Although there are many moments in life where you can simply break into song without thinking about it, an actual singing or dramatic performance requires some additional time and effort to warm up your vocal cords. Doing vocal warm-ups can do wonders for your singing voice and protect your precious vocal folds, alleviating excess pressure and decreasing the potential for overstraining or wearing your voice out. Read on for some vocal warm-up tips and exercises you can get started with right away!
Having good breath control is an absolute necessity when it comes to singing your best. When you sing, you breathe differently as opposed to regular speaking or exercising – this typically uses your chest voice. Proper vocal warm-ups require deep breathing from the diaphragm and lungs, which makes your voice more powerful and controlled.
One common breathing exercise involves slowly breathing in through your mouth to fill your stomach with air, expanding your abdomen whilst keeping your chest and shoulders still. You can then exhale slowly through the mouth whilst making a hissing sound, still keeping your upper body relaxed. This type of exercise helps release tension and enhances your lung capacity ahead of your vocal performance, allowing you greater control over your vocal power.
Stretching and Relaxing Facial Muscles
When warming up your voice, you also need to focus on other parts of the body, too. By relieving any tension in your muscles, you can enjoy a more relaxing singing experience and have a wider range of motion so you can sing or belt with ease.
Some great body stretches to incorporate into your vocal warm-up routine are side stretches to expand your ribcage and neck stretches where you gently roll your head in one direction and then the other to stretch your throat muscles.
To relax your facial muscles, you can gently massage your jaw in a circular motion with your fingertips to alleviate any tightness whilst opening and closing your mouth. This will loosen your jaw and allow you to open your mouth wider whilst singing, giving you a greater range of expression and the ability to pronounce words more clearly – which is very important if you want your audience to understand what you’re singing about!
Mouth, Lip, and Tongue Warm-Ups
Vocal exercises involving the mouth, lips, and tongue are essential for prepping the way your voice sounds whilst singing. You can try practicing lip trills at various speeds, where making a repeated vibrating sound helps you with breath control and support. Tongue rolls and purrs are also a good way to stretch your tongue muscles and increase flexibility so you can sing more comfortably.
One of the best vocal warm-ups for singers is humming. Practicing this technique stretches out the vocal cords, relaxes your muscles, and enhances your breathing control. It also enables you to play around with your vocal range and tone. You can practice humming by making a ‘hmm’ sound with your lips closed, causing your voice to buzz.
You can also incorporate vocal scales in your humming exercise or by singing out simple words such as ‘la la la’. This works best alongside a piano, where you can start on a particular note and carry your vocal scale up and down. In addition to being a voice training technique, scales also double up an ear-training exercise to learn pitch and harmony!
Tongue Twisters and Articulation
You certainly don’t want a confused audience straining to make out the lyrics you’re singing. To make sure you are delivering a musical performance with ultimate clarity, articulation exercises are the perfect way to improve your pronunciation, so that every word is clearly understood.
Popular tongue twisters like ‘she sells seashells by the seashore’ and ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’ are fantastic to add to your vocal warm-up repertoire, making it less likely for you to slip up during a performance and get tongue-tied. It also helps you transition more neatly between certain sounds and syllables that are packed closely together. You can also try doing tongue twisters at different pitches to make it more challenging
You can also work on certain vowels or sounds to ensure optimal mouth control and vocal clarity. Make sure you aren’t exaggerating your mouth shape as you go through different sounds, so you can produce them as naturally as possible whilst keeping your mouth and jaw relaxed.
Book A Singing Class with SeanyMac Studios
We hope you found the above vocal warm-up techniques and singing exercises useful! Of course, we understand that every singer has a different set of needs, as well as strengths and weaknesses, which is why SeanyMac Studios remains dedicated to helping every aspiring singer achieve their performance goals in the most effective way possible. As part of our vocal training, we greatly encourage all our singers to practice vocal warm-up exercises to achieve the best vocal sound possible whilst preserving your beautiful vocal muscles.
Our professional vocal training in Hong Kong offers singing lessons tailored towards singers of all ages and levels of experience. Our private singing class teaches you all the fundamentals of singing using our SeanyMac Six-Step Method, which involves the instruction of proper breathing techniques, how to control your chest and head voice, and how to make the most out of your upper and lower vocal range. Contact us to find out more about our classes and start your voice training today.