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Five singing warmups

Updated on August 1, 2010

Did you know that singing without warming up can cause
vocal chord damage? It's true. Just like you wouldn't
engage in rigorous exercise without warming up your
muscles, you shouldn't sing without warming up your voice.

Here are 5 excellent vocal warm-ups to get you started:

   Speak Your Words

This one sounds simple, but it has hidden benefits.
Starting in your regular speaking voice, speak the words,
'One, two, three, four, five,' like you would if you were
having a conversation.

Now go up the scale in half-steps, repeating the words
in your speaking voice, but at ascending pitches. Stay
within your comfortable vocal range.

This exercise lets you focus on the resonation in your
chest, throat, and mouth. It also teaches you how to sing
words without sounding too breathy.

   Hum the Scale

This next exercise focuses more on the vibrations
produced by your singing. It allows you to feel which
notes vibrate in your throat and which ones vibrate in
your mouth and face.

Starting at the lower end of your range, make a humming
'Hmmmmm' sound. You will notice that this tone resonates
in the front of your throat. Now go up the scale, humming
each note. You can also hum simple songs.

This exercise teaches you vocal control and note
placement. Do it for a few minutes, and you'll be ready to
move on to the next warm up.

   Yawn Your Tone

In one long, continuous yawn, start at the middle of
your scale and bring your pitch all the way to the top of
your comfortable range. Hit the highest note you can
comfortably hit in your chest or mixed voice.

Then bring your pitch back down the scale to sing the
lowest comfortable note. Do this without breaking between
the notes. The effect is a lot like yawning, but on pitch.

This exercise gives your voice a great warm-up because
it forces you to transition between every note on your
scale. It can also improve your vocal range.

   Vowel Warm Ups

Now it's time to warm up your words. Start by singing
your scale using vowel sounds. Sing up from the bottom of
your scale using the words, 'A E I O U'. Hold each vowel
sound for a second or two, and make the entire set sound
flowing and melodious.

Sing the vowel sounds up your scale and back down again
for one minute. Enunciate each sound. This will teach you
to sing easily understandable words, and to maintain a
continuous tone.

   Enunciation Exercise

This is a more advanced enunciation exercise.
Enunciation is very important for singers. After all, if
your audience can't understand your words, they can't
fully appreciate your songs!

After completing the vowel sound warm-up, go back and
do it again with a tongue-twisting phrase. Each time you
go up a half step on the scale, sing the phrase 'She sells
seashells by the sea shore.'

Practice pronouncing the words meticulously. No matter
your musical style, your performance will be better if you
learn to enunciate clearly.

   Warm Up Your Body, Too

Now that your vocal chords are warmed up and ready to
go, you should warm up the rest of your muscles to avoid
tension. If your body is tense, you risk tensing up your
vocal chords and losing sound quality.

Stretch your arms above your head as far as you can,
and then bend down and touch your toes to stretch your
back muscles. Do some shoulder and neck rolls to relieve
tension in those areas.

Bring your arms out each side and breathe in deeply to
expand your lungs. Now you're ready to sing!

For a whole series of fantastic, professional singing
exercises, I strongly recommend checking out:

Singing Lessons For Beginners

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