Vocal Workouts To Do Before Singing
Everything great thing begins with a single step. The best and most vital step to become a better singer is the use of vocal warm up singing exercises to improve your tone and technique. Singing exercises for beginners can range from easy vocal warm ups to drills that enhances singing, tuning and sound skills.
What are the safe vocal warm ups you can do? Some warm ups used by professional singers these days are “ng siren”, “lip-roll”, “scale” and “humming”. These techniques play an important role on singer’s vocal health when incorporated with daily routines. They help our singing muscles function at their best without overworking them. If we look into it closer, these vocal warm ups balance the air pressure sent through our vocal chords resulting in smoother and easier singing across different vocal registers like chest voice, head voice and mixed voice. Moreover, it helps with developing our whole vocal scale without breaking to falsetto because it connects and bridges our vocal registers. It is always important to do singing warm up exercises to ensure we deliver a good performance before hitting the stage.
- “Ng Siren” Exercise
“Ng” siren is a vocal warm up exercise that helps our vocal muscles get into shape. It is based on the use of “ng” sound as its name suggests it. It works great on singers because it gradually exercises our voice and it eases our voice before singing. We use this exercise to slowly warm up our voice avoiding stresses and too much exertion that makes it easier to get started in singing. This exercise also helps in better and easier transitions between chest voice and head voice.
How does the siren work?
You would be able to easily achieve the “ng” sound by saying “i-n-g” like “ing”. Start producing the “ng” sound by putting the tongue and palate together to provide backpressure on your mouth. You may feel the sound reverberating at the back of your mouth to its roof. When you are able to produce the sound correctly, you will then need to sing a whole song using the “ng” sound.
Start your “ng” siren singing with a low note from the bottom of your vocal range going up a scale and then back to the low note again – all with the use of the ng sound. Then finish your singing with a clear “ah” sound. Once you are done singing with the “ng” siren sound on the lowest note, sing again using a higher note and do the same transitions. Continue singing until you cannot go any note higher.
- Lip-roll Exercise
Lip-roll is a vocal warm up exercise that helps loosen up our lips, vocal chords and face muscles. The reason why we do this warm up is to help you develop good control on your breathing, sound and vocal muscles.
How does the lip-roll work?
Begin your exercise with completely relaxed lips. Next, place your hands on both sides of your cheeks. Use the tip of your finger to push your cheek’s weight up and ensure your fingertips meet with your upper teeth. Then take a deep breath and produce a “brrr” sound while blowing air out though your lips. Let your lips vibrate and allow your lips to freely reverberate. The sound you will produce will mimic the horse sound.
Technically speaking, this exercise helps lessen vocal tension, improves hitting high notes, and aids discovering higher voice ranges. This type of sound helps gently pull down our larynx resulting to the disengagement of muscles that cause vocal tension. The lesser vocal tensions means more chances of hitting higher notes and discovering higher ranges.
The whole exercise involves doing the lip roll while singing the first five notes of the scale and back down the lower notes. Finish the exercise with the “ah” sound same as the “ng” siren exercise. Then do an entire song with one note higher than the previous one until you cannot do any higher. Go as far as you can without straining your voice.
- Scale Exercise
Scales are composed of an octave with 8 notes. It can be exercised by breaking down 8 notes and singing them separately. We use scales to gradually strengthen our vocal range and boundaries
How do scale exercises work?
You should stand with relaxed shoulders, place your hands by your side and breathe in slowly. Start practicing with vocal scales using each of the vowel sounds. The five vowel sounds are aye, ee, i, oh and oo. Allow yourself a chance to get a hang of it by doing the exercise in a slow pace. You can also try to sing one note at a time and hold that note for as long as you can avoiding breath shortage. You will need a bit more concentration on doing it. This exercise warms up our throat muscles, vocal chords and mouth. Do these exercises repetitively while singing a bit faster every single time.
- Humming Exercise
Humming can improve weak voice. Humming can sound silly, strange and funny but it is absolutely one of the easiest ways to start your vocal warm up. It is also an ideal exercise to develop your vocal scales.
How does humming work?
It can be done by placing your tongue tip at the back of your bottom teeth while your mouth is closed and your jaw and tongue are relaxed. Then, create the “nnnn” or “mmmm” sound. When doing the humming sound, choose which of the two makes a fuller, deeper and warmer voice tone.
Remember, a lasting singing career needs a healthy singer. Safe vocal exercises are great to take care of your vocal health while greatly improving your singing voice.
Vocal exercises are a great tool to build your voice and improve your technique. They can help you improve your vocal range and all other aspects of your voice. But even if you practice faithfully every day, some things may get in the way of your progress.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of practicing.
Don’t perform your exercises with bad vocal technique. Incorrect execution can make singing exercises difficult to perform. If, in spite of the difficulty you’re experiencing, you force your voice to perform exercises with bad technique, you can end up hoarse, in pain, or worse. Don’t try to strain yourself too much to execute a certain exercise properly. Instead, take a step back and examine your technique. Chances are there is something you aren’t doing properly.
Do appropriate warm-up exercises. Before you get down to the more strenuous exercises in your routine, make sure you warm up your voice. Neglecting to warm up can cause hoarseness or injury. Use a versatile mix of exercises for your warm-up. Hum a familiar song in the pitch of your natural speaking voice, then sing it softly. If you practice first thing in the morning right after getting out of bed, try just talking to yourself, or simply speaking the lyrics to a song first. Just like you can strain your muscles and joints if you suddenly spring into action “cold,” your vocal chords are stiff after a few hours of not being used, and need to be woken up before you can use them for more intense exercises.
Pick exercises that are appropriate for your voice. Make sure that the exercises you pick fall within your range, in terms of both pitch and loudness. Forcing yourself to sing notes that are too high or too low can injure or damage your vocal chords. Notes on the “edge” of your range (notes that you can hit occasionally, but with effort) should also be approached with caution. Make sure you are sufficiently warmed up before you attempt exercises that contain these notes. It also helps if you push these exercises to the middle of your practice session or later; this way, you build up the intensity of your workout gradually, and don’t shock your voice box with difficult notes right off the bat.
Make sure you perform your exercises regularly. Consistent practice is very important in developing your voice. Make it a habit to set aside half an hour at least every day for focused, uninterrupted practice. In addition to your “official” practice time, try to sneak in practice into other areas of your schedule, whenever you can. You can sing in the shower, while vacuuming, while cooking, or doing other chores.
Incorporate singing breathing exercises into your practice sessions. Good lung capacity is important for singers, as is the right kind of breathing. Wrong kinds of breathing are incompatible with proper technique, and will hamper your efforts to reach your potential. Before beginning to sing (or even warm up), take several deep breaths, taking a few seconds to inhale and exhale. While it may be a cliche, during vocalizing, try not to focus on breathing too much just do it. Try to grasp the idea that it is breathing that allows you to sing and powers your voice.
Make recordings of your practice sessions. Recording yourself vocalizing will be very helpful with self-review. Watch your tapes or videos of yourself practicing, and critique yourself; make sure you are using the correct technique, are hitting the right notes, etc. These recordings can also be a great motivational tool, whenever you feel down about your progress, look back and see how far you’ve gone. If you ever do hit the big time and become a famous singer, imagine how valuable the original recordings of your early practice sessions are going to cost!
You can make use of the Singorama “Mini-Recording Studio” to track your progress… It also has a built in virtual keyboard to help you sing scales.
Know when to rest. Like any other muscle, your voice box can suffer fatigue and may need to take a break. Look out for warning signs that you are overworking your voice, such as persistent hoarseness, or pain when speaking or swallowing. Don’t ignore symptoms that persist for more than two weeks; in these cases, consult your doctor. They may be symptoms of a more serious problem that requires immediate attention. You should also lay off from using your voice if you’re suffering from any kind of respiratory tract infection, like flu or a cold. Wait until you’re better before getting back to work with your voice.
Watch your liquids. What you drink before performing your exercises during a practice session can greatly affect your abilities. Some liquids you should avoid; water on the other hand, you should definitely drink. Different liquids have different detrimental effects on your voice. Avoid milk, as it coats your vocal chords and makes it harder to sing. Alcohol and coffee, on the other hand, can dry up your throat, hurting the quality of your voice and putting you at greater risk of strain or injury. The only thing you should be drinking before, during, and after a practice session or performance is water. Drink at least sixty-four ounces of water every day, and take small sips of water (not cold!) throughout your singing session.
Avoid smoke and dust. These things dry out your vocal chords and damage your singing abilities. Places that are dusty or smoky are not only bad for your voice and lungs; they can also send you into a coughing fit that can further damage your throat. This means that you should also try to minimize the time you spend around people who are smoking. (Which means of course that you have no business smoking yourself!)
Following these tips can help you get the most out of your exercises and make real progress with your voice. As you continue to master the exercises you are working on, move on to more advanced exercises, but don’t forget to follow the basic tips above.