How to warm up your voice and What Are The Best Vocal Warm ups?

It does not matter how powerful your voice is or for how long you have been practicing how to sing like a pro, warm up is always necessary for any singer before giving a vocal performance. It is important that you know how to warm up your voice in order to sound better and avoid injuries. Yes, it’s true that you could injure your throat and your vocals if you don’t do a warmup routine before you sing. You can’t expect even the oldest bodybuilders to enter the gym and start lifting weight without a proper warmup session.


Almost anything that involves the use of muscles needs warmup and that’s exactly the case when you sing. You have to use your vocal muscles when you sing. In fact, when you sing powerful songs you have to use many other muscles of the body to put the strength and throw behind your voice. Therefore, it is best that you know quite a few vocal exercises in order to warm up your throat before you start singing. Below are some well-known warmup exercises that can get your vocal cords to slowly get ready to blow the audience away.

Giving Some Heat To Your Vocal Cords

You would often notice bodybuilders and gym trainers wearing jumpers and other warm clothes over their dresses before they start working out. They are actually keeping their muscles warm because when muscles are warm they expand and thus can be stretched. It is highly advised that you drink warm water before you as part of your vocal warm ups. You could drink some other beverage as well but make sure that it is not cold or too hot lest you end up burning your throat and ending up without performing at all.

Keep Your Limbs Stretched While Singing

Just think about the Titanic pose from Kate Winslet and Leonardo. You might want to stretch just like that while singing. When you stretch your arms you will notice that your body naturally gets into a straighter position. The straighter you stand while singing the better. Furthermore, when you open your arms and broaden your diaphragm, you give more space to your lungs to inhale more air. This will help you keep your long notes without fumbling in the middle. Standing “with arms wide open” will also help you with the tone of your voice.

Relaxing Your Breathing

Of course, breathing is the most important part of singing and controlling your breathing mechanism is one of the best vocal warm ups. Stand straight and just breathe normally. Keep your hand on your abdomen and notice the belly go up and down. If instead of your belly you feel the movement in your chest and shoulder area, you are not breathing properly. Try to utter the “s” sound while standing in this position and see for how long you can hold it. Remember, you’re not breathing properly if your chest and shoulders are moving with your breaths.

Work On Your Staccato

Staccato means the breaks in your voice when singing. One of the most useful vocal warm ups is to make the ha-ha-ha sound while standing straight. The idea here is to make these sounds in different notes. First off, start with the same notes on all three ha-ha sounds. Later on, hit different notes on every “ha” sound. Make things more challenging by raising your second “ha” an octave from the first and then another octave on the third “ha” from the second. Keep going back and forth on your notes and this will prepare you for changing notes in the song.

Properly Lubricate Your Throat

If your throat is dry you will start feeling strain in your voice very early during your singing. With time it is going to get worse. Drinking water might not help very much here because you will feel the need of drinking water frequently. The best thing to do here is to pick up a cup of warm (not hot) tea and add in a few drops of honey. This is to lubricate your vocal cords as you sing and keep them lubricated for longer durations.

Tongue Trill

This could be a quite a funny exercise in the beginning but it is greatly helpful. In fact, some commentators in the games do this particular exercise before sitting in their commentary box. In this particular you will rest the tip of your tongue just a little behind your upper teeth and onto your palate. After you are ready with this position of your tongue, you will have to make the “R” sound with your tongue. You will have to change the pitch of your voice as you continue to make the “R” sound. This is one of the most useful vocal warm ups for singing.

Lip Trill

It is kind of the same thing as above but this time you apply the trill technique on your lips. Again, to beginners it might not sound like something that would help them but it really does. Lip trill exercise is also known as “bubble” exercise because the sound you make from your lips feels as if you were trying to make bubbles in water. You do this exercise by holding your lips together and blowing winds through them so they sound as if you were trying to copy the sound of a Harley Davidson with your mouth.

Practicing The Ahhhh Sound

It is important to note while doing this particular exercise that you don’t end up straining your voice. Keep it within your natural vocal range, especially when you are doing this particular exercise in the morning. In this exercise you will make the “aahhh” sound starting from the most comfortable range of your voice. You could start with the chest voice and then skip at least 5 half notes and make the same sound on that note. Note skip 5 half notes behind the note you started with and keep repeating this exercise by going half a note higher on every next attempt.

Sing A Warmup Song

It is best that you pick up a warmup song only when you have warmed up your vocal cords a bit beforehand. You have to pick up from a list of good warm up songs to make sure you don’t sing a song that strains your voice. Most warmup songs are the ones that will go high and low on pitch but won’t require you to use difficult techniques on your voice. Star Spangled Banner is often a great way to check your voice after you have done some warming up of your vocals.

Hum A Few Songs

Humming is a great exercise when you want to start warming up in the morning time. It is because your vocal cords are fast asleep when you wake up in the morning and you will feel that you become breathless very quickly when singing the songs in the morning. Keep your mouth in a normal position and tongue in resting position where it should be touching the bottom teeth. Start humming a song. Sing the first part with the mouth closed, middle with mouth open and end it with mouth closed.

Always Start Low

There is a reason why vocal warm ups are called warm ups. It is because they are meant to prepare your vocal cords for a full performance. You are not supposed to sing at your highest and peak of your efforts while warming up. When you start warming up, start with your best vocal register and in your chest voice. Go up slowly but keep your voice low. Do not sing loudly at this point. Keep going higher slowly without crossing the boundary where you feel that your vocals have started to show signs of strain.

Humming The Scales

Before you start stretching your vocals to their limits, it is best that you focus more on humming. Do not keep on humming at the same pitch and without changing the notes. You should have it figured out what the best scale is that you can sing easily in your voice. Practice that particular scale with your humming voice. You could even pick the best warm up songs and hum them before you start singing with your real voice. Humming gives your vocal cords the little strokes to wake them up without pressuring them too much.

Relax The Whole Body

You have to take the holistic approach if you really want to know how to warm up your voice. Experts would always tell you that your voice is not all about your throat. If your limbs and other parts of your body are feeling the tension, you will not be able to sing at your peak voice. Just imagine how you are not able to sing at your peak voice when your belly hurts. Be under the sun for a few minute and just stretch your body and keep humming while doing that to warm up your vocal cords and body.

The Kazoo Buzz Or Siren

Yes, you will have to do all those funny things that you had not thought of if you want to sing like a professional. Kazoo buzz is like making the sound of a siren from your mouth. You curve your lips and make a circle. The best way to understand this position of your mouth is to imagine yourself sucking in noodles or on a straw to drink something. In that position you will have to make the “woo” sound and in several attempts you have to go up on every next attempt.

The Creaky Door Sound or Vocal Fry

You could also work on your vocal cords before making your final performance by imitating the sounds of creaky doors and windows. You can also call it vocal fry i.e. the lowest register of any voice. You have to make this creaky door sound from your mouth and try to maintain the pitch at the same level for a long time without the strain. You will then have to repeat the same thing by going a few notes higher. Keep going up but make sure you are not straining your voice.

The Coo Sounds

Make coo sounds from your mouth with little gaps among them. What you have to achieve with this particular exercise is hitting the right notes. When you make the coo sound suddenly from your throat your sound’s threshold will be very high and then it will come down to your normal sound. You have to make sure that the initial sound of your voice is hitting the note that you want to hit. Keep doing the coo sound and notice if you are able to hit the right note or not. This one should help you with high notes.

Giving Proper Time To Warmup

While warmups are extremely and crucially important for any singer, it has to be kept in mind that there is a limit on how long you should warm up your vocals for. You can’t keep on warming up because that’s not what warmups are meant for. You should not spend more than 15 minutes to 30 minutes warming up before you start singing properly. With time you will also realize how long it takes for you to get into your voice without straining it.

Release Your Mind

This is the last yet the most important part of vocal warm up exercises. You have to convince your mind that you can do it. If it requires you to do a meditation session to prepare your mind for your vocal performance then do that. You have to know that you can’t hit your notes in the song the way you should unless you are fully comfortable in your mind. You have to free your mind of any scary thoughts before you start singing. If you are focusing too much on your voice you won’t be able to put emotions in your songs. In short, relax your mind and consider this as one of the warmups as well.

It is not uncommon for singers to get bored of vocal exercises very soon. However, it is only the people who take these little things seriously that make big achievements in their lives. Skipping these warmup sessions would hurt your voice if not today then tomorrow.

Here are some additional resources for you to take a look at. Enjoy….

http://www.wikihow.com/Warm-up-Your-Voice

http://www.entnet.org/content/vocal-warmup-put-your-best-voice-forward

http://www.superiorsingingmethods.com/vocal-warm-up/

http://www.voicecouncil.com/top-tips-for-an-effective-vocal-warm-up/

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/The-Most-Effective-Vocal-Warm-ups

http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/singing/top-10-exercises-for-your-vocal-health/

http://www.livescience.com/4078-10-tips-healthy-voice.html