Warming up of the voice

warming up voice

You have probably heard of warming-up of the voice, but, after all, what exactly is this?

Have you have already realised that, before carrying out any physical exercise, we need to “warm up”, so that our muscles are ready for the activities they shall carry out (running, jumping, squatting)? Strange though it may seem, things are no different in the case of singing!

Our vocal folds also need to pass through a period of “physical warming-up”, also known as “warming up of the voice”, before you start to use them. This happens because, different from a mechanical instrument (like a piano or a guitar, for example) our voice depends on a complex system which involves muscles and also a series of physiological factors that need to be stimulated and also need to work in tune!

The term “warming up” could convey the idea that it is necessary to increase the temperature of our vocal cords, but this is not quite the main purpose here.

The warming-up of the voice is to increase the circulation of blood and, as a result, the supply of oxygen to the location, and also to give greater flexibility to the vocal folds, improving the articulation of the sounds emitted and the vibration of the vocal folds, thus making the singing moment easier. This is why the exercises for warming-up of the voice should be carried out before we start to sing. These exercises take between 15 and 30 minutes to be completed.

But don’t think that warming up before you sing is a waste of time! As time goes by, our voice is prone to certain types of damage (some of which irreversible), and a well-executed warming up of the voice before you sing means that the vocal folds are less susceptible to lesions! Therefore, the warming up is just one of the precautions that we shall always take, so that our vocal folds are healthy and our voice is always pleasant!

These exercises shall not only be done before presentations, but must be also be part of your study routines, prior to rehearsals!

Note: Warming up of the voice is also important for professionals who make use of their voice in their work (such as lecturers and teachers, for example).

So, let’s get started?

The best way to learn how to warm up your voice is by doing the following exercises, as we shall see on the following video (it’s in Portuguese, but you can generate subtitles or just imitate the teacher):

Summary of exercises to warm up the voice:

  1. Making a yawning movement
  2. Warming up with a pout + a smile
  3. Making the sound of the letters “TR”. Pout one’s lips, feeling the tongue vibrate (put your hands under the ribs to feel all the air coming out). This exercise must be done smoothly and without much volume. Repeat 5 times.
  4. Warm your voice with the sound of the letters “TR”, increasing the pitch. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Utter the sound “TRU” I-II-III-II-I: Men (octaves C2-A3)/Women (octaves F2 to E4).
  6. “UIUIUIUIUI” I-II-III-II-I: Men (octaves C2-A3)/Women (octaves F2 to E4).

Audio material for you to practise at home

For male voices:

For female voices:

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