Some Helpful Vocal Exercises

sing-201027_1920Singers, like athletes, warm up their bodies before they perform. Even if you are singing in a comfortable range, cold muscles cause you to crack, sing off-key, and generally miss the mark. Warm up your voice with these and other vocal exercises before preparing to perform in public.

Highs and Lows

Even if you aren’t going to sing through your entire range, stretch vocally by working through the highest and lowest notes you are capable of reaching. Start at your highest note and work backwards step-wise (full notes). Sing octaves or skip through the notes of chords as you would play them on a piano. Move down to the next note and start there, going down and back up to your starting point. When you get to the lower register, stop when you can’t hit the notes audibly any more. Do not overstretch; that is, singing should feel comfortable. If you are straining or it hurts in any way, pull back.

Even though you want to sing louder and reach a wider range, it’s not worth hurting yourself to achieve your goal. Take your time to slowly achieve that high C or low A or whatever you want. With practice, anyone can get there.

Successful Sounds

Try the same moves and some other more acrobatic combinations using a variety of sounds. You will find that open vowels are easier to reach because your airways are already open. Consonants or closed sounds are more challenging. This is where you might need to focus a lot of your singing moves. Try with “oh” or “ah” first before adding a consonant at the beginning like “mi” or “ma.” Now, close the sound off completely using words like “pip” and “pop” which shorten the sound. Harness as much breath from your diaphragm as you can.

Exercise the Diaphragm

This is the most important muscle singers exercise. You could try some staccato breathing to connect notes with your breath. Compare the long “maaah” with a shorter “ma” which is cut off quickly. Practice this by talking the sound and then add a note to it, repeating quickly. Learn to release air from low down. Hold back or let more go to create dynamics (louder, quieter, or vibrato, for example).

Hitting the Lower Register

If you are struggling in the lower area of your range, try yawning. The difficult part is opening up to yawn and not actually yawning while singing a note, but it is manageable with practice. First, find that movement in the back of your throat. Now, add a note to it, then more breath.

See? Your voice is getting stronger already! As with anything, regular practice is going to make a world of difference!