Vocal warm ups are powerful and essential to making a singer’s voice explicit and keeping the vocal cords intact. The problem is often that most singers do not know easy steps for effective vocal warmup.
Someone once said and I quote ‘When you don’t work out or warm up your vocal cords they get tired out, and so the best way to increase the quality of your voice is quality work out and warm up.” This simply means that your vocal cords depends on vocal warm ups to survive, just as we all need air to survive.
Vocal warm ups aren’t just any other exercises. If you don’t get it right, then your vocal warm ups won’t be effective.
Let me guide you through some essentials to good vocal warm up exercises. This is sure to help attain the vocal goals.
VOCAL WARMUP EXERCISES
The Basic Stance or Good Posture Exercise
The basic stance is the natural position you need to attain to do all the vocal warm up. Good posture helps to put you in good shape, ready for your warm up. When done correctly, eventually your body automatically takes to it when you want to vocalize.
1. Close your eyes (optional)
2. Your feet should be shoulders apart
3. Check that your weight are evenly distributed between your feet (Rock slightly forward and backward and from side to side to test it)
4. Your knees should be slightly bent.
5. Your pelvis should be slightly tipped under
6. Your head should be balanced on top of your neck
7. Your shoulders should be relaxad back and down (Roll them around in their joints a few times backwards to check).
8. Your arms should be loose at your sides
9. Your hands and fingers should be relaxed, and all muscles in your face should be relaxed as well.
10. Your stomach should be loose and relaxed.
11. Your mouth should be relaxed and open remember you are breathing in through your mouth.
12. Now take in a deep relaxing breath and let it out.
SHOULDER RISE WARMUP EXERCISE
The second step to effective vocal warm up is what I call ‘Shoulder Rise’.
For vocal warm up to be effective, most parts of your body has to be free from tension, especially the shoulder, neck and head.
Tension can wreck havoc not only to your general state, but also to your voice as well. As it relates to your voice, the first place tension goes to is your shoulders.
As a singer, if you’re very observant, you will notice that when tension creeps in, you will automatically feel your shoulders start to climb up and hunch over.
For example, when we are angry or when a child cries loud, it causes tension on your our voice. In shcu cases, your voice can get tight, thin, and in some people higher when the shoulders is tensed up.
WARMUP EXERICE TO RELIEVE TENSION FROM THE SHOULDER
Now here is a vocal warmup exercise to help relieve tension from your shoulder. Enjoy!
1. Get in your basic stance(good posture)
2. Raise your shoulders until you feel them envelope your neck and touches your ears. Leave them this way for a slow count of 15.
3. Inhale and exhale, then drop your shoulders back to its normal position.
4. Roll them around in their joints backwards and then forwards a few times.
5. Inhale and exhale again.
6. Repeat the exercise if you still feel any tension.
This is guaranteed to relieve tension and get your vocal cords ready for singing. Be sure to follow this steps.
The Drop Down Breathing Warmup Exercise
Just like I usually say, the breath is the fuel for singing. So it is for vocal warm ups too. If you can manage your breath well during warm ups, then you are good to go during singing.
For vocal warm ups to be effective, your breathing must be properly done. The drop down breathing is the best way to ensure that the breath is being taken in all the way down to the intercostal muscles (The muscles in the rib cage) and not just in to the upper chest.
How do you go about the drop down breathing then?
1. Get into the basic stance (Good posture)
2. Drop your head forward so that your chin is resting on your chest.
3. Grasp your hands and put them behind your head, with fingers on the back of your skull and palms resting on the side.
4. Allow the weight of your hands to carry your head all the way back.
5. Take a deep breath and exhale in this position. You should feel the breath going all the way down if you are doing it correctly.
6. Take a full deep breath in and slowly out while returning to your head to its normal position.
7. You are now back in the basic stance, now take a deep inhalation and exhalation.
So that’s it, the drop down breathing. Do this correctly and you are sure a step away from proper vocal warm up.
Ensure you try this.
Let me talk about the next step now.
Touching Sound Warmup Exercise
Have you noticed I had been so focused on body and breath only before now and not sound? Well, it was deliberate.
When you are able to relax both in your body and in breath, that’s when you are ready to add sound to your vocal warm up. If you add sound before this, chances are, you will add tension back in, which at this point we know is bad for both relaxation and voice.
In vocal warm ups, the sound should be free, easy and relaxed.
Let’s do this together,
1. Get into basic stance.
2. Now take in a deep breath, as you exhale through your mouth, say “huh”
3. Repeat step 2 again, remember keep it light, relaxed and easy.
So, there you go. Keep at these and it will sure help with your vocal warm ups, and eventually, your vocal power.
I am Music Estate’s Music Director