your chest. Whitney Houston is one of the most revered singers, artists, musicians of all time and is an example of an artist that has the ability to sing with a full supported tone throughout all registers, especially her belting voice. A deep belly laugh [LAUGHTER] or speaking loudly across the room, Hey you, is a healthy way to connect with your belting voice. For this demo, we'll be singing E-I-E-I-O. The idea is to send your voice to the back of the wall, or at least beyond and out. We're singing this all in one breath. When coming to the last note, opening your mouth north and south, gently falling off the last note, but keeping it sustained for a little bit. [MUSIC] 8. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] In this class, our goal was to help you on your journey to exploring different voice parts and seeing which ones are the most comfortable and safe. Within that, voice part and exploring different sounds in different registers. The information our voices and bodies can share through sound is never ending. We take pride in being able to bring awareness to your own sound in such a way that is safe and knowledgeable, yet challenging. Make sure you recap all of what we shared, and do your best to vocalize each day for 20-30 minutes minimum. Remember that just as athletes have to stretch before and after, you should think of yourself in this light as well. It's always encouraged to push yourself further, but be sure to do self check-ins and draw awareness to any strain or pain. This should not be when vocalizing, we can't stress this enough. You may experience a fatigue as your muscle may be working in ways it hasn't before, but never push yourself too far where you are in pain. For this class assignment, please submit a warm-up of your choice doing either chests, falsetto, head, or belting voice. Singing along with the MP3 of the warm-ups we have in the class resources. If this is your first class with us, we normally like to end our classes with some affirmations so you can remain encouraged. You can repeat after us or just listen to absorb the positive vibes. [OVERLAPPING] I am capable. I am patient with myself. I give myself permission to learn. If it's meant to be, it's up to me. We'll see you next class.