Warm-up for singing: Physical and breathing exercises


A little over three years ago, I shared my vocal warm-up routine. Re-reading that article alerted me to the fact that I have branched out a bit and my warm-up routine is now more varied.

The function of a warm-up is still the same: warming up the muscles that play a role in my singing, “greasing” the coordination, “getting into the zone” and checking in with my voice and body. Two things have changed, or rather become more varied:

  1. I use a wider array of exercises as a starting point. Some days, it’s glissandi on “m”, “ng”, and “n”. Other days, I sing scale fragments in my comfortable middle range on different forms of “r” and with “horse lips”. Other days, I start with octave glissandi downwards, or I launch right into scale fragments, depending on how I feel.
  2. I often use five to ten minutes of physical activity and/or breath-focused work to mobilize my body and get into good tension.

Now, the latter is probably informed by the fact that I have, over the past two years, adopted a pretty regular exercise habit, mainly bodyweight exercise programs, but also some yoga.

Last summer, I got a few interesting pointers form a friend of mine who freedives. From the resources he shared with me, I was able to extract some exercises that helped breathing a lot – I can now sing through some phrases I struggled with six months ago! Also, my high notes seem to come more easily. Another source of my new pre-singing warmups popped up in the “related videos” section of my favorite Youtube yoga videos.

I’m going to share some of them here – with some precautions. Continue reading

A new writing project: Notes on vocal health

So a couple weeks ago I had this brainfart of writing down my answer to “How do you keep your singing voice healthy?” And this kind of escalated. As of now, I have over 12000 characters in my draft. I am debating whether I should make it a blog post series, a free e-book or both.

Now, who am I to write about this? I didn’t even complete music school and I’m not a singing teacher, right? But I have been singing and absorbing a lot of knowledge about singing since I was 10. That’s over 30 years! I’ve sung in choirs for long periods and I had about a decade of more or less arduous singing lessons. And I suppose I picked up a bit of knowledge over the years 🙂

I’m not going to gear my advice towards professionals. There are better resources out there for that! The series/e-book I’m writing is for all the people who sing on an amateur level out there who just want a friendly treasure trove from an expericenced singer.
And because I’m writing it for you, dear readers – what do you want to know about singing? Ask me in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or my Mastodon profile at metalhead.club!

Like what I do? Yo can throw something in my tip jar on my ko-fi page.

Advice from a classical singer: My vocal warmup

[crossposted from this thread on the FAWM Forum – I just wanted to conserve my looong posts. I also changed the order a bit and changed some words.]
I’m a classical singer, and as such, I’m quite strict about vocal warm up.

I (tend to) do a full-blown warm up of at least 10 min. whenever I sing something that feels more challenging than the easiest children’s song I can imagine. I feel like I sing with better pitch, a more beautiful and more smooth and even timbre… and I don’t hurt my voice if I do something in my upper range.

Warming up, for me, is a time of checking in with my voice and my body, see where I’m at today and get a feel for how I best handle my voice today. Some minor problems (e.g. when my voice feels a little “stiff”, crampy, sluggish or inert, or the high notes don’t feel that easy) go away with a careful warm-up, for others I find a way to work around, or I just acknowledge where my limits are today. Warming up is also a good time to remember healthy singing habits and to get into a good muscle tonus.

So what do I do for warming up? Continue reading