5 Singing Exercises To Warm Up

One of the most effective ways to help prevent vocal cord damage and voice fatigue is by doing some warm-up singing exercises before performing or rehearsing.  Warming up helps to relax your muscles and get air flow working prior to doing any real singing.   It does help to see your voice production as an athletic exercise because it really is just that and just like any athlete you should always do a warm-up routine.

It might sound a bit strange that you have to do singing exercises to stop overuse injuries, but your voice is essentially the result of a whole lot of muscles working together. So when they are warmed up they easier to control, more flexible and less likely to be injured if you really go for it.

Even before you do the actual singing exercises vocal warm-up part, it’s a good idea to start with a little stretching and relaxing of your whole body. You can do the “rag doll” by standing up and then bending over, letting your arms and head dangle down freely. Give them a little shake and continue to let them hang loosely for a couple of minutes.

Next, an easy stretching exercise can help with correct posture alignment. The singer stands with feet flat separated approximately a hip-width apart while your arms remain at the sides of your body. Then raise your arms up over your head, rise on your toes, and inhale deeply as your arms go upwards. When exhaling, go back to your original position slowly, with arms at the sides and feet flat on the floor. You can use these exercises as well to increase your vocal range. Try to keep your chest and shoulders back like they were at the very top of the stretch as you lower your arms to their original position. Hey, you’re now set to start singing.

Warm Up 1

Start with the first warm-up exercise known as the bubble lips, buzz, lip trill or lip roll. In this exercise, you pucker your lips while exhaling to form a vibrating sound similar to a motorboat or blowing a raspberry.  Try doing the buzz using three tones: start with the base tone, then move up a fourth, and then go back to the starting (base) note. For C major key the notes would be C, F, C or do-fa-do. Repeat the pattern only move up a semitone each time (eg; C#, F#, C#, then D, G, D, and so on). You can experiment with different syllables like “oo” or “ee” but you will find that using the buzz actually forces you to have good breathing support.

Warm Up 2

Another well-liked warm-up singing exercise is known as fifth-slide. You begin on the fifth tone and slide back to base using the syllable “wee”. For the key of C Major, the notes would be G to C or (So – Do). Do this again, changing the syllable this time to “zoo”. Use these two syllables and repeat again a half step up (Ab and Db) and so on, climbing up in half-steps. If you would take singing lessons, you will also learn how to properly use all these exercises.

Warm Up 3

You may also want to try the five-tone descending scale. Begin on the fifth tone and slowly go down in steps to the base in the pattern: so, fa, mi, re, do.  You can use the syllables “na”, “nay”, “noh”, and “noo” respectively as you move up half a step on the scale and repeat. Read also this article about the basics of singing exercises.

Warm Up 4

Next in our warm-up singing exercises is the 8-tone descending scale using the notes do, ti, la, so, fa, mi, re, do using syllables such as “noo”, “nah”, “nay”, “nee”, and “noh” or you can changing the beginning consonant to “m” rather than “n”.  As usual, try moving up a half step as you repeat the pattern. As you do this, try to feel the mask resonance in your upper throat and between your eyes and the bridge of your nose. Next, follow this up with a descending arpeggio in the pattern do, so, mi, do, and using the syllable “nah”. You can change “nah” to “nay”, “nee”, “noh”, or “noo” as you move up a half-step to repeat.

Warm Up 5

The final warm-up exercise is the octave slide. Use the buzz and start on the base note; slide up an octave and back down to the base: do, do, do. Repeat on “oo”. Move up a half-step, do the buzz, and then “oo”. Continue moving up by half-steps.
The last exercise is called the octave slide and as the name suggests you begin on a base note and slide your voice up an octave and back down again (do, do, do) using the buzz or lip trill described above.  Try repeating it using “oo” and then go up a half step and do them both again. Do you feel like going to music school but worry about how to finance that? Go to this post about music scholarships. Who knows you qualify.

These singing exercises may seem a bit daunting at first but if you try them out you’ll actually find them fun!  I mean you will find a couple of favorites that really work for you. Exercises warm up your muscles, protect your vocal cords, and help to improve your tone and pitch. So don’t forget to do some….