Ask any singer or performer, and they’ll tell you how important it is to do vocal warm-ups every day. These warm-ups include things like making funny sounds with your lips and doing breathing exercises.
When it comes to your singing voice, practicing is important to improve. Just like stretching before a race, warming up your voice before performing on stage or in the studio is a good idea.
Vocal warm-ups have many benefits, but the most important one is that they help protect your precious singing voice by keeping it healthy.
Your vocal cords are delicate, so it’s important to treat them gently. Stretching and relaxing these muscles reduces the risk of tension, injury, and voice problems.
Vocal warm-ups are especially helpful for singers who want to smooth out their voice transitions, improve their breathing techniques, and expand their vocal range.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced singer, vocal warm-ups should be a regular part of your training routine.
Warm – Up Exercises For Better Vocal Performance
Lip trills or lip bubbles are a fun way to warm up your diaphragm and vocal cords while reducing stress. It involves vibrating your lips to make a motorboat-like sound.
To improve your lip trills, follow these steps:
- Relax your lips and cheeks. It’s important for your lips to be loose for the trill to work.
- Squeeze your lips together gently, creating a loose pucker. Use your index fingers to lift the corners of your lips and raise your cheeks.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, then exhale quickly through your mouth to create rapid lip vibration. Make a “brrr” or motorboat sound.
- As you become more comfortable with the lip trill, try adding different sounds or pitches to it.
Practicing lip trills regularly will help improve your vocal skills.
The Tongue Roll is a great way to warm up your voice quickly and reduce vocal strain, similar to the Lip Bubble. It’s important to practice keeping your tongue open and flexible because the tongue can cause vocal stress.
Here’s how to do the Tongue Roll exercise:
- Start by trying to roll your Rs and see if you can sustain it for one breath without any breaks or interruptions. After that, add an “aah” sound to it.
- While rolling your tongue, perform a simple vocal exercise like going up and down three notes. You may notice that the Tongue Roll lowers your larynx, which might make it a bit challenging to sing higher notes.
Practicing the Tongue Roll regularly will help improve your vocal abilities and reduce strain on your voice.
The humming exercise is great because you already know how to do it! You might have been humming even before you started singing.
Humming is a gentle way to exercise your vocal cords. Simply keep your lips relaxed and hum a five-step scale or solfege.
If you want to learn more about solfege and scales, you can refer to the previous exercise. You can use solfege syllables to sing the activities in our How The Voice Works app.
Try doing this vocal exercise three to five times. Each time, start with a lower note and gradually go down to the lower end of your vocal range. Then, in the next round, start with a higher note and focus on the upper end of your voice.
Practicing humming exercises like this can help improve your vocal range and control.
Your warm-up routine should go beyond just resting and singing. Octave jumps are a great exercise to practice your pitch and breath control, which are important aspects to focus on.
Start by singing a low note within your vocal range, and quickly switch back and forth between that note and the same note one octave higher, doing this three times. Make sure to sing the notes in a short and disconnected manner.
Since you’re singing the notes quickly, you may struggle with accuracy, so pay attention to hitting both notes correctly each time. Avoid the common mistake of singing the higher note too sharp or the lower note too flat. Then, repeat this exercise while gradually increasing the pitch.
Practicing octave jumps like this can help improve your pitch accuracy and breath coordination in your singing.
Vowel Warm -Ups
Another important exercise to include in your warm-up is called Vocal See-Saws. It can help improve your articulation and prevent mumbling, which is a common problem for many singers.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open your mouth wide.
- Start at the lowest note in your vocal range.
- Sing up and down a major scale in one breath.
- Here’s the twist: Hold the bottom note as you sing each of the other notes, creating a see-saw effect.
- For example, if you’re in the key of C, it would sound like CD, CE, CF, CG, CA, CB, CC, and then back down in the key of C.
- If you prefer, you can use a piano to guide you through this exercise.
Remember to take it slow and focus on clear pronunciation as you go through the Vocal See-Saws exercise.
The siren exercise is a great way to warm up your voice without straining your muscles. It helps to improve your vocal range and allows vibrations to flow through your body.
Here’s how to do it:
- Imagine the sound of a fire engine responding to an emergency.
- Start with a soft and gentle sound and gradually increase the volume.
- Begin in the lower range of your voice and smoothly glide up to the highest note you can comfortably reach.
- If you’re feeling confident, you can even go higher.
- Including the siren exercise in your warm-up routine is a wonderful addition to your vocal training program.
Remember to take it easy and listen to your body while performing the siren exercise. Enjoy exploring your vocal range!
Jaw Loosening Warm-up
The jaw massage exercise is great for releasing tension in your mouth and jaw. By relaxing your jaw and facial muscles, you can sing with more clarity. When your jaw is clenched, it can negatively impact your voice and performance. Here’s how to do the exercise using your fingers or palms:
- Locate the point where your cheekbone meets your jawbone below.
- Use circular motions to massage this area, promoting better blood flow.
- Continue massaging while gently opening and closing your jaw.
The jaw plays an important role in regulating your voice. How it moves and its position can make singing easier or more challenging. Keep practicing the jaw massage exercise to maintain a relaxed jaw for better singing.
To engage and relax your jaw, pretend to yawn while keeping your mouth closed. This helps your jaw to loosen up and drop more easily, allowing you to access a wider range of sounds when performing. Give it a try before your next performance!
Slides are a technique where you move your voice smoothly from a low note to a slightly higher one, like a siren going up. It’s called “slides” because you slide or glide between the notes. This exercise helps you explore different pitches and doesn’t focus on the middle range as much. Give it a try to improve your vocal control!
The Ha-Ha-Ha exercise is a fun way to practice and improve your chest voice range. If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you’ll enjoy this exercise! It’s quite simple. Just sing “ha” on each note as you go through the pentascales. Make sure to give each note a short, crisp sound, and focus on using your chest voice. This exercise will help you strengthen your low notes and have fun while doing it!
Arpeggios are a helpful exercise to improve your singing range and train your ears. They involve singing vowel sounds like “oh” or “ah” in the middle of each note. As you get better, the arpeggios become more challenging, so it’s important to focus on being accurate.
To start, choose a low note and sing it, then sing the same note one octave higher, and finally, gently return to the low note. You can go as fast or slow as you like, but remember not to rush and try to do it all in one breath. And don’t forget to smile while you sing!
Once you’re comfortable with that, you can try singing a phrase using solfege ladders that get progressively more difficult. Make sure the sentence you choose has the same number of syllables as the notes you’ll be singing. This exercise will help you improve your vocal skills and have fun while doing it!
Arpeggios In Alternating Major and Minor Triads
This exercise is not about practicing your voice, but rather about training your ears. It’s great for singers too. Start by singing a major arpeggio triad, then go up a half step and sing an arpeggio of a minor triad. Repeat this pattern. You can use any vowel sounds, phrases, or solfège syllables that you prefer for this exercise. It will help you improve your ability to hear and recognize different musical intervals.
Take a deep breath and then quickly and forcefully exhale 50 times making a “puh” sound (like blowing out a candle); notice your muscles tightening. If you can’t do all 50 exhales in one breath, take another deep breath when you reach 25. After that, do a similar set of 45 seconds of quick exhales on the sound “la” without using your voice, following the 50 “puh” exhales. This exercise helps strengthen your breathing muscles and improves control over your exhalation.
Stretching is important before singing, just like it is before any physical activity. It’s a good idea to stretch your vocal cords before singing to keep them healthy and improve your singing skills.
There are a few important elements in a warm-up routine that are necessary to take care of and improve your voice, although each singer may have a different warm-up routine.
The most important thing is to give your voice enough time to warm up before you start singing because the longer you warm up, the more beneficial it will be for your voice.