It is as vital to do vocal warm-ups for singers as doing physical warm-ups are for athletes, irrespective of the genre – be it classical music or contemporary. It prepares your throat and vocal cords for the stress caused by singing. This warming up and stretching helps a singer to perform better. It also protects your voice from excess wear and tear.
It is recommended to start practicing the warmup exercises from the time you start learning to sing. If you haven’t, it is never too late. Let us begin by understanding the importance of vocal warmups.
Why Are Vocal Warmups Important Before Singing?
If you directly start singing, it can be straining for your vocal cords. If this strain persists, it can make your voice weak and damaged. Check out the 5 main reasons for warming up before singing and practicing:
#1 – Release Tension from the Muscles
Your voice box’s inner muscle and vocal cords release tension through the warm-up. They get to loosen up and relaxed to support effortless singing.
#2 – Improve Voice Quality
Vocal warm-ups sharpen your singing skills and shape your voice. You can also utilize these warm-ups to perfect your techniques. Your transition of the pitch from lower to higher becomes more fluid. With each warm-up, your voice will flow better between your throat and chest.
#3 – Enhance Breathing Control
Breathing plays a vital role in singing. During warm-up, you can train yourself to sing more extended notes in the same breath. The more and more you can stretch without taking another breath, the more seamless your voice becomes. With regular practice, you can master the coordination between your voice and breath.
#4 – Help in Self Review
You should train your ears to listen to your voice and correct the errors during a warm-up. The usage of intonations, scales, vowels, and other sounds can be constantly updated to improve your singing. You can also check the transition of your voice between different scales.
#5 – Keep Your Voice Healthy
Vocal warm-ups preserve your voice quality. It prolongs the depletion of your vocal cords. With regular warm-ups, you can be aware of the point where you are overstraining your voice and muscles. You can stop pushing beyond that point and save the damage.
How to Do Vocal Warm-ups?
There are various vocal warm-up techniques. We narrowed them down to the following 8 best vocal exercises for you here:-
#1 – Yawn-Sigh Technique
As the name suggests, this exercise is a combination of yawning and sighing action. You first need to yawn while keeping your mouth close. Afterward, slowly exhale from your nose. This activity relaxes your throat muscles and broadens your singing range.
#2 – Humming Warm-Ups
We all keep humming when we are in a good mood. For humming warm-ups, put the tip of your tongue behind the bottom front teeth, and then start humming. Keep your mouth closed while humming and change your scale constantly.
#3 – Straw Phonation Exercise
You need to hum through the straw. Start from the bottom range and then slowly up your scale. Hum your favorite song to enjoy this activity. You can also blow bubbles through a straw in a glass full of water for breathing practice.
#4 – Lip Trill Vocal Warm-ups
It is also known as lip buzz exercise. This exercise will remind you of your childhood. Blow air through your nose and mouth. Vibrate your lips at the same time to create a sound like a motorboat.
#5 – Tongue Trill Exercise
It is not as easy as other vocal warm-ups for singers. You need to curl your tongue and roll it inward. Now try to pronounce “R” in various pitches. Go from low to high range. Tongue trill is suitable for voice and tonal quality.
#6 – Jaw Loosening Exercises
Stretch your jaw like you are yawning, especially the lower jaw. Try to drop your jaw in the curved space between your jaw and your ear. Don’t just drop the chin, drop your whole jaw.
#7 – Vocal Sirens
During this exercise, you need to produce a sound imitating the sound of a siren. Keep changing notes while making that sound. Go from your highest range to lower and vice versa. The sound should be seamless while changing the pitch and notes.
#8 – Portamento Technique
This exercise is also known as the vocal slides technique. This is one of the most complex vocal warm-ups. It requires you to seamlessly jump from one note to another note in your range. But you need to remember to skip all the other in-between notes.
Reema Krishnan is a content creator at the Acharyanet platform for Carnatic music learners where they can learn music from gurus through 400+ video lessons. Being a music enthusiast and a history buff herself, she is able to provide value for her readers and her content is well-received by musicians, music lovers, and music learners of all ages and at all stages. She loves to volunteer with music therapy groups and bakes up a storm in her free time.