Do you feel like you don’t really know how to warm up your voice to sing and so you generally skip a warm up? Like, you know you should probably do something, like some hums or sirens, but you’re not sure what to do? You know your singing practice goes better when you are warmed up first, but you don’t know how to do it by yourself? Let me help! Writing your own warm up routine for singing sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
The most important thing about warming up for singing is knowing that everyone’s voice and needs are different depending on the day or task ahead. When you’re creating a singing warm up, think about why you’re warming up and what you’re singing. Does the song you’re singing have a lot of jumps? You might want to use different intervals to warm up that part of your voice. Are you singing mostly in chest voice? Then you probably don’t need to warm up your entire range. As always, customize a singing warm up based on what you and your voice need in the moment. Follow the steps outlined below to create your perfect warm up for singing.
Step One: Warm up your body
The first step, make sure your body is ready to support you in your singing practice. Starting at your feet, work your way up your body checking your alignment. Relax and release your knees, pelvis, shoulders, neck, and head. It’s helpful to move these joints a bit as we might not realise they are tense without some movement.
Step Two : Warm up your breath
Next, we want to warm up our breath. Take a few inhales and exhales. It might be helpful to put your hands on your ribcage while this happens to feel your breath enter your body. On the exhale, try a consonant! Try exhaling on an ‘Ss’ sound. If you don’t like ‘Ss’, you could go for an ‘Ff’ or an ‘Hh’ sound instead.
Step Three: Warm up your mouth and lips
Then we will want to warm up our mouths and lips. I like to warm up my mouth and lips with hums, lip trills or using a straw to practice soft consonants. Sounds you can make are Z, V, M, N or R. After consonants, you can move to gently singing open vowels; A E I O U on a scale or on one note.
When open vowels are feeling good, start playing around with your consonants – add on a consonant to the front of one of those open vowels, some of my favorites are T, G, L, B, J, D, P, K, W and if you’re feeling more ‘vowely’ a Y in front of those open vowels can be a fun way to get your tongue moving.
Once your mouth and voice feel nice and warm, you can move to intervals and melody. The 1-5-1 interval is a classic singing warm up exercise but if you’d like to do a bit more jumping, you could choose to try out the 1-8-5-3-1 interval.