Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vocal Warm Ups: What They Should Accomplish

There are a gazillion different vocal exercises out there you can do. How do you know which ones are best for you? Know what they should and should not do for your voice, and you will be better able to do productive vocal warm ups.

1. They should relax, energize your voice and make it feel good and ready for performance. If an exercise leaves your throat feeling stressed and your voice fatigued, you are doing bad exercises, doing good exercises with bad form or you are doing good vocal routines too long at your level to support good form. Bottom line: If it's a tighten up instead of a warm up... don't do it!

2. They should help you develop more vocal ability by strengthening and coordinating your vocal instrument all through your range. If your vocal exercises are right for you, you should notice steady vocal improvement.

Specifically, the goals of a vocal warm up should be:
  • To loosen tightness, numbness and tension in the neck, shoulders, back, soft palate, jaw, tongue.
  • To focus tone...engaging the facial mask including eyes, opening the throat and allowing access to all the resonation zones, surfaces and cavities.
  • To get your breath support and breath control balanced.
  • To focus breathiness into laser beam power.
  • To stretch your range and broaden your highs and lows.
  • To connect your vocal registers seemlessly and get rid of vocal breaks
  • To get your voice mixed, developing a wide, rich middle voice.
  • To get you singing with precision of pitch.
  • To develop great control of tone color choices and volume intensity.
  • To get your vocal confidence high.
  • If you are a student of Power, Path and Performance vocal training, to practice the "basic move" of the voice... getting your voice path coming from pelvic floor, lifting above and behind the head, pulling by the word through the mask in a focused beam to the audience.
Check out my free video vocal lessons on Youtube... there are vocal exercises in some of them.

What about you? Do you use a warm up that makes your voice feel good? Leave a message on the web in "comments" below this post.

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  • At May 19, 2010 at 5:14 PM , Anonymous Leigh Ann said...

    This was so helpful. We always hear you should warm up, but I've never seen the reasons laid out so clearly. Also, there are sooo many exercises. It's great to hear the criteria for choosing among them.

    I don't have a favorite warm up technique because I've never liked doing it. I didn't understand the reasoning. Now, maybe I'll find a fave!

  • At May 19, 2010 at 5:17 PM , Blogger ChakraChylde said...

    I don't think I use a warmup that leaves me ready to sing for about 2 hours. After I warm up, I feel strain at times. Sometimes it seems like I am feeling "free" after warmup, most times, I go up sing after warming up and it feels like I got a load of cement in my throat. The notes, and words feel stuck in my throat. I am afraid at that point to try and hit some of the high notes. Mind you, I am a year after my vocal fold surgery. Still, I should be fully recovered by now shouldn't I? I followed the MD and speech pathologist recommendation to the letter. Feeling discouraged at times I tell ya!

  • At May 20, 2010 at 5:27 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Leigh Ann... thank you! and yes, I think it's important for you to find and do some vocal exercises if you are singing. I do hope you find a fun and effective routine you can stick with, but note that it's so important to do them with correct form.

  • At May 20, 2010 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    TSlade: Wow, I think you really need to believe what I said in #1.. if your warmup it that taxing to your voice, you need to drop it.

    I, too, lost my ability to sing many years ago, my vocal cords were damaged by an endotracheal tube. I know that when we heal it is an instinct to "guard" our voices from further harm. This inadvertently causes tension which keeps the voice from working properly... and can cause MORE strain!

    Check out the page at http://judyrodman.com/power-path-performance.htm for the story of my vocal recovery.

    I am available for personal lessons, if you can't get to me in Nashville, I work with people by phone every day. Let me know if you'd like more info on that... I'd love to work with you and help you get on the right track with the exercises.


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