Doing vocal warm-ups is an essential part of being a singer. Just like dancers need to stretch their muscles before a performance, vocalists should warm up their vocal cords before a performance. Vocal warm-ups are one of the key essentials if you want to avoid straining and damaging your vocal cords. Injuries that can occur from not properly warming up include vocal nodules and polyps.
Start by warming up your voice for 10 to 20 minutes prior to a rehearsal or performance. Select a vocal exercise that works for you and sing the exercise softly at first and then gradually increase your volume. Here are a few easy warm-ups to get you started:
- Breathe out through your mouth releasing all the air from your lungs. Once your lungs feel completely empty, relax your stomach, open your mouth and allow the air to come back in. Repeat several times. Now breathe in again and when you release the air add an ‘sss’ sound. See how long you can hold it. Try this again using ‘shh’ and ‘fff’ sounds.
- Start on a single held note “ah” then change the vowel sound to “oh” then “oo” then back again moving only your lips. Then start on “ah” again and, moving only your tongue, change the vowel sound to “eh” then “ee” then back again.
- Scale exercises are also great. Doing scales warms up your voice, extending it to its top and bottom ranges. Not only do scale exercises warm-up your vocal cords, but they also improve pitch memory and they’re great for improving your singing technique.
- Another great vocal warm-up is humming! The fact that humming can be done almost anywhere at any time makes it one of the best all-around vocal exercises!