Vocal Warm-ups For All Types Of Singers

  • September 21, 2017

Warming up your vocal apparatus is extremely important in the care and preparation needed to sing your very best.  We should become greater connected with the various parts that make it possible to sing.

These consist of breath support (the lungs and diaphram), vibration (vocal cords in the larynx), and a series of resonant chambers (the pharynx, the mouth, and the nasal cavities. These are all made up of delicate parts that need control, development and and expansion without the cause for straining. Starting with some gentle stretches and sing exercises can get you ready for your next singing session.

Vocal Stretches For Warming up The Body

As you know, tension can be detrimental to your capacity to sing. Keep in mind just how many large and tiny muscles you are flexing, and the amount of energy it requires to engage all of those muscles while belting out your favorite tune!

Essentially we are creating muscle resistance, which in turn causes tension. It is, therefore, crucial to warm up those larger muscles and prepare them, as a long distance runner would before a run. How? Simply by stretching and using vocal warm-up exercises, thus reducing stress, relaxing those muscles, in effect fine 'tuning' our body the way you would a guitar.

If the strings are too tight, the guitar will sound out of tune.Not to mention over stressing the strings can cause them to break. Do you see the connection?

Here are 10 simple and fun stretches to get you warmed up and ready to howl the night away! There's no doubt you'll look and feel really silly, but these are highly effective at relaxing you and reducing tension.

  1. 1
    Chest Stretch: You can sit or stand. Lace your fingers together behind your head or lower back. Inhale a deep breath in, and slowly exhale, while pressing your elbows behind you as far as you can, squeezing your shoulder blades together.Arch your back slightly to stretch out your chest, abs, and shoulders. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Exhale fully, relax and repeat.
  2. 2
    Neck Stretch:. Tilt your head to the left. Place your left hand on the top right side of your head. Take a breath, and as you exhale, gently press downward. To increase the stretch on your left side of your neck, drop the right shoulder to increase the distance between your left ear and your left shoulder. Don't force it. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the right side
  3. 3
    Hip Stretch: Sit on the edge of a chair. Place your left ankle across your right knee. Then place your right hand on the top of the left knee. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, gently press the knee downward to stretch the outer left hip. Hold for 15-20 seconds, and repeat once on the other side.
  4. 4
    Lower Back Stretch: Lie down on your back. Keep your left leg straight on the floor. Bend and hold your right knee. Gently clasp the top of your right shin, below your knee, and slowly pull it towards your chest, hold 15-20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This will release tension in your lower back, hips, and glutes.
  5. 5
    The Yawn: It's fairly self-explanatory. Yawning, also known as 'opening the throat' will ease and relax your face and neck muscles, but more importantly, raise the soft pallet( the soft fleshy part at the top of your throat). This creates a vocal release in the throat lowering the tension and possibility of constricting. Caution: do not hyperventilate! Take full and deep yawns to be most effective. Try and stay awake!
  6. 6
    Jaw Stretch: These stretches supplement tyawningawn stretch, warming up and relaxing the same muscles. Move the bottom of your jaw up, down and side to side.
  7. 7
    Pucker Up: Your lips play a significant role towards your singing ability. Start by pretending to park a wet one on your significant other, so to speak. Then try sucking your lips in completely as possible – into your mouth. Believe it or not, there are 3 muscles groups that control lip movement, and this is how you stretch them. Have fun with that one!
  8. 8
    The Silly Smile: Hold your lips shut, then try slowly raising the corners of your mouth as much as possible. Viola! You look like an idiot!, but trying this a couple of times shows you're a good sport!
  9. 9
    Eyebrow Lift: Part of relaxing that irresistible face of yours is to warm up the muscles in your eyes. Begin by raising and lowering your eyebrows. You will start to notice other muscles like your scalp, nose, and jaw.
  10. 10
    The Eye Roll: Yup, more eye stretches! Picture yourself in an aerobic class for your eye balls. Move them up and down, and up and down. Take your time. Too easy? You're not allowed to move your head. Now, side to side, and side to side. Lastly, roll them round and round, and finished. 

Warming up Your Vocal Cords 

Now we will begin to cover a few basic vocal exercises to now prepare your muscles in your mouth, throat, tongue, and diaphragm. Applying these simple warm-up techniques will make your breath control, articulation, projection, range, and tone much easier to produce when about to perform or practice. All professionals will set aside time for warm-up before a performance. Running through a number of scales, breathing exercises, and stretching.

In this lesson will we cover 4 simple exercises including Lip Rolls, Humming, Slides & Sirens, and Tongue Trills. Provided below are explanations of the movements.

As you try each of the exercises, keep in mind that you perform these using good posture, standing balanced keeping your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Take some deep breaths, employing the full power of your diaphragm. Avoid anything that could constrict the throat including alcohol, coffee, soda pop, and never practice singing when you have a throat infection.

  • Lip rolls. This is an excellent way to warm up all areas of your range immediately without causing strain, as well as freely upping your range, compressing cords to hit higher notes, while loosening the jaw, tongue, and lips.Rather than being concerned with other elements like tone, enunciation, and pure vowels, you are free free to simply work on hitting the notes without the extra tension.The idea is to blow through your lips, causing them to vibrate rapidly. Take a deep breath, then blow out between your lips. Not too loose.Keep your lips tight enough together to create the right amount of resistance.
  • Humming.  Another simple exercise for vocal warm-up is humming. Boosting the "internal resonance" your vocal chords create will raise your capacity to hear and better perceive your tone internally, enabling you to tune before you begin singing.This is strongly encouraged by vocal coaches as it correctly enhances the positioning of the diaphragm, mouth, throat and nasal passages.Begin by making an hmm sound.  You should allow the pitch to shift upwards as you hum.As your pitch increases, you will start to feel a buzzing like feeling in your nose. You may even feel it in your it in your eyes, all the way to your head. the voiced pitches.Try this exercise: Hum the first 4 notes of the basic scale. Hum do re mi fa, then try in reverse, back to do.
  • Slides & Sirens.  You want to open up your throat and allow the air to move forward, sliding up and down your pitches in a smooth, gentle transition. Increase your volume and pitch by stretching. Not pushing, avoiding any tension.
  •  Tongue Trills. An excellent alternative to the lip trill, especially if you are struggling with monitoring your controlled air flow. You may be able to sustain your tone longer if the lip trill is too difficult.The tongue trill uses the same principle in that you exhale and gently resist the flow in a controlled manner as the tongue vibrates with the passing air. See the video above for a visual description.

 Now that your body is stretched out and relaxed, you can begin a 5 minute warm up. Follow along with th video below to complete your singing warm up session. From there you should be ready to start practicing the songs you want to improve upon.

Learn - Practice - Repeat

The real key to strengthening your voice is singing as much as you can. But in order to accomplish this, you need to habitually build up your singing stamina through the above exercises and techniques. So commit a little time before you begin your practice or performance. Think of what an athlete does to prepare even before practicing...they warm-up!

We hope you enjoyed some of these basic warm-up exercises, and encourage you to put them into practice daily.If you are serious about taking your singing to the next level, please don't forget to get your copy of "How To Improve Your Singing Voice" eBook free for signing up to our newsletter program that shares free singing tips as well as offering specific training on different singing goals.