Boring old vocal warm ups got you down? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This list of 13 outside-of-the-box vocal warm ups is sure to get your creative juices flowing and help you find your voice again.
So, what are you waiting for? Get warming up!
What Are Some Good Vocal Warm-Ups?
A good vocal warm-up should do more than just prepare your voice for singing. It should also help you to focus, relax, and connect with your breath. The following exercises are designed to help you achieve all of these goals.
- Start by taking a few deep breaths and exhaling slowly.
- Next, try making some gentle vocal sounds, such as hums and glides.
- Then, engage your core muscles by doing some light lip trills.
- Finally, spend a few minutes practicing some specific vocal exercises, such as scales or arpeggios.
By taking the time to warm up your voice before singing, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Your voice will be stronger, more focused, and better prepared to hit those high notes.
Not sure how to get started with creating your new vocal warm ups – and your vocal warm-up routine? Ask your voice instructor for tips! They’ll be able to put you on the right track, plus you’ll learn everything you see in the video below:
Do Vocal Warm-Ups Actually Work?
Whether you’re a professional singer or just enjoy singing in the shower, you’ve probably been told at some point that you should do vocal warm-ups before you start singing. But do they actually work?
Vocal warm-ups are exercises that are designed to prepare your voice for singing or speaking by gradually increasing the range and volume of your vocalizations. These exercises typically involve repetitive sound production at different pitches and tones.
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that vocal warm-ups can be beneficial for singers.
A study published in the International Journal of Voice found that professional singers who did regular vocal warm-ups had better vocal function than those who did not do them. Another study published in The Journal of Voice found that voice students who did vocal warm-ups before their singing lessons had improved pitch accuracy compared to those who did not do them.
Vocal warm-ups may also help to prevent vocal fatigue and injuries. When you use your voice, the muscles in your larynx (voice box) vibrate hundreds of times per second to create sound. This can put a lot of strain on your muscles, which can lead to fatigue and even injuries if you’re not careful. Vocal warm-ups help to gradually increase the blood flow to your vocal muscles, which helps to prevent strain and injuries.
So there you have it! Vocal warm-ups aren’t just a pointless exercise—there’s actually some science to back up their benefits. If you’re looking to improve your vocal range or prevent strain and injuries, doing some simple vocal exercises before you start singing is a good idea.
Vocal Warm Ups for Singers to Try
Properly preparing your voice is a crucial step to having a successful performance; however, it’s not always about scales and arpeggios! As a singer, your entire body is your instrument – so you’ll want to make sure you’re fully warmed up, from head to toe, as well as mentally. Consider adding these outside-the-box vocal warm-ups to get the full effect:
1. Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks
Try to consume as little caffeine as possible before doing your vocal warm ups, and avoid ice cold drinks, as they are known to irritate the throat. The same goes for sodas and fizzy drinks; replace them with some warm water with honey and lemon or herbal teas, which will soothe your throat. Dairy products with a high fat content can negatively impact your voice, as they add mucous, so stay away from these on your days of singing practice. Finally, try not to eat anything for at least two hours before your warm up to make sure you have digested everything and you can take in deep breaths.
2. Warm Up Your Entire Body
As a vocalist, you always want to warm up your entire body beforehand. This gets the blood flowing and helps release tension. Take a few moments to do jumps and twists, and shake your arms and legs to loosen up. Stand up straight and balance your weight on the front of your feet, rather than the heels. Then, relax your shoulders and pay attention to your posture.
3. Relax Your Face
Stretch your face in order to relax it. Try to yawn as widely and openly as you can, to loosen up your facial muscles. Repeat a few times for your mouth and cheeks to expand, which will then allow your larynx to relax, minimizing possible voice straining. Once your face is loose, your larynx will be ready and available to you. With your facial muscles relaxed, singing automatically becomes a lot easier.
4. Breathe In, Breathe Out
Focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily. Take your time; try to inhale for 15 seconds and exhale for another 15. Once you’ve mastered it, take it up to 30 seconds. The deeper the breaths are, the greater the flexibility that your lungs and voice will enjoy.
5. Twist Your Tongue
Tongue twisters are one of the most effective vocal warm ups, so it’s important to make them part of your pre-singing routine. Make your tongue pronounce every letter and syllable clearly a few times until you finish all the letters of the alphabet and their combinations. Exaggerate your lips and tongue every time you repeat a syllable – start slowly at first, and try to speed it up as you go. This exercise will instantly free your tongue and help calm your nerves.
6. Relax Your Neck
Make sure you also take care of your neck, which adds strength to your voice. Relax by smoothly rolling your head from left to right and right to left. Do gentle circular head rolls and stretch your neck muscles by letting your head fall as far back, right, front, and left as you can move it.
7. De-stress Your Jaw
Singers often neglect their jaw, but if there is any tension there, it will have a negative effect on your singing. To make sure that your voice displays all its natural color and warmth without getting easily tired, massage both your cheeks with your hands by rotating your palms as they gently push down on your cheeks. Repeat 10 times.
8. Try Humming
Humming is another great way to warm up before singing. Stand completely relaxed, make yourself comfortable and just start humming one of your favorite tunes. Let your entire face vibrate, from your eyes and nose to your mouth and neck, as it will help you control your breathing and build endurance. Keep it going for as long as you can.
Need a visual demonstration? Check out the short video below for how to incorporate humming (and a few other helpful exercises) into your warm up routine.
9. Relax the Lips
Imagine for a moment that you’re swimming underwater and you’re exhaling through your lips. This produces a “brbrbrbrbr” bubble sound. Try to reproduce that feeling and sound as you let a deep breath out in order to relax your lips. This exercise allows you to produce a rich, effortless sound and it will take strain off your voice by placing some of the air pressure onto your lips.
With all of these vocal warm ups, make sure you put aside enough time to complete them. You will need at least 15 minutes and a quiet, relaxing place with no distractions. Focus on what you’re doing, and get rid of all unnecessary tension.
10. Vocal Warm Ups for Kids
While performances are a lot of fun, they can also be nerves-wracking for kids. One way to help ease their performance anxiety is to make sure their vocal chords are nice and warm before they go onstage. Here are a few vocal warm ups you can do at home with your little one to get their voice ready for the big show!
- Flapping: Have your child take a deep breath in through their nose and then let it out with a big “ha” sound. As they exhale, have them flap their arms up and down like wings. This is a great way to release any excess energy and get some air flowing to the vocal cords. Repeat this 5-10 times.
- Humming: Have your child hum gently as they exhale. Start with a low note and then have them gradually slide up to a higher note. Encourage them to focus on keeping their jaw relaxed as they do this. Repeat this 5-10 times, going up and down the scale.
- Sirens: This one may be noisy, but it’s very effective! have your child take a deep breath in and then exhale slowly, making a long “woo-woo” sound like a siren. They should start low and then gradually get higher until they run out of breath. Make sure they’re using their stomach muscles to control their breathing—not their throat! Repeat this 5-10 times.
- Tongue Twisters: tongue twisters are not just for warming up your articulation—they’re great for vocal warm up sentences, too! Pick a short phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it several times slowly, emphasizing different words each time. For example, if you choose the phrase “She sells seashells by the seashore,” they could emphasize the following words on different repeats: “She,” “sells,” “seashells,” “by,” “the,” and “seashore.” Once they’ve got the hang of it, ramp up the speed until they’re saying it as quickly as possible without slurring their words together.
11. 5 Min Vocal Warm Up
Here are five minutes of vocal warm up exercises that you can do every day:
- Start by taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. Repeat this several times.
- Next, hum gently for 30 seconds.
- Then, do some gentle lip rolls. purse your lips and make a “r” sound, moving your lips in a circular motion.
- Open your mouth wide and take a deep breath, then hold it for 10 seconds before exhaling slowly.
- Finally, sing a scale on any vowel sound, starting from a low note and going up to a high note. Make sure to use proper breathing technique as you sing.
Doing these simple exercises every day will help to improve your vocal range and tone, and prevent injury. So take a few minutes each day to Warm up your voice, and you’ll see the benefits in no time!
12. 10 Minute Vocal Warm Up
Here are some tips for doing a simple 10 minute vocal warm up. First, start by doing some gentle neck and shoulder rolls to loosen up your muscles. Next, take a deep breath and hum for a few seconds.
Then, gradually increase the volume of your humming until you are at a comfortable level. After that, do some lip trills by making a “bzzt” sound with your lips. Once again, start quietly and gradually increase the volume.
Finally, end with some deep breaths and try saying some vowel sounds out loud, holding each one for a few seconds. Remember to breathe from your diaphragm while doing all of these exercises. By the end of the 10 minutes, your voice should be nice and warmed up!
13. Vocal Warm Up Tongue Twisters
This one’s a classic (and a repeat on the list) for a reason. Tongue twisters are great for getting your mouth moving and warming up your articulation muscles. Plus, they’re just plain fun to say! Try this one: “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if the woodchuck could chuck wood?”
How Long Should Vocal Warm-Ups Be?
If you’re new to singing, you might be wondering how long your vocal warm-ups should be. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the intensity of your warm-up and the amount of time you have available. In general, most vocal warm-ups should last for about 10-15 minutes.
One factor that will affect the length of your vocal warm-up is the intensity of the exercises you’re doing. If you’re doing simple exercises that are designed to gradually wake up your voice, then your warm-up can be on the shorter side. However, if you’re doing intense exercises that are designed to get your voice ready for strenuous activity, then you’ll need a longer warm-up.
Another factor to consider is the amount of time you have available for your warm-up. If you only have 5 minutes before your rehearsal or performance, then a shorter, simpler warm-up is probably all you’ll have time for. On the other hand, if you have 20 minutes before your rehearsal or performance, then you can afford to do a longer and more intense warm-up.
Vocal Warm Ups Are Essential for All Singers!
If you’re finding it difficult to relax and properly prepare for a performance, you may want to practice vocal warm ups with a private voice teacher. A professional’s help can really make a difference in your confidence, build strength and endurance, and help you release tension.