Singing Tips – A Vocal Warm Up Is Key To A Great Vocal Performance

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This excerpt from our new guide, The Vocalist’s Guide to Recording, Rehearsing, and Performing, focuses on the importance of warming up before a vocal performance.


Download our FREE PDF, The Vocalist’s Guide to Rehearsing, Performing, and Recording: Care and Maintenance for Singers in Every Genre, full of singing tips to help improve vocal performance and maintain your vocal health.

If you sing without a vocal warm up, you can encounter all sorts of problems. Warming up before a vocal performance is very much about relaxing and preparing the required muscles and mechanisms for what they are about to do, and it is also about getting your mind and body into the flow of breathing correctly – which will ultimately help you sing better.

If you attempt to sing, particularly a higher note in your register, without any sort of preparation, your instinct might be to tighten up and force out the note, precisely the opposite of what you want to do. If you take the time to gradually wake up your diaphragm, tongue, and the muscles in your jaw and neck, and get your breathing rhythms and air support in place, you will sound and feel better during and after your vocal performance.

“Different singers have different thoughts about what they should do to warm up,” says Daniel Ebbers, Associate Professor of Voice at the Conservatory of Music of the University of the Pacific,” and it all goes back to knowledge of your own instrument. At the very least, you need to dip your toe in the water of what your voice is like that day. Scales are essential, because they teach you flexibility, breath control, breath management – all sorts of things that make your instrument function well. Just singing a scale isn’t what I mean, singing a scale in a certain way is really important, where you are completely aligned with your support system.”

What you’ll find every vocal coach mention is that good singing comes down to breath. Breathing is not just about holding notes longer – how you breathe affects the tone, the power, and the range of your voice.

“I talk a lot about resonance, certainly,” says Ebbers, “but almost always it comes down to the way you take your air in or the way your air is being expelled. Many students find it a revelation that how you sing is determined, in large part, by what you do in those moments before you sing. What you do when you’re not singing during a vocal performance is just as important as what you do while you’re singing. It’s setting up your body to be in a position of mechanical advantage, to make sure you’re not stressing your instrument unnecessarily, and using your body in the best way possible.

“If you’re not connected to your breath supply, if your voice is not riding on top of your breath, then your body is going to compensate and use something else to support your instrument, and probably use something that requires tension in an unnecessary spot that is ultimately unhealthy. It’s all about connecting to the breath supply.”

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31 thoughts on “Singing Tips – A Vocal Warm Up Is Key To A Great Vocal Performance

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  8. The main point of this reading is to stress people to do warm ups before singing because it will help you hit better note better.

  9. The main point of the article is that it is important to warm up and do vocal exercises before singing. Things that support this theory is that warming up prepares your muscles for what they are about to do, and it helps you relax. Another thing that warming up does is that it helps you to not put strain on your voice. Warming up helps to gradually wake up your diaphragm, tounge, and muscles in your jaw and neck. This is why warming up is important.

  10. I hear bad technique and bad pitch from people onstage all the time. Somehow it must seem cool to not really know what you’re doing when you sing. Truthfully, all the internet tips in the world won’t help you master your voice. Just take a month of lessons and you’ll really see a difference. Lots of good teachers (and you may have to search for one) will take a student for only one month.

    1. Forgot to mention, I have a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemp. Voice, and am a live performer and vocal teacher. Sometimes just a few weeks of lessons can sound like years of polishing! II don’t do online lessons for students. I need to really watch you sing in person. You can find a teacher nearby if you look. I am at wwwdotbettervoicedotca.

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