10 Best Vocal Warm Ups For Singers

(With Audio Examples)

best vocal warm ups for singers

Oh no!!!

You’ve forgotten your vocal warm ups!

No worries…

Here’s a list of 10 great vocal warm ups you can do without needing a vocal warm up track. 

These vocal warm ups do a SWEET job of getting your voice ready to sing so let’s get started!

10 Best Vocal Warm Ups for Singers That You Can Do Any Time!

1. Pulsing ss

Technically speaking the pulsing ss is not a vocal warm up, as its job is to wake up the breathing 

When you wake up the breathing correctly and then go to sing you’ll feel like you’ve woken up your singing voice without even working on it. 

Breathing for singing is that important

Here is an audio example:

Pulsing SS Exercise

How to do a pulsing ss:

1.Take the letter  “S” as in the word “Socks’ ‘ and hold onto the ss. 

2.You then go louder and quieter with that “S”. 

3. Go fast and slow (sounds a bit like a steam train). 

Do this for around 3-5mins or until you feel the effect on your voice. 

The pulsing ss not only wakes up support it also frees up the lower belly which is super important for a correct even supply of air (this supply of air is referred to as FLOW  in singing).  If there is no flow then the throat will lock up and your sound will become tight and thin.

Top Tip:

I like to use the pulsing ss first thing in the morning before I even speak. Then when I go to talk my voice feels light and smooth. Why? Because the voice is supported and flowing due to correct breathing which was woken up by the pulsing ss exercise.

This is such a simple way to wake up your breathing. You will always have a happier singing voice (and speaking voice) after you do this. Oh, and it’s great for waking up the whole body too. 

Almost as good as a little dance!

2. Vocal Slides (Descending slides)

When you first wake up you’ll often yawn 

And when you’re fed up you’ll often sign. 

Both of these are natural descending slides as this action relaxes the voice. Gently activating the vocal folds (they are the dudes you sing with and are located in your voice box).

You can do descending slides on any sound you like for example you could use Nos 5,6,7 or 8 of this vocal warm ups list.

Here is an audio example:

Descending Slides Demo

How to do descending slides: 

1. Prepare your mouth in an m hum shape ( no worries if you don’t know how to do the m hum as its one of vocal warm ups you learn from this list).

2. Think sigh and start to sigh downward – start on a comfortable high note and go down to a comfortable low note. 

3. Do this until the high note opens up to your highest note comfortably and the same for the low note.

Top Tip:

Don’t try to increase the range too quickly. Instead just wait for your voice to open up naturally.

This is a great way to balance the voice stopping you from pushing for the higher notes. You’ll know when to go higher/lower as a high/low note will suddenly just pop out. When this happens use this as your new highest/ lowest starting note for your descending slides warm up.

Descending slides should always be the first sound you use to warm up your voice after you’ve warmed up your breathing.

Once you’ve opened up your vocal range on descending slides it’s time to slide back up with sirens.

3. Sirens Vocal Warm Up

Sirens are similar to the descending slides. The big difference is that sirens slide back up.

The benefit of this is that you work the vocal folds pitch adjustment muscles both ways for a deeper vocal warm up.

Here is an audio example:

Sirens Demo

How to do the siren: 

  1. Prepare your mouth in the m hum position
  2. Slide down as you did with the descending slides and now slide back up again.

As before, make sure to start on a comfortable high note and work down to a comfortable low note. Don’t reach or push for notes, just let your voice open up naturally. Do this for at least 3 mins and always after descending slides.

Top Tip:

Start with slow sirens and then gradually speed them up for a really great warm up.

So now you have the “pulsing ss”, then “descending slides’ ‘ and now the “sirens”. These 3 make a great vocal warm up and can easily cover a 10-20 min vocal warm up routine.

And of course you could just do any one of them and feel warmed up too.

But let’s give you more options and of course learn the sounds we can use on the descending slides and sirens.

4. Humming Warm Ups

Humming is great for bringing your tone forward.

A forward tone simply means that your voice doesn’t sound mumbly; it will be clear and feel as if it’s not stuck in your throat. 

How to do an M Hum: 

1.say the word “mum”. Now say mum but hold the mmmmmmmm. You should feel a resonance, a buzzing feeling (that really tickles!) on the lips. 

If you would like a more detailed tutorial of how to do an m hum then I have a video here where I walk you through the how to do an m hum and then how to apply it to singing a song.

Once you’ve learned the m hum you can use it on the descending slides and sirens that you’ve already learnt. As always do them from 10 – 20 mins or until the voice feels ready to sing.

Top Tip:

There are loads of different types of hum that you can learn that help to balance the voice in different ways.

For example: If you want more head resonance in your high notes then you can use the NG hum.

Humming is still after all these years my go-to for forward tone and a resonant voice.

Try it and you will hear and feel it too in your singing voice.

5. Lip Trill Vocal Warm Up (also called lip bubbles)

A great beginner sound to warm up your voice is the lip trill. It also helps release facial tension and is especially good for tight lips.

This has to be one of the most popular vocal warm up sounds and for good reason as it balances your breathing and your vocal folds nicely and as these 2 things are a huge part of a balanced singing voice you can see why it’s such a great exercise.

I have a detailed how to do a lip trill video here.

Top Tip: 

The lip trill, tongue trill and raspberry (you’ll be learning the tongue trill and raspberry in a moment) are all really great ways to supercharge a vocal warm up so if you don’t have much time then using any of these 3 will get that voice warmed up fast!

6. Tongue Trill Exercise Great For Releasing A Tight Tongue

If the tongue is even slightly too tense then this will start to block the throat stopping your full resonant voice from coming out. 

Another problem with tongue tension is that few singers even know they have it. I have a video here you can check out to see if you have tongue tension. 

Here is an audio example:

Tongue Trill Demo

How to do a tongue trill: 

  1. Say “D” as in the word DAD notice where the tip of the tongue makes contact with roof of your mouth just touching the root of the top front teeth
  2. Now make a DDDDDDDDDDDDDRRRRRRRRRRR sound a machine gun

Remember to check and see if you have tongue tension as it can make a really big difference to the sound of your voice.

7. The Raspberry – The Best of Both Worlds!

The raspberry is a hybrid of both the lip trill and tongue trill so it comes with the tension releasing benefits of both and balances the breathing and vocal focus too.

So why not only teach you this one? 

Because it’s messy!

And a lot of my students don’t like to do it for that reason.

In the singing lessons I need to wear a raincoat when we do this exercise! LOL but if you are struggling with the lip or tongue trill this can be a great one to start on as it will help you get better balance in your voice which in time will help you to free up the tongue and lips enough to do the lip trill and tongue trill.

You can learn how to do the raspberry here.

8. Warm Up On Consonant & Vowel Combinations

Using consonants and vowels together is a great way to warm up your voice and is an ideal way to wake up your jaw, tongue, lips, throat, soft palate (these guys are referred to as your articulators).

Here is a great one to start on: DUD. 

Here is an audio example:

DUD Example

You can play around with any consonant vowel combination.

Here are some others for you to play with. When  you do them, play around with over articulating them and see how this helps your voice as you go higher.

KUK , TUT, LUL , BUB, MUM

So the formula is : consonant + vowel + consonant

Although I have used the U (uh) vowel in the above examples you can use any vowels you like for example:  

EE as in the word he

EH as in the word hen

AH as in the word heart

OH as in the word hot

OO as in the word who

IH as in hit

UU as in hook

AA as in hat

This will keep you going but any vowel will work.

Give it a go and see how it brings your voice forward and also gives you a real good sense of what your voice will feel and sound like when up go to sing on higher pitches.


Top tip:

If you are a beginner make sure you spend most of your warm ups on humming or trills until you have them licked as they will help you to balance your voice automatically.

I often call them energy guides as they show you (when done correctly) how your voice should feel when you sing. All you need to do is copy it (ALL you have to do he says! lol).

9. Memorized Scales

Memorizing a vocal warm up scale is a great way to help you drill down into the sounds you are making rather than your singing being hidden behind the vocal warm up track notes (for example piano notes).

I will often get a student to memorize a Major 4th scale and then just slide on sirens and then move into the scale pattern wherever they want to.

Don’t worry about the starting pitch; the objective is to explore weak areas in the voice with the Major 4th scale. You will be amazed at how much this shows up if you are pushing for a note or any problems.

In Fact… It’s like putting your singing voice under a magnifying glass!

Here is an audio example:

Here is a Major 4th scale for you to learn ( it’s in C Maj). Don’t worry if you don’t know what C Major means just learn the pattern below. Think of it like the most boring, predictable song melody ever!

Note: There are 7 notes in this scale pattern (I play it 3 times here) Don’t worry if the exact notes are to high or low for you just get the pattern down.

Maj 4th Scale Vocal warm up

Now you have the scale, notice how much more focused you are on what you are doing rather than daydreaming when you are listening and singing along with a vocal warm up track (yes you are not the only one! lol)

Then all you need to do is siren around and stop in any area that you feel you need to balance more and do the Major 4th scale over that area.

Top tip:

Use this exercise over the break/flip in your voice to help blend it out.

10. Song Melodies

The beauty of song melodies is that we all know at least one song melody. So you can change these every day if you like (The song melody is the bit that you hum along to… especially if you don’t know the words! ).

So to use this technique simply take an easy song that you love to sing. 

And use one of the vocal warm up sounds you’ve learnt (hum, lip trill, tongue trill, raspberry or consonant vowel) and substitute the words of the song with your warm up sound.

Change the pitch of the song so that the top and bottom notes feel easy for you. Then sing the song slowly, gradually speeding it up as your voice feels more and more warmed up.

You can then also move the song up higher until you are working your highest notes and then change the song so that the lowest notes are working the lowest notes of your vocal range.

Here is an audio example:

Here is an example of me doing this process on the “house of the rising sun”

Song Melody Vocal Warm Up demo

Note: I am only doing it on one line here but feel free to go through the whole song. This is also a great way to get your pitching on point!

Top tip:

If you can’t think of a song then use a nursery rhyme like “row row row your boat”
This is a great way to do a vocal warm up especially if you just want a break from the normal vocal warm up track you have.

What you haven’t got any? Then you can get some really cool vocal warm ups here:

When Should You Do Vocal Warm Ups?

Knowing when to do a vocal warm up is essential if you want your voice to feel warmed up when you go to sing. This  reduces the risk of vocal injury and helps to balance your singing voice so it sounds it’s best every time you go to sing.

Always make sure to warm up your voice just before singing.

Your vocal warm up should last around 10 to 20 minutes. Any longer than this and you are doing a vocal workout which is fine if you are not plaining on singing after.

The exact amount of time to warm up…

Really depends on how your voice is feeling that day.

If it’s a little sluggish due to feeling tired from a bad night’s sleep for example, then your warm up may need to be the full 20 mins. And on other days you may find you only need 10 mins. 

Top Tip:

If you do a vocal warmup and then don’t sing over the next 2 hours then it would be a good idea to do another vocal warmup. But again it depends on how your voice feels on the day.

Remember that your voice is not a machine and will be different everyday so work with it and not against it. In other words, except where it is and don’t get stressed with it. 

A good warm up will really help to set up your voice for a great day of singing, like the ones you’ve learnt about here 😉

10 Best Vocal Warm Ups…Done!

So there you have it. 10 powerful vocal warm up techniques you can use to warm up your voice anywhere, any time.

I like to warm up like this on days when I just want to be more free form or if I have forgotten to bring my vocal warm ups with me before I go up to sing!

Want more help?

I do have a set of simple vocal warm ups that I do at last 5 times a week to keep my voice in great condition for singing. So that I can focus on agility, stamina, range, tone and balance.

You can find out more about them here, combine them with the vocal warm ups from this page and you will never run out of vocal warm ups and it will always feel fresh and exciting to do your vocal warm ups.

Extra Vocal Warm Up Tip!

Remember that vocal warm ups are just that. They warm up your voice ready for singing so make sure that you sing.

Singing in itself can be a vocal warm up just by starting on an easy song and working up to harder songs. Just make sure that you have really good singing technique or singing even easy songs will not give you a good warm up and in fact will make your voice feel worse not better. If in doubt, use the warm ups you’ve learned here and trill the song melody.

Make sure to take the time to really learn the warm ups from this page and you will notice a big improvement in your singing. Use any 1 of them or all of them at least 6 times a week and you will really start to feel a difference in your singing!

Which one are you the most excited to use out of all the vocal warm ups you’ve learned here? 

Let me know in the comments below.

This is vocal coach Dylan signing out yo!

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