Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vocal Warmup

I was having a conversation with my friend Lee a few months back and we were kidding around about vocal warm ups.

A quick clearing of the throat and off to the booth.

Yah, no.

The voice box, as you may or may not be aware of is two thin muscles that shape the noise of the air passing over them. Imagine when you hold a balloon, and you let the air out, and you make noises by tightening and manipulating the end where the air escapes. Same concept.

The tone then gets further shaped by the soft palate, the tongue, teeth, lips and sinus cavity. All well and good, blah, blah, blah.

How do you "warm" up this thing?

Here's what I do. It's plain, simple and puts me in a good mood.

I sing.

Full rip, no fear, belt it out Broadway style singing. Start soft with the first verse, build it for the second verse and smack the back of the house with the third verse.

Find a Broadway song that is in your range. Don't stretch to Tenor or Soprano if you can't comfortably get there. THAT'S NOT THE POINT. This is a song that sits right in your wheelhouse. For me, it's "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks, a song that when I played El Gallo, (I know..) I went out and got some training from a teacher. He said my technique was fine, but this song needs the confidence behind it to make it soar. Just let it go. Really send it out there with everything you have.

Don't destroy the voice by pushing too hard, just make it full, solid and loud. Bust out that inner diva.


A good half hour before a session sing it at least twice through. Now you may be wondering, where on earth can you do this?  I can do this in the car easily enough on the way to a session, or in my own space prior to recording, but if you're in a tiny apartment and about to get on the Subway, use the bathroom at home. They generally have some decent reverb. A stairwell is an ok place, but EVERYONE is going to hear you. Which, depending on your neighbors, could be a good or bad thing.


Good question. Just like stretching or warming up before going for a jog, it gets the blood moving and opens up those pipes. You'll move some phlegm (lovely word) out of the way and open up the lungs with some air. During most of the day, people take shallow breadths, this is the time to breath in deep and let it out long.

Test yourself. Do a two sentence recording of a script prior to a singing session and after. You should hear a marked difference. A fullness more rounded delivery.


Bass / Baratone: 
Try to Remember - The Fantasticks
Master of the House - Les Miserables
The Impossible Dream - Man of La Mancha
If I Were a Rich Man - Fiddler on the Roof

Any Dream Will Do - Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat
I Dreamed a Dream- Les Miserables 
On My Own- Les Miserables 

Let it Go - Frozen

I won't list Tenor or Soprano, as they have SO many songs since they're usually the lead. 


The key is, use one or two songs. But nail them. Get into them. Sing your heart out. This is for you, you're not necessarily going to perform these on stage, this is for you to get your sound warmed up in a way that moves through a dynamic range and a relaxed state. Have fun with it.