When you play basketball, baseball, or even go running, it’s important to stretch out the your muscles in order to prevent injury. Similarly, it is important to warm up your vocal chords prior to performing any strenuous singing activities. Singing places significant levels of strain on the voice, and also stresses the diaphragm muscles. Proper voice warm up exercises can help stretch these vocal muscles out, and prepare them for vigorous singing activities. The following lists three different exercises that you can practice to warm up your voice.
Humming as a Voice Warm Up Exercise
Try saying the word “hmmmm?” This is called humming, and is one of the most basic exercises for vocal warm up.
- Say the word “hmm?” You should allow the pitch to shift upwards as you hum.
As your pitch moves higher, you should feel a buzzing sensation in your nose. This sensation may progress towards your eyes and move upwards into your head. The humming sound will resonate inside your head, resonating off the space inside your skill to amplify the voiced pitches.
- Repeat the voice warm up by saying “hmmm?” This time allow the pitch to shift downwards. This should be similar to the noise made when you are contemplative.
Feel the buzzing sensation move downwards into the chest area.
- Hum the first three notes of the basic scale. Hum do re mi, then return to mi do
- Repeat this exercise 3 times
Do Rei Mi Rei Do
- Repeat the do rei mi exercise, but shift up to the next pitch. Singing employs a variety of pitch ranges, so you want to warm up your vocal chords to all of the ranges.
- Repeat this exercise at each pitch 3 times
The Lip Trill Voice Warm Up Exercise
Pretend that you are underwater. Imagine blowing air out from your lips, feeling the vibrating sensation of your lips as air exits from your lungs.
Perform this same motion, only this time you are outside the water. Relax your lips as you release air from your mouth. Your diaphragm muscles should control the release of air. It sometimes help to place one hand against either side of jaw to focus the passage of air on vibrating the lips.
Special note: avoid blowing air from your mouth using your lip muscles. Your lips should be completely relaxed and air should be moved through the mouth using your diaphragm.
Watch the video below to hear what a lip trill should sound like.
Once you are able to perform the lip trill successfully, practice trilling a single note.
- First hum the note, in order to properly benchmark against a quality sound
- Reproduce the note using a lip trill exercise.
- Practice a five note basic scale using lip trills.
- Repeat this scale three times
- Practice the scale using a higher pitch range with the lip trill, repeating each note three times.
- Practice the scale using a lower pitch range with the lip trill. Repeat each note three times.
Practicing lip trills can help warm up your diaphragm and aid in relaxing the lips. Relaxed lips will help you better articulate when you are speaking and singing because this allows the mouth to pronounce words and sounds easier.
Voice Warm Up Exercise by Singing Musical Scales
Practicing the basic musical scales is a good way to warm up your voice, in addition to reviewing basic notes and pitches. All good singers should practice basic singing scales regularly in order to keep the voice and ears in pitch when they actually sing.
The basic major scale consists of 7 notes:
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti
Complete the major scale by including another “do” in a higher octave following the last “Ti” note.
Practice a voice warm up exercise by following the below steps:
- Sing a low “do” note for a 5 second period
- Move up the basic scale in sequential order, holding each note for a 5 second period.
Special note: always begin a voice warm up exercise with lower notes because lower notes place less tension on the vocal chords.
- Next, sing another basic musical scale called the “Major Arpeggio.” Hold each note for a 5 second period also.
Do, Mi, So, (high)Do
- Repeat the basic major scale using a higher pitch range
- Repeat the basic major scale using a lower pitch range
- Repeat the major arpeggio scale using a higher pitch
- Repeat the major arpeggio scale using a lower pitch