Have you ever wondered why we do vocal warm-ups? Or why we need voice lessons or a vocal coach to help with these warm-ups? Can you really learn to sing or is it something that you are born with?
Just like athletes warm-up before they practice or before a big game, a vocalist must warm-up his or her voice. The voice is made up of tiny muscles, and in order to avoid damage when singing (like nodes or hoarseness), we must do vocal warm-ups.
Warming up will help us have more vocal control when we sing. It will help engage our diaphragm and help with breathing. Vocal warm-ups will help ensure that we have a long and healthy life as a singer. One of the main goals in performing vocal warm-ups is to free ourselves from tension. Tension often comes from incorrect support and a lack of breathing, so often, in voice lessons, we will work on breathing exercises and body relaxation.
Vocally warming-up before we perform serves a different purpose than warming up our voice in a lesson. In lessons, teachers (like myself) warm-up the voice to work on technique and to help grow vocal abilities. We work on diction, agility, range, tone, etc. Before a performance, we are warming up the voice to make sure that our muscles are properly warmed and stretched, that the voice will be able to handle the strain and tension that is about to placed on it, and to avoid injury.
It is up to the student who is engaging in singing lessons to practice daily vocal warm-ups. Consistent use of vocal exercises will ensure good habits, proper technique, and healthy singing. If an athlete does not practice their sport daily then they will lose some of their abilities and agility. The same is true for singers. Without daily practice a singer can lose his or her agility, flexibility, and stamina.
I recommend first relaxing the body, including the jaw, neck, and spine. Next, I work on breathing exercises, and then move on to some humming and vocal trills. Once these warm-ups are complete, then I move on to the standard free vocal warm ups presented in the video below. In the Fort Worth voice lessons and voice lessons online that I teach, we work on further vocal exercises and techniques before we begin singing from the students’ repertoire. If you have any acting auditions coming up that do not require your singing voice, I recommend doing these vocal warm-ups as well.