If you want to be better at singing, it’s essential to make practice part of your daily routine. Don’t just stick to singing your favourite songs or humming while in the shower, but get into vocal exercises and warm-ups too!
Even if some people don’t believe in vocal exercises, it’s clear that singers who’ve achieved success usually have a coach guiding them through routines.
Even if you can already sing songs from beginning to end, some vocal exercises might feel kinda silly or unnecessary. Still, they’re important if you want to become a better singer. Your voice is part of your body and the only way to really put it into proper use is by becoming one with it – so you gotta keep it natural!
Doing vocal exercises and warm-ups is one of the best ways to get your voice ready for singing. Not only does it prevent you from hurting your vocal cords, but it also helps you get more comfortable with the sound of your own voice. If you don’t have any lyrics or melody to worry about, you can really dig into your instrument and get the most out of it!
Top Vocal Exercises & Warm-Ups Review
A great vocal warm-up to do is hum. With humming, you’re using a light technique with your voice, taking less strain on your cords for the singing ahead. It’s an easy and effective way to prep them up. When your lips are pressed together, you should be able to feel a kind of vibrating sensation coming from your vocal cords. That’s called vibrato.
We usually try to avoid hissing sounds when using a microphone as they can lead to plosives. Practicing hissing is actually a good way to practice controlling your breath. You can do this rapidly, expelling all your air quickly, or do it slowly and with much more control. If you keep your teeth together, you’re creating less space for air to escape. You can practice and master the technique of ‘eeking it out’ which will help expand the time that you can sustain a note when singing.
The sound you make when singing depends on how well you control your vocal cords. To create a creaky sound, release as little air as possible and hold the note for as long as you can. Just like the exercise we talked about before, this will help you better control your breath while singing and also keep your vocal cords in a ‘closure’ position.
Loosely close your lips, not your nose. If you can’t get it to work, hold your nose and hum but make sure the sound comes through the lips. No need to put too much emphasis on the ‘z’ sound like the name suggests.
While keeping your teeth together, make sure to relax your jaw. You can experiment with different pitches too. You may experience a ticklish feeling during the process, but you can take breaks & blow hard with very loose lips like a horse – this should help!
5. Siren Glides
Let’s try and imitate an emergency vehicle’s siren. You can start low and work your way up or the other way around. Alternatively, you can begin in the middle and change your pitch above and below the note. Experiment with different sirens for a great effect!
If you got a piano, try picking a note and singing it higher. It’s important not to go note by note, instead let your voice flow from one pitch to the next, with no pause in between.
Try letting your breath out through your nose and focus on making the transition from breathing out of your mouth to your nose. You can also practice doing this sound without exhaling any air.
‘’Aahs’ are essential for vocalists to practice. The ‘aah’ sound carries much better than a closed vowel like ‘ee’, and creates an open mouth shape that helps project your voice further. It can also give your singing a more classical tone.
Hum a low-pitched ‘aah’ continuously to get extended legato notes, then throw in some quick ‘ah ah ah’ sequences. Make sure you control your vocal cords with the diaphragm, not by tightening your throat.
To practice the ‘aah’ sound, try some of the solfege and arpeggio exercises further down this page. Also, you can make it sound louder by slightly sticking your tongue out.
7. Ay & Ee
To strengthen your jaw and tongue, try playing around with “ay” and “ee” sounds. Think of a Spanish-style “aye aye aye” vs regular long “ee”s. Practice transitioning between them and notice how it gets your palate moving. When you say ‘aye’, keep it at a lower tone than the ‘ee’. You want to be able to move between your low and high-pitched registers.
Push yourself to really emphasize the “Y” sound when you’re speaking to explore different nasal tones. Also remember to soften it up for a more natural vocal tone.
8. Oooh Waahs
To get that open ‘ahh’ sound, you can start from a closed ‘ooh’. Just like the siren exercise, you can vary the pitch as you transition or stay on one note if you prefer.
Keep the sound consistent throughout and make sure you breathe in evenly. You’ll know when to switch up your vocal range and be able to control the way you project your voice.
Vowels are basically what shape the sounds of your voice, giving it more projection and control, but those pesky consonants provide you with the clarity that ensures people can actually hear the words of your songs.
Besides perfecting your vowel sounds, you should also give some attention to certain consonant sounds. These can help you become more conscious of the small movements that you wouldn’t necessarily be aware of.
An enjoyable way to help kids learn their vowels is to have them sing the sounds the letters make. For instance, ‘ahh’ for A (not ‘ay’), and so on.
Make sure you go through each vowel with every consonant letter. For example, for ‘B’, say ‘bah, beh bee, bo, boo’.
If you want to exercise your lips and diaphragm, try doubling or tripling up on each vocal exercise.
Having fun with the different vowels sounds is a great way to learn about tones. Take the word “baby” as an example, you can say it like “babee” or “baybay” depending on what kind of sound you’re going for.
You need to be careful with some words though. “Thunder” from Les Mis’ “I Dreamed a Dream” is an example – if you just sing it as one syllable, like “Thun-der,” it doesn’t have the right shape or tone. Instead, go for something like “thun-daaaah,” and then you can round off the note later.
G’s are a great way to exercise your vocal chords, L’s get your tongue going, and M’s give your face a high-energy boost. For vocal warmup exercises, it’s a good idea to focus on the more important consonant sounds. So instead of tediously reciting the entire alphabet, take a look at some of the exercises outlined below.
To start, pick a monotone and slowly sing “mah-may-me-mo-moo” at a low pitch.
Emphasize the M’s, and try to get all the vowels in one breath. Don’t just stick to this monotone exercise – have fun with it by singing half a scale or even a pentatonic, that’s 5 notes!
Listen carefully and you’ll notice that each vowel produces its own unique sound. It’s crucial to pay attention to this if you want to achieve the right tone with your voice.
10. Baby Babble ‘G’
When singing, it’s important to stop your notes using your diaphragm and not with a glottal stop. Many singers tend to start high notes this way, which isn’t good. Practicing glottal stops can help you identify when you’re making the mistake so that you can avoid doing it in the future.
A glottal stop is when you don’t pronounce the “T” sound in words like “bottle” or “water”. To do it, try saying those words without the T and pay attention to your vocal cords closing. You’ll want to avoid doing this.
To practice your ‘G’ sound, try making baby sounds like ‘goo-goo’ and ‘gah-gah’.
Pay close attention to hard ‘C/K’ sounds – they’re actually articulated differently, even though you might not have noticed it before.
The “hard C” sound is made by curling your tongue inwards, creating the sound closer to the front of your mouth. The ‘K’ makes a sharper noise and requires you to use more of your vocal cords.
Try hitting that higher register by singing ‘cuckoo’ and putting more emphasis on the ‘coo’!
12. Words Ending With ‘NG’ & ‘NYaw’ Sounds
To make the ‘NG’ sound, your tongue and soft palate have to work together. This same motion can help move between your loud and quiet notes. Practice slowing down the transition between the ‘N’ and ‘G,’ it’ll help a lot!
‘Nyaw’ is another sound that engages the same facial muscles. You can also make airplane noises which will help project the sound from your nose to your mouth.
Traditional Vocal Warm-Ups
Yep, you probably feel kinda weird doing some of these exercises out loud. But don’t worry! Here’s a list of vocal warm-up exercises which you can do at home – so no need to be embarrassed!
13. Solfege Practice
Grab a piano or any other instrument in tune and sing your major scale. You probably know it from ‘The Sound of Music’ (‘Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do’) or maybe try using any of the vowel sounds we discussed before. You can pick to just go with “ah,” “bah,” “la,” or “me” the whole way through if that’s your vibe.
Get comfy before you start and keep each note in control. It’s important to not just play staccato notes, but also ensure a smooth transition with one held note in between. Mastering this technique takes practice!
14. Chromatic Scales
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, there are other scales to experiment with. The blues scale is particularly good for pop music, and if you get fast enough at it, you can start hitting some vocal stunts like Christina Aguilera. Chromatic scales are great for beginners who don’t know much about music theory. Plus, they’re really good for warming up your vocal cords before you sing.
‘Do-Re-Mi’ involves skipping certain notes. The chromatic scale covers the whole range, so if you’ve got a piano, just try playing all the black and white keys one after another. For guitars, go through each fret and match up the notes.
Do you know what arpeggios are? For warming up your vocal chords, they’re perfect. Triads are the most familiar type, which involves singing the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 12th notes of a major chord. If ya wanna refer to the ‘Do-Re-Mi’ way, you’d be singing ‘Do-Mi-So-Do-So-Mi-Do’ from a middle C.
Classical singers usually belt out ‘Bel-la-si-gno-ra’ when singing Bella Signora.
Start with the basics and build up gradually as you go along with each sequence.
16. Octave Jumps
Before you tackle those big notes, try doing an octave jump. Basically, that’s when you go from a lower note to a higher one – like from C1 to C2 for example. It’s a great way to warm up your voice!
Work on making your transition as seamless as possible and it’ll be easier to move from chest voice to head register. Say you’re using the ‘Do-Re-Mi’ example, try singing a low ‘Do’ in the end for smoother transitions.
Breathing Exercises to Enhance your Voice
When giving a presentation, it’s important to consciously take deep breaths. Otherwise, you might end up talking too fast and sound rushed. We usually do this when we start to feel nervous. Doing this will help keep your voice strong and clear.
Give your breathing a boost by taking these steps:
- Take a few deep breaths – imagine there’s an elastic band around your waist (your diaphragm)
- Take a deep breath and see if you can make the ring expand
- Inhale through your nose and exhale out of your mouth
- When exhaling, keep an “s” sound going for a bit like you’re hissing
- Take a deep breath and count to 5 as you let it out. Change the pitch each time you say a number
- While breathing in, don’t tense up your shoulders – make sure to keep them relaxed & at the same level
- Chill out – tightness stops you from making good music.
Get yourself comfortable on the floor, laying down on your back and placing your hands on your stomach. As you inhale, watch as your hands rise and as you exhale, notice them lower. This is a great way to practice breathing properly; it’s really hard to do it wrong when in this position. Make it a habit to do breathing exercises on a daily basis to fine-tune your technique and develop strong lungs.
Why is Vocal Warm-Ups Important for a Speech
Saying the right thing is key but how you deliver it matters too. You might have the best idea, but if you don’t express it properly your audience won’t be engaged and miss out on your message.
Working out and warming up your body go hand-in-hand. Your voice needs the same treatment as well – so do a quick vocal warmup to get your chest, larynx, throat and mouth ready for whatever you’re going to do. Doing this can help stop any potential injury or long term damage. This can really step up the quality of your sound and make it flow more smoothly. Plus, it stops you from straining your voice if you do a lot of talking.
A vocal warm up gets your vocal chords ready for singing by balancing the air pressure. This way, you can confidently transition between chest voice, mixed voice, and head voice when singing. With this, you can access a variety of tones and different pitches while speaking – connecting the vocal registers and giving you access to a much wider range!
It’s a great idea to relax before you start singing. Your throat, chest, diaphragm, muscles on your face and tongue all work together to make your sound come out perfectly. Before attempting anything below, it’s a good idea to warm up with a few head and shoulder rolls, something to stretch your mouth and a few breathing exercises.
Check out our article on how to sing better – it’s got some awesome body warm-ups. As an added bonus, you could also give yourself a facial massage and practice some tongue twisters. Making yourself yawn is a great way to relax and stretch your vocal chords before you sing. Plus, it encourages deep breaths, which can help get you ready to sing!
Before you start singing, make sure you’ve had a good drink. This is especially important when you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Your vocal cords need hydration in order to perform at their best.
It’s best to stick with room temp water. Cold drinks will not help warm you up and defeat the whole purpose of warming up. If you want something warm, try making a honey and lemon tea instead of coffee.
You’ve seen how a little music theory can go a long way when it comes to singing and making sure your pitch is perfect. Through those exercises, you’ll realize it’s beneficial to have an instrument to practice with.
Lucky us, we can download virtual pianos onto our phones. And if you’re into singing, the exercises on this page can definitely help in taking your vocal skills to the next level!
FAQ for Best Vocal Warm-Up & Exercises
What are vocal warm-up and exercises?
Vocal warm-ups are exercises that help to get the voice ready for singing, speaking or other vocal use. They can be done before a performance or speech, or as part of a daily routine.
Vocal warm-ups should not be confused with vocal exercises which are more focused on developing and strengthening the voice. Vocal warm-ups are more general in nature, while vocal exercises may target specific aspects of the voice such as breath support or vowel sounds.
Vocal exercises may include tongue twisters, scales and arpeggios, and rehearsing difficult passages from music. Vocal warm-ups will include these things as well but also focus on breathing patterns and relaxation techniques.
What are the benefits of vocal warm-up and exercises?
Vocal warm-up and exercises is an important part of any singer’s routine. It helps to ensure that your voice is ready for performance or recording. Vocal warm-ups and exercises can help to improve vocal range, tone, and clarity, as well as reduce the risk of vocal fatigue and injury.
In addition, vocal warm-ups and exercises can help to improve your focus and confidence when performing or recording. By taking the time to properly warm up your voice before every session, you can ensure that you are always delivering your best performance.
What are the different types of vocal warm-ups?
Vocal warm-ups are essential for singers, actors, and public speakers alike. They help to prepare the voice for performance by loosening the vocal cords and improving range and clarity. There are several different types of vocal warm-ups that can be used depending on the situation.
Some examples include humming, lip rolls, tongue twisters, and deep breathing exercises. By doing these exercises regularly, singers can maintain a healthy voice while actors can project their voices with more confidence. So whether you’re a professional singer or an amateur actor, make sure to add vocal warm-ups to your daily routine!
What are some common mistakes people make when warming up their voice?
When it comes to speaking, having a strong and clear voice is essential. Unfortunately, many people make common mistakes when warming up their voice before they start speaking. From not warming up at all to incorrect breathing techniques, these mistakes can lead to a weaker vocal performance and even potential vocal damage.
Warming up your voice is an important part of any performance, but it can be easy to make mistakes if you don’t know what you’re doing. Common mistakes people make when warming up their voice include not taking enough time to warm up properly, using the wrong exercises, and pushing too hard.
To ensure that you get the most out of your warm-up routine, it’s important to understand what exercises are best for your voice and how long you should be warming up for. With the right approach, you’ll be able to maximize your vocal potential and give a great performance!
How much time should I spend on voice warm ups and voice exercises?
Voice warm ups and exercises are essential for anyone who wants to use their voice in a professional context. Whether it is for presenting, singing, or just talking on the phone – having a healthy and strong voice is important.
The amount of time you should spend on your voice warm up and exercises will depend on your individual needs. If you are using your voice professionally, then you should aim to do at least 10 minutes of warm ups and exercises every day. This will help keep your vocal cords in shape and ensure that you can perform well when the time comes.
Are there any risks of doing vocal exercises too much?
Vocal exercises are an important part of any singer’s routine, but it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with overdoing them. Vocal exercises can help to improve your vocal range and tone, but too much can cause strain on your vocal cords and even lead to permanent damage. It is therefore important to be mindful of how often you are doing vocal exercises and not overdo it.
Can I do vocal exercises at home or at work?
Vocal exercises are a great way to improve your vocal range and develop your singing skills. Whether you’re a professional singer or just looking to boost your confidence in public speaking, vocal exercises can help.
Fortunately, there are plenty of vocal exercises that you can do at home or at work. With the right guidance and practice, you’ll be able to maximize the potential of your voice and achieve the results that you want.