VOCAL WARM-UPS FOR BEGINNERS
Warm up Your Voice Correctly
So before we get into vocal warm ups for beginners you may be asking; Why do I need to warm up my voice for singing or speaking? Well I will give you 3 good reasons.
If your voice is not as forward as it should be then a warm up would help. A forward tone is important for the voice to project ( less people will ask you to repeat yourself) and you will not have to try so hard on the microphone. A Mumbling muffled sound is a voice without forward tone (check out this video to help you understand forward tone).
Think of yourself like an athlete, a vocal athlete! You would never see a sprinter just walk up to the starting line and go for it as there is a much higher chance that they would hurt themselves. In the same way you can avoid damaging your voice by warming up your voice with the following exercises.
Take the time to really listen to your voice and how it feels. Only move onto more challenging warm ups when your voice feels ready not when you are bored and just want to get into singing.
A good warm up wakes up all those different muscle fibers making them far more responsive to singing. This means you will be able to riff faster and your voice will feel more balanced. A balanced voice has less tension in it and a better tone.
The better the warm up the more enjoyable and responsive the singing!
Vocal warm ups for beginners Exercise 1
The descending slide is a great way to get start with your warm up as it’s referred to as a laryngeal relaxant! So it relaxes the singing muscles of the throat. Think of it like this, if you sigh you will always sigh downwards. The sigh is your body relaxing and your vocals relax too and as they do they naturally slide down.
We will do this on an m hum (go here for a video on that) but feel free to use an of the three different hums in this video.
Start with a sigh. Don’t start to high in your range, remember that this is just a warm up so start a little above your spoken voice. Then slide down to a comfortable low note. Make sure that you start with a small range to start with and slowly increase this as you feel your voice start to open up.
Before you start note the time and then do this for 2 minutes and see where you are at by talking. It’s a good idea to say something before you do the exercise then say the same thing again after so that you have a good reference for noticing when your voice is ready to move onto the next exercise.
Vocal warm ups for beginners Exercise 2
Sirens (Roller Coasters)
A siren is called a siren because it sounds like an air raid siren (here is one if you want to have a listen). A siren consists of sliding up and then sliding down (the slide down is a descending slide that you did in exercise 1) again we will do this on an M hum. You could also use the NG, N, tongue trill or lip trill.
Start in a comfortable part of your spoken voice (as in exercise 1) and start by sliding down to a comfortable note and then back up again going no higher than before. Only increase the range as your voice naturally opens up. You will know when this happens as your voice easily goes a little higher than it did on the last siren.
Vocal warm ups for beginners Exercise 3
If your voice feels ready after the descending slides and sirens then it’s time to stick them on a scale of sorts. It’s a song melody. This way you will always be able to do a melody wherever you go without worrying about having an mp3 player with you. Start with a song that you know really well and that is really comfortably in your range.
So now that you have a song melody (if you don’t know they whole song that is fine this will work on just the first line of a song). Hum it slow and then slowly speed it up. Do this until you get to a point where you can go no faster. If you go so fast that the pitches start to blur together then you are going to fast, every note should be clean and clearly heard.
Your voice should now feel ready to sing a song with words.
Where to Next?
You should notice that the exercises above don’t have scales in them. This is due to the fact that you really should not get to hung up on scales at the moment. Focus much more on working on solid technique. As this will take all your attention at the beginning (if it doesn’t then you are not doing it right). Once you are confident that your technique is good then work on scales as these have there place too.
If you would like to know of other sounds that you can use with the above exercises then why not have a look at 4 Great Vocal Techniques To Get Your Voice Going! For some ideas.
Breath support is an important part of singing that you should really take the time to learn. A good place to start for that would be Breathing For Singing. Once you have read that you will have a good understanding of breathing for singing.