As with any physical activity, stretching is extremely important for singers before belting out a tune. Having a warmup routine to stretch the vocal cords is always a good idea for both health reasons and for improving one’s singing skills. While every singer’s warmup is unique, there are a few key elements to a warmup that are critical for strengthening and protecting one’s voice. What’s most important is that your voice is given an opportunity to prepare for the work it will soon be doing, which will definitely make a difference the more you keep it up.
Why Vocal Warmups Are So Important
If you imagine your voice as an instrument, it makes sense to take care of it as such. That means keeping it in good enough shape to get the sounds you want from it without risking too much damage or wearing out. Vocal warmups do exactly that. The truth is that singing without proper technique can be straining on your vocal folds. Over time, straining your vocal folds with poor technique and poor breath support can cause vocal weakness and can also potentially lead to damage. With warmups designed to strengthen your vocal folds, you can be ready to sing nearly anything your heart desires with confidence. Remember, the voice is a muscle and needs proper exercise to accomplish your musical goals. Singers often have a variety of tools and techniques to help them take care of their voices, but warmups before practice and performances are something almost all of them agree on and are also something everyone can easily learn to do.
Below, let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons why vocal warmups are a good idea for all kinds of singers.
1. Warming Up Works The Muscles
Singing engages the vocal cords and the inner muscles of your larynx, both of which you definitely don’t want to harm. By warming up before you start singing, you give them a chance to loosen up and relax. Releasing tension from the body and voice also reduces your chances of injuring your voice. By stretching your vocal cords, you’re also better prepared to sing in different styles or registers.
2. Warming Up Trains Your Voice
What’s really great about warmups is that they actually train you to become a better singer. The more you practice your warmup techniques the better you will become. There are a variety of methods that singers use to sharpen their skills while getting their voice in shape. Often, singers will use this time to build on vocal techniques that they want to employ. Many focus on vowel shapes, learning to sing each vowel clearly and accurately at different pitches to improve their resonance. Techniques like this are great for strengthening your vocal registers, enabling you to sing fluidly in higher or lower pitches than you might normally be comfortable doing. They’re also useful for learning to navigate through your chest, belt, and head-voice, and how to sing through them with connection.
Engaging Breath Support
The way you breathe while singing makes a huge difference in your performance. A great way to improve your skills as you warm up is to incorporate breath support exercises into your routine. Essentially, it’s about practicing the way you sing on a breath, learning to carry your voice through long phrases by controlling where and when you breathe. As you warm up, practice singing at the start of a breath and try to carry it as far as you can without overstraining your voice. This can help you get used to effectively controlling your voice in coordination with your breathing.
Another factor that can really improve your warmups is to engage in ear training. Focusing your attention on intonations, recognizing intervals and scales, will give you a better idea of where you are successful and what could be improved. As you’re practicing vowel sounds at different pitches, for example, you can also incorporate the use of scales and practice switching between intervals. This is great for singing practice in general, but it will also enable you to hear how well you’re hitting the right notes and broaden your ability to recognize these things by sound alone.
3. Warming Up Helps Preserve Your Voice
If you want to keep singing throughout your life, then vocal warmups are one of the best and simplest ways to keep your voice healthy. The healthier your voice, the longer you’ll be able to use and share it with the world. Be sure to check in on your muscles to ensure you’re ready to sing what you have planned. The important thing to remember is not to overstrain yourself by any means. Pushing your muscles beyond their limit will only serve to wear your voice out and potentially cause damage. That’s why if your muscles feel tired during a warmup, be sure to listen to them and not push them beyond their comfort level. You may not be able to tackle as much as you’d like to right away, but by being patient you can work your way up to that point with a healthy voice that will continue to improve for years to come.
Learning The Skills To Sing For A Lifetime
At Grace Music School, we recognize how crucial it is for singers to train, develop, and care for their voices. Learning skills like these can make all the difference when it comes to learning and growing as a singer. That’s why we stress them heavily in all our voice lessons, to ensure our students have what it takes to keep singing throughout their lives and improving their talents every step of the way.
We offer a variety of music lesson programs for students of all ages, skill levels, and interests, including instructions on ear training, theory, and technique. Performance opportunities are also available to give you the chance to put what you’ve learned on full display. Get in touch with us today for any questions or concerns and get started on lessons that will provide you a lifetime’s worth of singing skills and enjoyment.