You arrive too late at the venue, you don’t have much time till the gig starts. A complete vocal warm up is now impossible, the express version must do. For the following 6 exercises you will need just under a quarter of an hour and then you will be well warmed up. It’s very important that you feel vocally comfortable, that the exercises are pleasant and that you can get rid of all stress and tension. ?
Enjoy reading our six practice exercises, the YouTube ? tutorial video can be found at this link and at the end of this article.
? Note: Each exercise is repeated 3 times.
1. Lip Warm-up
Let’s start with a classic, the “lip rolls” or “lip flapping“. You basically pretend you’re a horse neighing who has an ear for notes! Try to keep your mouth and jaw relaxed so that your teeth start to vibrate. If this works, sing a note that steps up in pitch and then back down again. So the following notes of the scale:
root – 3rd – 5th – octave – 5th – 3rd – root
Or in other words (I mean, letters):
C – E – G – C (octave) – G – E – C
Try singing the tone sequence in different positions or/and try other four to five tones.
The vibrations loosen up the lips, make the breathing more alert, and help you to calm down and release tension.
2. Warm-up for the larynx & vocal chords
Pronounced a buzzed “Zzzzzz” sound and put your fingers on your throat and feel the vibration. The looser you are, the more vibration you can feel. Find the point in your throat where the sounds produce the most vibration. Your lips are slightly open. Repeat the tone sequence from Exercise 1 or a long, slow slide tone from the fundamental to the octave and back. Remain completely relaxed in your throat. Try different positions/pitches here as well.
3. Chest & diaphragm warmup
Breathe loosely into your stomach area and do not tense your abdominal muscles. Place your hands on your stomach at the level of the rib cage. Pant like a dog a few times in a row. Now you can feel your diaphragm flexing, which separates the abdomen from the chest.
Then sing short melodies (maybe again the tone sequence from the first two exercises) using vowels, the tones coming directly from your stomach. Start with an A and then try out the other vowels. With the sound of the vowels you can feel how you sing from the diaphragm, because breathing and sound should not come from the throat. At the same time you can feel how your chest starts to vibrate while you sing.
4. Opening up your voice
Start with a soundless yawn. After that, yawn on a tone. Feel how much space there is in your mouth and throat. Leave your mouth in yawn position and sing a sequence of the first five notes of a major scale:
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
Yawn the tones. The extreme looseness in your mouth and neck helps you to further utilise the range of your voice. This exercise also relaxes your vocal chords.
5. Short sound bursts
Make short sound bursts on the sound “Ha“. Have the thought that with each burst the space in your neck increases and decreases again during the pauses, when your vocal chords lie loosely together. Sing the exercise on the tone sequence from Exercise 4. Try out slow and fast sequences, i.e. right behind each other. Put your hands back on your abdomen and feel the control when the air stops between each sequence. Feel the bursts like trampoline jumps in your diaphragm. This exercise helps to regulate your breathing and you will learn how to divide and pace the airflow.
6. Calming down before a show
Take a deep breath, slightly open your mouth and slowly let the air out on an unvoiced “S”. Try to keep the air inside you as long as possible. The more you repeat this exercise, the longer you can do it.
In the following video Flavio shows you the six exercises in practice. Follow along and don’t forget to have fun!!