Warming up the voice Pt 1

The vast majority of singers know they “should” warmup the voice but many do not know how or even why it is such an important thing for a singer.

A good warmup is essential for vocal health,longevity and consistency in performance. Being warmed up for a performance or even a technique practice session can also help boost confidence.

Firstly, a good warm-up is not:

- Aggressive or overly loud singing - A mindless bunch of random scales - Something you do in the first song on stage - Optional (especially for those with serious vocal goals and want to maintain good vocal health) A good warm-up is:

- A routine that starts gentle and soft and allows the vocal instrument to stretch out,increase blood flow and become ready for efficient use.

- Done slowly and carefully to allow the voice to open up.

Ideally a singer should give 10-15 mins towards a warm-up so it can be done patiently and effectively. Some singers need less some more but that is a good starting point.

I will share a few practical warm-up ideas I use and that I teach my students, college classes and workshop participants.

First off warming up the body with a few gentle stretches: - Perform a few hula hip rotations going each way

- Leaning ribs to the left then the right

- Shoulders shrugs

- Moving the neck gently up, down, left and right

- Very carefully, bend your head so your chin is against your chest. Place a hand on your chin to hold it against your chest. Without allowing your chin to move gently and slowly lift your upper jaw (head) upwards but only as far as you can go without force. You can then hold this stretch for a good 10-15 seconds.

-Gently massage the neck on the back,sides and front working you way from bottom to top looking to release any tight areas.

- Stick your tongue all the way out towards your chin while also making an exaggerated surprised facial expression. Then you can bring the tongue back in and screw up your face in a scrunched manner. Doing these stretches can often help relieve tension which can negatively impact a singer.

In part two I will talk more about warming up the voice itself and give you a few suggestions of ways to do it well.

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