Just like an athlete looks after their body you must take time to look after your voice in order to ensure that it is at its best. As a regular voice user, you must be thinking why, when and how do I warm up my voice?
Warming up your voice is essential because a brief vocal warm ups can help loosen up the vocal cords and get you ready for the day ahead. Going through your vocal range and activating the different parts of your voice can also help minimise the occurrence of mistakes and voice cracks.
The most obvious time to warm up is in the morning before you set about your workload for the day. Incorporating quick and easy daily vocal warm ups into your morning routine is a great way to create a good habit and start everyday with your best voice.
You most definitely don’t need a long warm up routine in order to get your voice at its best. Around 10-20 minutes is enough time to have a shower and wake up your range. Create a routine for yourself that includes exercises which address the main problems you face and stick to it on a daily basis no matter what you’re up to that day. Try out different warm up exercises and choose the ones that feel good for you and try to create your own personalised routine.
Here are a few daily exercises that you can use to warm up your voice.
1.Lip Rolls/Lip Drills – these are quite popular with singers or people who take vocal lessons. Lip rolls are a great way for anyone to wake up your range and move through your different vocal registers.So, keep your mouth closed, and produce a ‘B’ sound while keeping a constant flow of air. This will make your lips vibrate which will make the ‘rolling’ or ‘trill’ sound. Do this first on a single pitch in your speaking range and then when you feel more comfortable do this though your range.
2.Do tongue trills in the morning (try it in the shower, or on your drive to work) to facilitate better use of airflow and breath. “BRRRRRR” “DRRRRRR”. Tongue Trills are similar to lip rolls but cause a vibration in your tongue rather than your lips and are another great way to move through your range whilst warming up different resonance in your voice.
3. Perform gentle humming and cooing to warm up your voice in the morning. “MMMMM, MMMM-MMMM” Hum with mouth closed then hum some more. You can start with one note but then explore your different range. Try different notes and patterns and continue until the sound and the air is coming through without any sputters.
4. Excellent tongue twisters are a great way to warm up your voice. Pick a few different ones with different letters and sounds. Start them slowly, enunciating each letter and sound working your way to a quicker speed. You will be saying them with no problem in no time, you will have vocal clarity and you will be able to pronounce each sound without trying too hard.
- Easy one – “RED BLOOD, BLUE BLOOD” & “RED LEATHER, YELLOW LEATHER”
- Challenging one – “DON’T YOU, CAN’T YOU, WANT YOU, WON’T YOU”
If travelling to work by car, these are great to do in the mornings, as long as you’re careful and don’t let it distract you form driving. So, open your mouth wide and stretch your mouth and face. Keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road!
5. Another one for the car journey is to smile and open your mouth wide. This fully opens your throat. Then start breathing normally, feeling the air go all the way down into your lungs. Be careful not to over exert. Your breathing should be kept natural the whole time.
Most importantly don’t forget to drink lots of water throughout the day and at the end of the day, perform a cool-down of the voice with similar vocal tasks.
Want more voice care tips? You can read our other vocal care articles here.