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!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vocal Warmup: Why You Should Not Skip It

 Maria Sarah on NBC Today Show

At 4:30 Central, 5:30 NY time, I finished a Skype vocal warmup with my student Maria Sarah. This wise young singer chose to get up a half hour early to do her vocal exercises before going off to perform her piano/vocal solo on the Today show. Because she was warmed up, she sang with confidence and ease even in the heady, pressured environment of her first live national TV performance.

Here's why I advise you not to skip a good vocal warmup routine before performance:

Flexibility enables finer movement of vocal apparatus.

A colder muscle is not as flexible as a warmed up one. Your vocal apparatus needs all its parts to be flexible, agile, stretchable to perform all the variety of movements necessary for great singing.

Thick vocal cords need to be pumped thin.

The action of doing careful vocal exercises with correct form pumps interstitial fluid out of puffy vocal folds (cords). If the voice is sounded strongly with puffy vocal cords, it will not operate nearly as easily, and is much more at risk for being damaged in the process.

Great vocal technique needs to be automatic by the time you perform.

The 'muscle memory' of your voice needs to be reminded to operate optimally. Not only should you warm up... you should warm up with as much perfect form as possible. When you practice 'pulling' your voice instead of pushing, getting your voice coming from pelvic floor, over the back top of your head and to an audience point during exercises - it automates the process so you don't have to be thinking about it during performance. You also will be re-memorizing how it feels to have your voice buzzing in your mask, having your posture correctly enabling balance of breath support and control, getting articulation in the front of your mouth instead of your jaw.

Other factors you should consider when doing vocal warmups:

  • Do them right...
Form is everything. Do learn HOW to do effective vocal exercises properly, or a vocal warmup could become a vocal tighten up! Here's a check list for assessing your vocalise routine.
  • Do them long enough...
Consider your situation to figure out how long you should do your vocal exercises.
  • Do them afterwards, too...
Like any significant athletic endeavor, vocal muscles need to be warmed down after performance... especially when the performance has been a strenuous or long one. Any recovery time needed can be significantly shortened when the voice is warmed down. In fact, if properly warmed up, worked out in performance and then warmed down, your voice should only need water, sleep and nutrition to not only recover but also be in even better shape for its next performance.

It truly matters...

Whether it's 5:00 in the am or the pm, for best vocal results and for maintaining vocal health, whether using your voice for public speaking or for singing: don't skip your vocal warmup! And for important gigs you might even want to schedule your warm up with your vocal coach:)

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  • At March 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM , Anonymous Renée Yoxon said...

    Good advice! Thanks for putting a fine point on it. I'm definitely going to share this article with my students :)

  • At March 22, 2013 at 7:28 AM , Anonymous Diane Hurst said...

    I did a concert yesterday (it was my very first!) and warmed up while outside in the car (we got to the venue early). The windows were cracked open, but thankfully not too many passersby-- they would have gotten an earful of "Ahh-ahhh-ahhs" and "eee--eee--eees". Was glad to have the warmup first; the concert went well, and I felt my voice was ready to sing.

  • At March 24, 2013 at 10:07 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Too cool, Renee... love that you can use it with your own students! And Diane... CONGRATULATIONS on your first concert!! Good for you, warming up! Thanks for the report, girl- keep on doing it!


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