Your Warm-up Routine
By Fabio Ramesha Nani
A problem that many singers face is finding time to practice. Luckily, unlike practicing an instrument, keeping your voice in good shape doesn’t require that much time (I’m just talking about basic maintenance here).
There are so many exercises and warm-ups to choose from, though. How do we know which ones to choose to make sure we address all the different aspects of the singing technique, without taking too much time to do it?
There are at least three basic aspects that we need to cover when we warm up our voices:
- By agility I mean using warm-ups that make you move up and down the range quickly. Consider this kind of exercise like a vocal stretching. You move gradually higher and higher in your range allowing your vocal cords to stretch gently, without stressing them. Exercises like 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1, or 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 works well for that purpose. I would suggest practicing them rather fast and light, at a fairly soft volume.
- Quality exercises are those where you focus on improving your sound. For this purpose I highly recommend long-tone exercises. Pick any note, sing it as fully as you can (without forcing), then gradually and consciously relax your throat as you hold the note out. Enjoy the sound of it getting more and more full and round as you relax into it. You should feel like you could hold it forever and it wouldn’t be a problem. Try to gently expand your throat (pharynx) while you hold the note, creating even more roundness and resonance in your tone. Practice this exercise on different notes in different areas of your range.
- Breathing exercises are considered by many to be the most important part of the vocal technique. Although it is important, I’m convinced that even the most perfect breathing technique won’t accomplish much in terms of good singing if you don’t also have good placement. But combine the two together and you have a powerful tool for mastering any piece of music you want to sing. You can find useful breathing exercises on this page of my website:
The routine suggested here is only for “maintenance” purposes. If you want to make significant progress as a singer, you will need additional practice, including other types of warm-ups—such as exercises that include consonants and so forth—in order to feel completely at ease no matter what you’re singing. Certainly a goal worth striving for!
Feel free to contact me about any singing-related issue or doubt that you might have. I will do my best to help you find a solution for it.