These vocal technique exercises are for every level of singer as every singer can benefit from doing these regularly. Look into adding these into your daily vocal warm up and workout to help build that voice up!


vocal technique - student singing


Vocal Technique 1: The lip roll (Lip trill)

The lip roll is a great exercise to get a well-balanced coordination between the vocal folds and the breath support. This coordination is essential for great singing. When this balance is right the throat will feel open and the tone effortless – as long as the jaw and tongue are out of the way that is!

The video below is a tutorial on how to do a lip trill – also called the lip roll or lip bubble. When you first try to do the lip roll, you may need to gently press your fingers into your cheeks to help you do a lip trill. If you do, then that is fine to start with but do try to move away from using your fingers on the cheeks as quickly as you can. The reason that you are using your fingers you see is due to tensions in the cheeks or a lack of coordination both of which should be worked on until you are free to do the lip trill with no help from the fingers.


A good experiment that you can do to see if the lip roll has helped your singing or speaking is to sing or speak before you do the exercise. Then do the exercise and speak or sing again. There should be a feeling that the voice is lighter, freer more forward, less effort. This is the correct sensation for talking and singing.

If you do the lip trill daily, your voice will start to take on this now habit. Your voice will improve in sound and will not tire so much at the end of the day. All the teachers I have taught have benefited from this exercise.

Lip Trill ( Lip Roll) Demonstration

Vocal Technique 2: The Tongue Trill

This exercise is very similar to the lip roll (Vocal Technique 1) as in it creates a balanced coordination between the vocal folds and the breath support.

The tongue trill has an added benifit over the lip trill. If you suffer from tongue tension, then you would definitely want to work with the tongue trill as it targets tongue tension.

For example, if you use the tongue trill to do a siren, as you go higher up there will be a tendency for the tongue to start to get tense and lock up. If this happens, you will not be able to carry on doing the tongue trill as the from all the root tongue tension. So this is a great self-regulating exercise for any singer that has tongue tension problems or just any singer who is not sure if they are dragging up the voice.

Make sure that you try this one even if you find it hard. By trying it, you will start to become more aware of tongue movement and when the tongue is to tense.


So start by saying arrrrriba! And hold the rrrrrr try this several times really get into it! Another one would be to say drum. Start by just saying it then repeat it with a bit more energy – as if you were marching – and hold the r for longer like this drrrrrrrrum  until you can eventually just start with the RRRRRRR.

Check out the video below to see some examples of me doing a tongue trill.

How To Do A Tongue Trill – Vocal Technique – Demonstration

Are you still struggling with the tongue trill? No worries if you have the lip trill in the bag, you’ll still be able to balance the coordination between the vocal folds and breath support. Don’t forget that you could also do a hum.

You can again try the experiment I mentioned in vocal technique 1 The lip roll which was to sing before you do the exercise then sing again after and see if you notice a difference. If you’re not sure that there’s a difference, then try again. Remember it is crucial that you learn to notice the subtle differences in feeling and tone if you want to become a great singing.


Another helpful tip that I get all my students to do is record your voice down and listen back or ask a friend to listen to you before and then after the exercise. It’s worth doing this experiment of singing before and after an exercise on all of these vocal techniques and on any exercise for that matter. It will help you to build on the correct and incorrect sensations, awarenesses which are essential for amazing singing and is always lacking in average singers. They know, something is wrong, but they just can’t put their finger on it.

Right enough of that on to the next awesome exercise!


Vocal technique 3: M Hum

No list of great vocal techniques would be complete without a hum of some sort putting in an appearance! The m hum is one of the oldest and best ways to warm up the voice. The m hum is perfect for feeling forward tone.  If you’re struggling with keeping forward tone or just becoming aware of it, then this is the one for you.


When you feel the resonance (buzzing feeling) right between your lips, then you know you have a forward tone (forward resonance). You would then slowly open your mouth while staying focused on the lip resonance as you move to an AH vowel (or whichever vowel is easiest for you). Then go through all the vowels. Checking for resonance on the lips on every M.

The exercise would be like this:mAHmAHmAHmAHmAHm. Keep alternating between the m hum and the vowel then start to add in the other vowels until you can do the following with the resonance always staying on the lips: mEEmEHmAHmOHmOO.

This is a great transitional exercise for getting to feel what singing should feel like.

I have mentioned that it’s crucial that on this version of the m hum that the lips buzz with resonance in the video below I show you an exercise that you can do to help you get the tongue and the resonance in the right place.

How To Do An M Hum – Vocal Technique – Demonstration


So why did I pick Y as in the word yellow first? Will this helps to get the back of the tongue moving forward. Then adding ER (as in the word burn) keeps the back of the tongue forward so that as we move to the M Hum the back of the tongue should be in a nice forward position.

What I have done here is to use consonants and vowels to move your tongue into the correct position (Articulation).

Articulation calls on the lips, tongue, jaw, facial muscles, soft palate, to make different shapes so that we can make sounds for speaking and singing.

If you want to know more about articulation, then try this link: Place of Articulation. This will give you lots of information on all the parts that make up articulation in speaking and singing just in case you are interested 🙂

Vocal technique 4: Koo

The Koo exercise is one of my favourite vocal techniques, and I use it every day. So what is so good about it? If you have tongue tension, this is the best exercise bar none, even better than the tongue trill. If you have a lot of tongue tension, then this really should be an exercise that you do daily.


As you make the K sound the back of the tongue lifts up to meet the roof of the mouth as it does so any tension in the root of the tongue needs to be released. Work on getting your K to go as fast as you can. The faster, the less tension you will be able to hold in the back (root) of the tongue. Also, try to make up different rhythms as rhythm is another great way to help release tension. Remember that if you’ve had tongue tension for a long time, then it won’t go over night so be patient. If you want more tongue tension exercises, then you might find these helpful.


Work Your Onset Muscles

The other thing that is great about this exercise is it’s voiceless, which means that the vocal folds are open when you make the K sound. Just like when you breathe in. By using this characteristic of the K sound, we can work the onset muscles (the Attack of the sound, the beginning of sound).

At the end of every K, the vocals are brought together with a clean, precise firm closing this is the onset. The onset muscles need working so that they are responsive when you sing.

Something to remember about all voiceless sounds like the K is that they put your onset muscles to work. Very much like going down the gym. You would not expect to start lifting heavy weights straight away, treat your vocal folds when doing onset work the same way. Start with a couple of minutes a day and slowly build it up from there. If your voice hurts then stop as you are doing it wrong, there is no vocal exercise that you can do that will hurt your voice when done correctly. Never push your voice.

Let me know how you got on with the different vocal techniques from above in the comments below, and let me know which one of the vocal techniques was your favourite. If you have a different favourite vocal technique, I would love to hear about that too.

If you’re interested in singing lessons with me then you can find out more information on my singing lessons page. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂


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Feel free to leave a comment as I would love to hear from you.

Dyl 🙂

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