Why Are Vocal Warm Ups Important?
I know you'd love for me to lie to you and tell you that singing exercises AREN'T important and that you can just get straight into working on your songs in your practice session, but unfortunately honesty wins again.
PFFT! WHY DO I HAVE TO WARM UP AT ALL?
Well smarty pants, when you are singing you use the vocal cords (soft tissue) and the inner muscles of the larynx (the muscles that control the closing of your cords). These guys are to be treated kindly as they're pretty delicate.
We need to stretch and relax the muscles before we sing, just as we would warm up before going for a run or lifting weights. Warming up loosens those muscles, helps to remove excess mucous and reduces the risk of injury (because let's face it, losing your voice sucks).
Commit to at least 15 - 20 minutes to really wake up the muscles in a caring, you're-important-to-me way.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WARM UP?
In an "ideal world vocal warm up," you should begin with gentle exercises that put as little pressure on the muscles as possible, release any tension in the throat and neck and allow only a small amount of air to pass through the vocal cords.
Humming and using lip trills are two great ways to do this. As you progress through your warm up you can introduce more air flow and produce sounds that are closer to the normal singing of words and phrases that you are used to.
They don't all have to be short, simple and repetitive, some exercises tend to be longer and more complex - training you for more complicated phrases in songs.
I have a set called Not Your Average Vocal Exercises based on pop and rock songs that are more upbeat and interesting if you want to check them out.
DO VOCAL EXERCISES HELP DEVELOP MY VOICE?
Because exercises are often simple in nature, you can focus more on technique without getting caught up in the lyrics or tapping into the emotion of the song.
They're great to work on smoothing out your break, releasing tension, developing your mix and strengthening areas of your voice.
Regular vocal warm ups also keep your voice in shape (just without the lycra). Just as with other muscles in your body, you need to develop your singing muscles to work efficiently and as they become stronger, your voice will too.
Keen to get a bunch of vocal exercises to practice with for FREE right now (plus 3 full length singing workshops and other super useful downloads)?
WHAT'S THEIR PURPOSE TECHNIQUE-WISE?
There are thousands of vocal exercises devised by singing teachers all around the world, all with different purposes.
Some vocal exercises will focus on vocal agility, others on extending your range, but all of them centre around relaxing your muscles, letting go of vocal tension and preparing your voice for a safe and healthy singing performance.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...
Here's a little something I put together to help you get the most out of your warm up (because if you're clever and disciplined, it'll help you get some super impressive results.
So next time you feel like skipping your vocal warm up PLEASE DON'T.
I know it seems boring, but flip that perspective and set yourself up some goals. Make it playful. Challenge yourself!