Singing is a physically demanding activity, requiring extreme vocal energy to convey an incredible performance. To sing flawlessly, it is essential to do proper warm-ups, stamina conditioning, and vocal-strength preparation activities to heat up the voice and build a solid instrument.
As athletes require time to stretch their muscles to prepare for a big game adequately, singers also need vocal warm-ups or exercises to ensure that they can deliver their best performance when they step up to the microphone. There are millions of benefits to practicing vocal warmups as they help in protecting the valuable voice.
As vocal cords are extremely delicate, it is essential to treat them with care. Stretching and warming up of these muscles reduces the risk of damage and voice loss. Vocal exercises have many benefits and can assist with relaxing the vocal creases and putting them in a position to nail the next singing event. Whether one is a novice singer or a pro singer, vocal warm-ups ought to be a standard part of your vocal training plan. These vocal exercises are divided into three phases –
· Warm Ups
· Stamina Training
· Vocal Muscle Building
Warm-ups are necessary for a singing voice and should be done for at least 10 minutes daily. This is necessary to increase blood flow and prevent vocal burnout. Warm-ups include three exercises –
- Vocal Stress Release – This exercise mainly includes neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and other stretching techniques to alleviate neck, jaws, face, shoulders, and diaphragm tension. It significantly increases blood flow to the vocal muscles for workouts and effortless singing.
- Lip Bubbles – Tighten your lips like a horse and make them bubble as you support irregular notes or slide all over in range. This everyday warm-up practice enhances blood flow to your vocal lines and encompassing muscles, causing the voice to feel like it has opened up. If a lip bubble doesn’t happen, this exercise can be practiced by rolling the tongue. It is also good to place the index fingers on the center of the cheeks to give lips more slack.
- Gargling Voice – Making a gurgling sound without using water is suitable for sustaining the vocal range. It is essential to practice this daily to improve the control of breath flow and relax the upper throat and roof of the mouth.
- Humming – We all probably hum before we start singing. Humming exercise is the best and the gentle way to ease the cords without exerting them. It is done by closing the lips loosely and humming along to give a step scale.
Stamina training is essential for effortless singing. Lacking vocal stamina leads to feeling tired or hoarse after singing only a few songs. Below are some of the best exercises to increase vocal stamina.
- Cardio Singing – This is basically running & singing together. It helps increase vocal stamina as it helps the body in better breath control, strengthens the lungs and intercostal muscles, and increases the physical stamina for live performances.
- Tiny Singing – The voice might sound hoarse or imposing or may try and break wildly. Tiny singing is a brilliant method for working on challenging melodies before singing clearly. This exercise will further help develop a full-voice tone to make the singer feel vocally strong and result in effective singing.
- Siren – Siren is a beneficial low impact vocal exercise that does not stretch the muscles but encourages sonic vibrations to travel through the body. Siren is a great part to add in the vocal training plan.
Vocal muscle-building exercises are essential to bringing more range and power to singing. This strength-training exercise is the secret to becoming a pro singer. High-quality karaoke music are even a great option to practice singing.
- ISO Exercises – Isolation exercises (ISO) are the three best vocal activities for expanding vocal range and power. They are not vocal scales; they are three primary activities (Falsetto Slides, Sirens, and Transcending Tones) that confine the muscles associated with vocal production and work them in an isometric design by supporting notes or sliding through the vocal range.
- Minor Scale Exercise – Numerous vocalists are accustomed to rehearsing vocal scales in a significant key, for example, a three-note design on C major (C-E-G-E-C). However, it is suggested to rehearse with minor scales as it adds a different flavor to the vocal exercise, and makes it fun.
- Yawn & Open the Throat – Continuous tension in the throat may lead to severe conditions like vocal cord paralysis or reflux laryngitis. Yawning and opening the throat assists in shaking out the tension in vocal chords. It is suggested to yawn a few times and exhale at the end with a sound of ‘ah’. Practicing this daily greatly helps in giving a better sound and breadth support.
Apart from this confidence plays a key role in improving your singing voice. Lack in confidence may lead to failing notes, cracking voice, pitch dropping, breathing and posture issues and mumbling.
Rest and recovery practice should be followed to have a melodious voice. As the aftereffect of prolonged use, the vocal folds swell. Thus, it is always suggested to give your vocal cords some time to relax and get in their original state. Singing on swollen folds seriously causes vocal damage, and singers should avoid this practice.
All the tips and exercises mentioned above are not just beneficial for the beginners but are good to carry through to a professional level. Proper breathing, maintaining sufficient hydration and good posture help in enhancing the voice quality. Try singing karaoke songs with lyrics and vocals to strengthen vocal power.
With time and experience, one will know the voice well overall. One will realize what vowel changes to make, how much breath to take for some random phrase, and how much volume or pressure to utilize, and that’s what numerous other little changes, when compounded, can have an enormous effect on the way of singing. Hope these above practices & exercises will be beneficial in improving the vocal range to sing like a pro.