Warm Up Sequence

Michelle Shuttleworth Towler
Submitted: Mon, April 21, 2014 - 12:08pm EDT

Nobody wants to spend forever warming up. We all want to get to the good part - singing songs big and loud and gloriously! But warming up is a necessary part of singing, both for the health of your voce and the quality of your sound.

It is important to start small and get bigger through your warm up, just the way you would any physical warm up. No athlete begins their warm up by busting into a sprint, lifting the heaviest weight or jumping into a split. Warming up is a progressive process. Begin with gentle, voice-healthy exercises like lip trills, yawns and hums to safely begin stretching out the vocal chords. Don't forget to warm up your breath, too! Stretch out those lungs with deep breathing exercises. All of these are like pre-warm ups to prep your vocal chords and allow you to go up and down your range easily and safely. Not only will they protect your voice, but everything you sing after you do them will sound better!

Move onto small front vowels like EE's and nasal exercises like nyah-nyah's to gently open into larger sound and place high in the mask, away from the throat.

Don't forget to warm DOWN. Your vocal chords must be stretched to prepare and expand your lower range as well as your upper range. MAW's are great in descending vocalizes.

Tongue twisters are a great way to warm up those articulators. Some of my favorites include "Very furry frogs are very rare," "Budda gudda budda gudda boo," "Crispy cookies crumble and they crunch," "Mommy made me mash my M&M's" and "Princess Pippa picked a purple pig." Make up your own and sing on a 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1.

When warming to the very top of your range, start short and small. I like a 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 "Mee-hee-hee-HA-a-a-a" staccato on the way up, legato on the way down. Just tap those notes on the way up like little bells.

End with your loudest, most open sustained vowels when going to the top of your range. Put the hardest techniques of your warm up last! They are the skills that require the most time and preparation, so end with them!