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How Do I Warm My Voice Up?

One of the questions I was surprised to have been asked at the panel was how to warm up the voice before a session.

While this is certainly a very important question, I think the people asking are making it too complicated. Take an Olympic athlete for example: while their exercise routine and diet regimen might be extremely more strenuous and intricate than the average office worker who works out every morning, the basic stretches are the same. That’s pretty much the way of it with your voice, as well.

Now, I’m not going to pretend for a moment that I’m well educated on all the various muscles and membranes that make up our tool but I have taken enough classes and been to enough rehearsals to know what it takes to warm up.

I personally work almost exclusively in the evenings, so I’m already coming from a long day of talking and ironically actually rest my voice for a bit before venturing into my studio. So, my exercise is usually a short 5 minute prep-time.

While I’m setting up my things, I tend to hum. There are more professional techniques to how one should hum but I’ve settled into picking a song I like or making up a melody; it’s peaceful and low impact.

Once I’m “in the zone”, I actually do a lot of choral warm-up techniques only without the use of a piano. It would be incredibly difficult for me to try to explain, since I am not a coach, so instead I’ve found an audio example of what I’m referring to. Anna, with Verba Vocal Technique, is actually practicing with a piano, so you can actually follow right along with her for your warm-up. How easy is that?

As for me, I do a bit of the above as well as what I call the “Singer’s sigh” b/c I don’t know the technical term for it. But it’s where you start very high and “Fall” through the register on an “Ah”; like an overly dramatic yawn, occasionally then sliding back up to where you started. I also do Lip Trills, Tongue twisters, and GVAA’s Cristina Milizia’s “Gong” exercise, which is also linked below.

Some of my favorite tongue twisters are:

* Red Leather, Yellow Leather (I must say this 3x consecutively without messing up before moving on).

* Whether the weather be cold, whether the weather be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not. (I must say this once all the way through without messing up).

* Oh what a to-do to die today at a minute or two ’til two.  A thing distinctly hard to say yet harder still to do. For they’ll beat a tattoo at twenty to two With a rattatta tattatta tattatta too. And the dragon will come when he hears the drum, at a minute or two ’til two today At a minute or two ’til two. (I must say this once all the way through without messing up).

Here is the audio example of what I am referring to when I say “Choral Warm-up Techniques”. Again, I don’t have an accompaniment for my warm-ups but my focus isn’t so much on hitting the correct notes as it is just exploring and stretching my range:

Cristina Milizia’s Warm-Up exercises (where she explains the “Gong”, which I took from her) begins in this video at 32:42 –

Of course, vocal technique isn’t just about warming up. For a more expansive look at vocal health, I strongly recommend watching these FREE videos below. Literally, it will cost you nothing but your time, so why not? I guarantee you will learn something new! (if you don’t, you wouldn’t be wondering how you should warm up 😉 ).

Vocal Exercises, Technique, & Care with Cristina Milizia

Exercises for Voice Over Actors: The Larynx, Diaphragm, & Strengthening the Vocal Cords:

I hope I was able to thoroughly answer this question and perhaps even open your mind to the concept of even more vocal health tips!

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