Warm ups are an important part of preparing for any exercise, whether it is a high-impact sports game or a concert. For young singers, vocal warm ups help prepare the voice for the rigors of a vocal performance. Warm ups not only stretch and exercise the muscles around the vocal cords, they also provide the singer with an opportunity to exercise proper breathing, tone, and resonance before singing begins. Below is a guide to vocal warm ups to help the young singer prepare for their next musical occasion.
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Movement → Breathing → Easy Vocalizations → Actual Singing
The entire body is part of one’s musical organ, so it’s important to make sure it is loosened up from head to toe!
- Stretch from side to side, and roll the shoulders
- Bend the knees and practice marching in place
- Stretch towards the ceiling, then towards the toes
- Massage the face and scalp, practice yawning, and pretend to chew a piece of gum
Well-controlled vocalization requires airflow control and depends on inspiratory and expiratory muscles. Practicing control over breathing helps maintain good vocal control.
- Breathe in slowly through the nose, then out through the lips (try a hiss like a snake, then snuffle like a horse as you breathe out)
- Breathe in, then exhale strongly by contracting the abdominal muscles and exclaiming with a “HA” or a “HUH” sound.
- Use the diaphragm to breathe in as deeply as possible without lifting the shoulders, then breathe out as slowly as possible.
- Inhale on a yawn, and then blow out through a straw, varying the length of the exhale each time.
- Practice a lip trill while gently humming. Sweep the pitch up and back down again.
- Hum or use short vocalizations such as “ha” and “ee” to sing an ascending then a descending major scale.
- Call a word (such as ‘Hello’) shortly, then lengthen the call. Control the amount of air expelled and change the pitch as you continue calling.
- Practice articulation with tongue twisters such as:
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
- Sally sells seashells by the seashore