Just like an athlete stretches his or her body and muscles before a big game or practice, a vocalist must warm up his or her singing voice before a performance or rehearsal! All it takes is 10 minutes with these five simple warm ups to maintain a healthy voice. Here are some of my favorite vocal exercises that will work for both beginning and advanced vocalists.
1. Lip Buzz
Simply vibrate your lips together, without pitch at first. It may take a while to get used to. This will help build up your breath support and stamina while singing. Next, try adding a pitch to your lip buzz, and holding it anywhere from 3-5 seconds. Pitch can go up, down, or stay on one note. There should be a funny, tickling sensation in your nose, and your other resonators (forehead, cheeks, etc.). If you do not feel this, try harder!
We all should be familiar with “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do” from the The Sound of Music! Starting on middle C, sing through the solfege up and down the scale, taking your time and really listening to each pitch. See if you can also try this warm up without a piano (acapella), as this will help with your ear training! Practicing solfege is not only a great tool for your ears, but it will also help with your sight reading!
Remaining on one note (monotone), sing “mah-may-me-mo-moo” nice and slow, really pronouncing the Ms. I would start low, perhaps at A3 and sing up the scale to an octave above. Really take your time, and see if you can sing this exercise all in one breath. While you don’t have to sing the warm up pretty, focus on the tone and your intonation to create the best vocal sound. Don’t push – this exercise should be nice and relaxed.
4. “I Love to Sing”
This is one of the vocal exercises you can use to help with your range, as it includes an arpeggio. Starting low at around Bb3, you are literally going to sing “I love to sing” with a smile on your face! You will start at the root, then hit the octave, and come back down on the 5th, 3rd, and root of the chord again. This is a great way to test your range through big jumps; it can be done fast and should be done in one breath. And smiling while you sing will help you with a more clear and bright sound – give it a try!
5. The Siren
This is the easiest vocal exercise of all! Think of the sound of a fire engine passing by, and imitate it with your voice. Start at the lowest note in your range, and slide through every note to the top of your range. If you can sing the low notes and high notes, then you know you are in good vocal shape! This is a good way to tell if you are vocally fatigued; if you are unable to hit the low or high notes, then it’s best not to sing and push too hard. You can try this warm up in reverse, too, by starting with your mouth opened up wide, going from high to low.
These vocal exercises take as little as 10 minutes a day, and will help you tremendously. If you have any questions, need clarification, or would love to work more on these warm ups, book lessons with me today through TakeLessons for further instructions!
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
Photo by SOMBILON ART, MEDIA and PHOTOGRAPHY