Warm ups without structured scales
Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Rebekah Keogh | Singing Tips
Physical warm up
Before you sing..
Head rolls, shoulder rolls, gentle stretching, swinging of arms etc
If you’re feeling low energy, try a few star jumps to get the heart pumping!
Facial warm up
wow wow wow wow wow:
Say wow slowly starting with a small gap between your lips & getting bigger as you go, repeat this about 5-10 time depending on how much you need.
Jaw movements: Move your jaw from side to side, and round and round a few times. This will help to release any jaw tension you may have.
Eyebrows: Move your eyebrows up and down a few times.
Massage: Use your finger tips to massage the muscles in your face. All over your forehead, cheek bones, jaw, eyebrows, neck and throat. Gently move your larynx with your fingers from side to side.
Vocal Warm Up
Straw Sirens: Starting at your lowest comfortable note, glide upwards to your highest most comfortable note and back down again. You can do a mixture of sirens starting from the lowest point and the highest point. Repeat 10 times as slow as you can do in one breath.
NG glides: Starting around D4 on a keyboard (or about the mid-low part of your range), glide downwards into your lowest notes. Repeat this slowly at least 10 times. This will help to warm up the muscles used to sing low notes and will have a positive knock on effect on your higher notes too.
Vowel Exercise: Starting at your lowest comfortable note, work upwards in pitch singing each note on the various vowels AH-EH-EE-OH-OO. Sustain random notes for about 5 secs each, moving up and down in pitch. Try adding a ‘B’ in front of the vowels to help eliminate breathiness and by encouraging better vocal fold closure. No need to go to high with this one. Spend about 2-3 minutes repeating this. This will help to warm up the middle of your range.
Louis (LOO-EE): Glide up and down from about using your ‘head voice’ sound. This is the lighter, breathier voice and is the opposite of ‘chest voice’, which is a fuller sounding voice like your speaking voice. Start a little bit higher than the middle of your range. Repeat for about 2-3 minutes until your voice feels flexible and free.
NEH NEH NEH / YEAH YEAH YEAHS: In a twangy, bratty sounding voice (think babies crying or Janice from friends) Do a few glides on NEH NEH NEH or YEAH YEAH YEAH. This will help warm the muscles of your voice that help you sing the higher (mix voice) notes.
Straw Melodies: Sing the melody of whatever song you’re working on through the straw. This will help relax the muscles in your vocal tract before you sing the song and will help to warm up up into the melody.
After you sing..
Vocal Warm Down
Straw Waves: This is similar to a siren but you don’t go as high. Keep the pitches you glide between around the middle to low part of your range. Do this until you feel your voice cooled down enough. But I'd say for at least 2-3 minutes.
NO NO NO / YEAH YEAH YEAH: Say no no no as if you are telling a bold child to stop doing something. This should be in speaking voice (primal voice), and not sung. Repeat about 10 times until your voice feels and sounds better.
YAWN: Yawning noises help to bring your larynx (voice box) back to a more neutral position.
Physical: Going back to what you did at the beginning and adding in some head rolls, shoulder rolls and gentle stretching. We want to make sure we relax our entire body after singing to avoid and negative knock on effects on our voice. This is especially important if you’ve been gigging or performing. Don’t go to bed without warming/cooling down!
Other helpful tips;
Drink plenty of water every day (2 litres).
Avoid numbing throat lozenges like strepsils.
Use the whole range of your voice every day to keep your vocal muscles and ligaments fit & healthy.
Don’t smoke! Smoke is drying on the vocal folds.
Voice rest if you are hoarse or your voice is tired.
Take time to de-stress! Stress can negatively impact your voice.
If your voice is tired: take it easy on the singing and warm ups, and instead do some gentle straw sirens and vocal fry exercises.
Don’t eat late at night as it may cause some acid reflux when you are sleeping which can damage your vocal folds. Try taking a spoonful of gaviscon medicine before you sleep if you think you may have this.
Invest in in-ears...when you’re gigging you need to be able to hear yourself clearly or you’ll end up pushing volume and straining your voice.