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If you are a beginner singer, chances are you might be wondering how to warm up your voice when you practice at home.
Many of my students – especially the adult ones – mention that after our weekly lesson their voice sounds easy and they can sing songs nicely. However, when they practice at home, the songs don’t sound easy anymore and the whole voice production is a struggle.
Of course, in the lesson, we take the whole instrument step by step to be working efficiently, but at home, if you don’t know what your body needs and you start practicing random scales, you might not have the same results.
As a singer, you have a very complex instrument. An alive instrument! This is amazing but it can be a pain because it is not as simple as getting a guitar in tune.
In fact, a lot of students don’t even warm up their voices. Let alone their whole instrument! As a singer, your instrument is much more than just your vocal cords.
So today let’s take a look at how to effectively warm up your voice for singing 🙂
Singing in a healthy and effective way requires quite a bit of coordination from your body. For you to be able to use the voice in a functional way, you have to have your brain and body aligned for it.
What do I mean by this? Let’s say you just woke up. Most people will find it hard to sing with their morning voice! Your body tone will be low and it will take an extra effort for you to produce sound. In this case, it would be good for you to do some body movements that get your body tone to a healthy level so you can be ready to sing.
Equally when you sing you are using specific voice muscles that you need to get ready as well, as you would do with any muscles! You (hopefully) don’t just go and practice a demanding sport right away without warming up the muscles that you will be using for it.
So warming up the voice is necessary for an effective practice but also to avoid voice injuries and to keep your voice healthy.
Setting your practice’s purpose is crucial if you want to have an effective practice that brings you closer to your bigger goals.
In a previous post, I covered how to set up goals and purposes for singing and its importance of it. You can read the article HERE.
Every one of your practicing sessions should be done with a goal in mind. Otherwise, it is like getting into the car and driving with no direction!
Your daily practice goals will be slightly different each day but they will be aligned with your bigger goals. For example, if one of your goals for this year is to feel comfortable singing in public, then a goal for today could be to practice a song and record yourself to send the video to a friend so you can start feeling comfortable with the idea of other people hearing you singing.
Or your daily goal could be to nail a specific melody of a song that you are preparing to perform in public one day.
Once you set up your goal for the day, practicing will be much easier and you will get better results out of it.
Warming up your body for singing will depend on two things: how are you feeling today and what do you need for your body to be aligned with your practice goal.
If you are feeling really tired and you are practicing “Listen” by Beyonce, you will probably have to do quite a bit more work than if you are feeling fantastic and have to sing a song that matches your emotion.
It will also depend on the time of the day. If you just woke up, it would be good for you to do a gentle walk to wake up your muscles, and some gentle stretches.
Before I start my singing practice I like to do some joint rotations. I also like to breathe by opening my arms all the way up as I inhale, and down as I exhale. I repeat this movement a few times and I feel much more energised. Most of the time I have to practice singing at about 7 or 8 am so I do need to feel energised. If I have to practice in the evening or at a moment of the day in which I am feeling a bit stressed, I prefer to go for a walk or spend some time doing deep breathing exercises.
It is also about finding how YOUR body works best! For you, it might work amazingly well to sing after a yoga class or a run. If you want to be in control of your instrument as a singer you do need to get to know it well first.
Again, this will be different for every singer. Because every voice works differently! Also, everyone needs a different amount of time to warm up. But in general, the first step of your voice warm-up will be to wake up your voice muscles and help them be in “singing mode”.
A safe way to “awake” your voice is with exercises of semi occlusion. There are lots of them! If you are a singing enthusiast you probably heard of the lip trills? Of course, the lip trills are only one of the many options you have. If you know how to do lip trills go for it, otherwise, an easy way to perform a semi occlusion vocal warm-up is to get a straw and sing through it. You want to make sure that you are holding the straw with your fingers instead of only with your mouth (so you don’t tense your jaw and your lips). Also, check that while you are singing through it, if you block the end of the straw the sound stops and that there is not too much air coming through the straw.
You can practice this first warm up with the following backing track (make sure that you sing a “slide” between the notes in every repetition!):
Secondly, another gentle exercise you can do is an oo sound with a slide. You can use the same track to perform this exercise. This time we will focus on using our body to expand our breathing.
Breathe in while opening your arms to the sides. Start singing when you finish lifting your arms, and keep your arms up while singing. Bring your arms down before the next repetition. Follow the track to sing some nice slides with oo.
These two exercises are generally good for most singers. After you practice them, you can get into more specific practice for whatever you are working on right now.
If you want to train directly with me (Jorgelina):
I am currently fully booked for regular students but I am working on some awesome holistic singing online courses – make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when they are ready!
Alternatively you can have casual lessons with me (online or in person) – click HERE to book yours!
I train singers from a holistic and integral approach❤️
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