Vocal warm ups and downs should be done by anyone who uses their voice for singing or as a professionally speaker. Warming up your voice before singing or speaking will help prevent vocal injury and keep your voice sounding pleasant.
I have known singers to start a gig with some easy numbers so that they can warm up their voices on the songs. This is not a good idea for the singer or the audience! Warm up your voice focusing on a balanced sound and you will feel great, your voice will feel amazing and you will last the night!
Why should I do a vocal warm up?
Think of yourself as a vocal athlete, no athlete would go for a race without warming up their muscles as the risk of getting an injury on cold muscles is high.
Muscles when warmed up are more responsive and thus more predictable, so what you expect to come out of your mouth will!
What are the best exercises for me to warm up my voice on?
The age old rule of “keep it simple” totally applies here. I always start my students on:
1) Descending slides
2) Sirens – over a 5th then octave
3) Slide up scale down
4) Descending triplets
Check the video out for examples of the above. If you do these correctly you will notice that your voice feels ready to sing.
How long should I warm up my voice for?
If you are a beginner you should warm up your voice for around 10 minutes but everyone is different. Learn to listen to your voice, remember that the aim of a good warm up is to get the voice ready to sing or speak, so your warm up should be long enough so that you feel just that. If you feel like you need longer than 10 minutes then do longer but don’t do so long that you don’t last the gig. Don’t forget to warm down at the end too!
What are the best sounds to warm up and down my voice?
Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises! Sorry about the fancy words there, basically anything that takes some weight of the vocal folds. These sounds also have the added bonus of balancing the breath support beautifully with the vocal folds. Some examples are below:
1) Lip trill
2) Tongue trill
3) MM hum
4) N Hum
5) NG hum
These are the top 5 but there are others. I would suggest that you learn all of them as I believe that variation will keep your vocal muscles on their feet and encourage improved flexibility and strength, leading to a better all-round voice.
Here is another video where I use the Lip trill, to warm up the voice, without scales 🙂
So there you have it, you now know why you should warm up your voice. If you watch and work along with me on the video, then you will know how to warm up your voice as well.