As a professional singer and voice teacher, one thing I tell all of my students is that they need to warmup every day. In this post I will show you my 15 minute vocal warmup routine and tips to get your voice going every single day.
The importance of warming up every day
I do a vocal warmup routine every day to keep my voice in good shape. There is nothing worse that trying to sing when my voice is feeling creaky or strained. Spending 15 minutes to warm up my voice makes a world of difference.
When to warm up
I try to do my vocal warmup routine in the morning before I start teaching or rehearsing for the day. I will often vocalize a little bit in the shower or while I’m getting ready in the morning, doing some lip trills or humming.
I always take my time and sit with good posture at the piano.
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How to warm up your voice
Warming up means that you are just getting your voice moving a little - it doesn’t mean a full on workout! I like to start with some lip trills, which help me to get my voice going in a very gentle way. (Can’t do lip trills? Try humming instead!)
Start in the middle of your vocal range and move in small increments, avoiding the extremes of your voice. Keep the volume in the “Goldilocks zone” - not too loud and not too soft.
Warm up the chest register
Once I get my voice warmed up a little using the singing exercises, I like to spend some time getting my chest register working. I like to do slides on an “N” sound and then move to an open vowel like Ah or Oh. I stay in the lower part of my range, so I don’t cause any strain. I keep the pattern to an interval of a second or third, to give my lower range a chance to wake up.
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Warm up across the middle
My next step in my vocal warmup routine is to go up and down from the lower range to the higher range, singing patterns on 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 and nine note scales. This gives me a chance to work on some flexibility and make sure I’m not getting too stuck on the bottom.
Warm up the head register
The easiest way to connect to the head register is to sing an “oo” sound on higher pitches. I like to start around the B above middle C and make a sound like a “little owl”. Once I can make that sound, I slowly increase the intervals from a second to a third. I also love to use this pattern to get my head register going.
Move across the middle again
Now that my head register is warmed up, I like to move across the middle to make sure that my chest register and head register are able to connect. This is usually when my mix shows up too.
How I end my 15 minute vocal warmup
At the end of the routine, I like to do some sirens and sights to just check in and see how my instrument feels. If I notice part of my range is still a bit sticky, then I might take a few more minutes to warm up that section.
Benefits of doing a daily vocal warm up session
- I keep my voice healthy and flexible
- I get a baseline on how my voice is doing - does it feel tired? Does one register feel tighter than the other? Do I need to warm up for longer?
- I keep track of my general vocal health.
- Warming up every day helps me track how my voice is doing in general. If I feel like my voice has been tired or hard to warm up for a while, then I know it’s time to check in with my general vocal health. If I notice a longer term issue, then I know it’s time to check in with my laryngologist or SLP.
- I set a good example for my students - If I commit to doing it every day, they will too!
- It makes me feel good - I love singing and I always feel energized after a good warm up
- I keep my voice in shape - you never know when a gig is going to keep up
- Prioritizing music making is good for my self esteem - making music MATTERS.
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