As the name suggests, vocal warm ups help in 'conditioning' and 'warming up' the vocal cords, so as to prepare them for optimum performance ahead (be it singing, dubbing, delivering a speech, etc.). In the remainder of this article, we will have a look at a few basic warm ups, as well as a couple of fun singing warm up exercises.
Humming is the simplest of all vocal exercises. Humming can be done in many different ways, and each way or method has its own role to play in the process of warming up the voice. Here is one of them. With your mouth closed (lips sealed tight), start humming a random musical note. At the same time, place your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger on the bridge of your nose. The idea is to feel the vibration that happens within your nose with your fingers. Starting with your base note, scale down one note at a time and carefully feel and analyze the amount of vibration that you hear at every single note. Stop at that musical note at which you feel the maximum amount of nasal vibration. Once you have located that musical note, continue humming softly at that particular note itself for a couple of minutes.
Breathing exercises also play an important part in the process of warming up the voice. They help in clearing the air passage between the nose and the lungs, and this is beneficial for good voice production.
Practicing scales using vowel sounds is another good singing warm up to try out. Practice different vowel sounds such as oohs, aahs, eees, ays, etc. in an octave. While practicing this particular vocal warm up, make sure you select the middle octave (with respect to your singing range), and not the lower octave, or the higher octave. Practicing vowel sounds is not only a fun vocal warm up exercise, but an extremely effective one too.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, here are a few more tips for warming up the voice.
- Loosen up your body. Perform a few basic stretches, rotate your arms a bit, practice a bit of deep breathing. In general, just loosen up. It relaxes you and helps you get rid of any jitters or nervousness that you may have, which otherwise can impact voice production and your subsequent performance.
- Try singing a couple of medium range songs, i.e., songs which are neither too low nor too high. This is just to 'awaken' your vocal cords, and get them ready for the full-fledged vocal rendition or performance that is to follow.
- Keep your throat hydrated. Drink warm water or water that is at room temperature. Avoid chilled liquids. A glass of warm water with a spoonful of honey is a good and effective way to warm up your throat (not to mention soothe a sore throat).
- Last but not the least, do not strain your vocal cords while performing any of your vocal exercises. It will entirely defeat the purpose of your singing warm up exercise, and you will not be able to perform to the best of your ability.