You can’t become an athlete without regular training and warmups before every session helps build strength, increase stamina and prevent injury. Singing is no different-as it’s also an exercise—a vocal one; hence vocal warm ups are just as essential. Such warm ups help singers improve singing, prevents injury to the voice and trains singers to sing better.
The ultimate aim of any warm up is to remove the tautness from muscles and allow them to relax. Let’s see how vocal warmups actually help.
Breathing correctly and learning to control your breathing is the mantra to good singing. Learning breathing relaxation techniques is equally important as they help release tension in various parts of the body that can radiate to the voice box muscles and impede voice production. Inhaling and exhaling many times allows the chest, neck, shoulder and abdomen to relax. This helps novice singers to control the amount of air that’s expelled while singing.
Another common method used in vocal warm ups are the lip and tongue trills. They involve experimenting with different consonant sounds, exhaling strongly, holding the sound and air steady while keeping the breath connected and varying the pitch. These exercises are said to help remove the tension in the vocal folds, establish a connection between breathing and voice and engage them properly.
As the jaw is the instrument through which the voice comes out, it also has to be coaxed into a relaxed mood. Any tension here will prevent your best singing voice from coming through. Jaw release exercises are rather important.
When you’re singing, oftentimes the vocal folds are going to be stretched to the limit; so practising doing scales slowly warms up the voice and helps it extend right to the top of where you can go and to the bottom of where your voice can drop to. By increasing and decreasing scales, your voice becomes elastic enough to stretch and contract easily.
Doing sirens and Kazoos not only improve the resonant focus of the sound but also allow the vocal folds to stretch in a healthy, controlled way. In a sense this is an extension of using scales. Preparing your voice for complex songs is easy -roll some tongue twisters into tunes that go up and down and down and up, but novice singers can wait before they try this out.
Humming -something that almost all of us do- actually helps cool a voice down. Just as you need to cool off when you finish exercising, this long forgotten art not only warms up your voice without straining it but also allows you to cool down.
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