Using singing warm-ups to effectively warm up your singing voice
Singing warm-ups are important as they protect your vocals and prepare your voice for an audition. A warmed up voice stands out when watching an audition in comparison to the one that’s left and over-rehearsed. Singing warm-ups help a singer get the most out of their singing voice.
Good posture is one of the simplest steps in singing warm-ups. Good posture helps with the airflow through your body. The best way to stand is with your legs shoulder-width apart and your feet firmly on the floor. If you choose to sit rather than sound, sit on the edge of the chair, back straight and don’t lean on the chair.
Singing warm-ups are important every time a singer is singing, whether it’s a practice or a performance.
Most people have the poor habits of using only the top of their lungs, avoid this. If you feel tense at all whilst breathing it will show through your voice. Keep your shoulders low and your chest relaxed.
No hot or cold drinks
Room temperature water is the best drink to have whilst doing your singing warm-ups. Avoid dairy drinks completely as they coat your voice and don’t let all the voice through. Hot and cold drinks have negative effects on your vocals before an audition.
Ease all tension and relax your body
This will ease your mind and steady your voice. Try having a small snack to settle your stomach, but not so you feel full. A banana is a good example. Chewing gum can help relieve tension in your jaw, but if you haven’t eaten, don’t chew for too long, it can cause digestion issues.
Relaxing your jaw allows for the best movement when singing, it’s best to massage your cheeks with the heel of each hand.
Without doing singing warm-ups your risk damaging your voice, something that could hinder your singing career.
Going through the scales is the most popular singing warm-ups and for good reason. Practising the scales is something that will help you to see what you’re comfortable with and what may be a struggle. It also prepares your voice for every note you’re likely to hit during your audition. Gradually build your scales as starting too high or too low will damage your vocals.
Humming is one of the most effective singing warm-ups. It helps to cool down your voice, but also helps to warm it up without the straining of singing. Humming through the scales is an effective technique. Also, ensure your voice is warmed up before an audition to protect your vocals and also to help build your vocal confidence. Without warming up voice up you risk damaging your voice during the performance and affecting your audience. Remember no matter what happens, just enjoy it, you’ve been given the opportunity to sing for someone, embrace it!
Why should you warm-up?
It’s much like an athlete – you wouldn’t start to run or play a match without stretching and limbering up the muscles needed to perform at peak fitness. Neglecting warm-ups and training could well result in an injury. Protect your voice and it’ll serve you far better.
Your vocal cords are powerful. But if misused or forced, can be damaged, resulting in problems like voice strain, laryngitis and even vocal nodules – a problem that has recently affected Adele. Get into a good practice knowing how to warm up your vocals as well as how to warm down your voice and you’ll avoid injury, strengthen it a great deal, and sound amazing. So let’s take a look at how we go about preparing to begin.
Vocal warm-ups for choirs
Choral warm-ups are slightly different, in that they can’t be tailored to the individual. If you lead a choir or singing group, you’ll need generic exercises to work with all vocal ranges and possible, levels of ability.
The basic vocal warm-up principles and exercises covered here will work, especially scales such as a classic arpeggio. But scales will need to be led with the choir leader setting and keeping the tempo – if everyone goes at their own pace chaos will soon ensue! Having an accompanist makes this much easier, as the group will automatically follow the piano. Tongue twisters don’t work so well in unison, but canon singing does. And group singing in unison sounds really impressive.
Thinking once again about an athlete: teams and players will always stretch to warm down after a game or event, as well as warming up. As a singer, it’ll help keep your voice in good health, if you gently warm it down too. This is especially the case if you’ve been working to the edge of your range and belting it out.
Warm down exercises should be easy and restorative.
- Release any tension using gentle head rolls.
- Work through some soft sirens using an ‘n’ sound and not taking it to the very edges of your range.
- Cooldown your pitch raising muscles with a vocal creak.
- Rest your voice after a strenuous set – that includes talking and shouting.
- Take lots of warm – or room temperature – water. Make this a general practice, not just after singing. Hydrating your body has many benefits.
Without a vocal warm-up, you risk damaging your voice during the performance and affecting your audience’s perception of your talent. But remember no matter what happens, just enjoy it, you’ve been given the opportunity to sing for someone, embrace it!. And now you know how to warm up your voice properly – whether you have little or lots of time – you can let it shine.