Singing is an art that so many of us indulge in on a day-to-day basis, despite if you have the voice of an angel or can’t hit a note to save your life, singing can connect people of all ages, cultures, and languages.
Whether you are a professional or amateur singer, you must recognize that your entire body is your instrument, and understanding how it operates can affect your performance. Because of this, we will explore how to warm up your voice, and why it is so important.
What is a Vocal Warm Up Exercise?
A vocal warm up is defined as “a series of exercises meant to prepare the voice for singing, acting, or other use”.
What do you do to build any muscle? You do exercises! Vocal warm ups are great and I want to push doing warm-ups and scales because that is very important for your voice. It’s stretching your voice higher and lower than you normally would. Your voice requires exercise. - Stevie Mackey (vocal coach to singers such as Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, and more.)
Most times it is usually a few systematic vocal warm up exercises that get your physical voice, mind, and ear all on the same page. Ideally, it will help you get comfortable with your full range before performing so that you are able to hit the extreme notes in your piece.
What is the Importance of Vocal Warm Ups?
You may be asking yourself why vocal warm ups are necessary to begin with. It’s quite simple really, the same way you wouldn’t expect a marathon runner to go straight into a marathon, a dancer to go straight into their performance, or a professional athlete to go straight into a game after they all just rolled out of bed, so too should a singer not go straight into singing without the proper steps.
Your vocal cords are made up of muscles, and just like an athlete you need to prepare your muscles for the workout and strain they will receive during a practice, event, or gig. Warming up allows the muscles to loosen up and relax, and they can actually train you to become a better singer. The more you practice your warm up techniques, the better you will become.
Not only that, but it can help prolong the time you will spend singing by decreasing the chance that you strain your vocal cords. If you don’t warm your voice before singing, chances are you have more trouble pushing for the high or low notes, or tire out your vocal cords prematurely.
By preparing your voice, you’re also better prepared to sing in different styles or registers.
How to Warm up your Voice
Now you understand why, let’s talk about how to warm up your voice! There are many techniques that several professionals recommend, a few of the most common and best vocal warm-ups are things like vowel shapes, humming, lip trills, vocal sirens, or slides.