We all know that doing strenuous exercise without a proper stretch and a warm-up can result in injury. But what about your vocals? The soft tissue of your vocal cords and larynx is susceptible to damage and needs proper care. As vocalists, we do so by performing singing exercises and warm-ups to gently wake up our vocals and make them nice and supple for a stunning performance or practice session. If you have only just started your singing lessons for adults, some of these may seem funny or odd to you, but embrace the weirdness! Vocal warm-up exercises are really fun to do, and you will start to notice a difference in your voice, which will motivate you to stick with them.
Humming is a nice, gentle exercise that helps to stretch out the vocal cords and improves your tone quality. One of the best singing exercises for the voice to start your practice session. You can begin with just a gentle hum, keeping your jaw nice and loose but your lips closed so you’re not producing an open sound. Slowly work your way through the range, gradually increasing the volume and vibration of your hums.
Once you have warmed up with hums, you can move on to vowel sounds. Try singing ‘Ah, Eh, Eeh, Oh, Ooh’ and let the sound flow naturally, without forcing or manipulating it. Keeping your jaw relaxed will really help with that. You can try singing scales and arpeggios with a single vowel sound or try them all on the same note. In time, this exercise can really help improve the clarity and enunciation of your voice.
Have you ever tried to imitate a car alarm? Well, the siren exercise works much in the same way. To try it, make a ‘ng’ or ‘ooh’ sound. Start at the bottom of your range and gently glide up to the highest note you can reach comfortably, then work your way back down. While this may seem like an exercise to extend your range, it actually focuses on smoother transitions between your vocal ranges such as head and chest voice. So don’t overstretch, work on those transitions and stay within your vocal comfort zone for this exercise.
‘Cause this is triller…Tongue and lip trills
Trilling is one of the best singing exercises for the voice to help release tension, warm up your vocal cords and diaphragm.
Start with lip trills and try to produce a ‘brr’ sound by rapidly exhaling through your mouth. You can do this without a sound or start adding notes, melodies and even gliding up and down.
Move on to tongue trills and place your tongue behind your teeth. Make a rolling ‘R’ sound – this can be tricky for some people, but you will get there! Again, you can stick to consistent tone to get used to the exercise or glide up and down your range once you’re comfortable with it.
Tongue twisters are incredibly fun, and they can really improve your diction while singing. You can, of course, add some melodies to them or you can simply try saying them over and over again, gradually increasing the speed. Here are some good ones to try:
- A proper cup of coffee in a proper coffee cup
- Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather
- Pass the pepper, Penny
- She sells seashells by the seashore
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
These tongue twisters will also work really well if you’re looking to perform in musical theatre, as clear speech is so important for every actor.
Training your pitch
One of the best singing exercises for the voice is training your pitch and musicality! A great way to do this is by singing scales and really trying to memorise the pitch of each note. You can also improve your pitch further by listening to one note, then singing it. Do this over a period of time until you can instantly sing that note without hearing it first. This will become your reference pitch. As you improve, keep adding more reference pitches and you will soon be able to recognise them in different songs and work them out by ear. Training your musical hearing will also help you harmonise with other vocalists.
Learn more tips and tricks with qualified vocal coaches…
Writing about the best singing exercises for the voice is one thing but showing them in person is another! Our qualified and experienced teachers at London Singing Institute will show you how to make the most of these and many more unique and personalised exercises. We specialise in singing lessons for adults and our mission is to help you unleash that beautiful singing voice that has always been inside you. With our wide range of styles and disciplines, we can tailor the lessons to you and provide a judgment free environment to develop and experiment in.
Find out more about our adult singing courses, taught in London and remotely.