The same way runners warm up their muscles before a competition, it’s imperative to warm up your voice before you sing. This helps you reach more notes within your vocal range and protects against unintentionally straining or irritating your vocal cords.
But not all warmups are created equal. Many beginning singers try to warm up by singing along with their favorite songs. In this video, I’ll explain why that’s not ideal and what you can do instead to get your voice ready to rock.
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Hi, I’m Roger Love, celebrity voice coach and author of the book Set Your Voice Free. Today, I want to tell you why you can’t warm up with a song. It happens to me all the time. Singers come in, and I ask them, “Oh, you had a show last night? How did you warm up for it?” And they said, “Well, I just sang my songs all day.” And they are so surprised to learn when I tell them that they were actually warming their voice down. They were making their voice tired. They weren’t warming their voice up, and here’s why.
To warm up the voice, you need to do specific exercises. Why? Because the exercises that I create control how much air comes into your body, then how the air gets to the vocal cords, and then how it comes out. That’s a very specific path for the air to follow, and it takes a lot of understanding and technique to make that happen, the right air in, and then dealing with the right air coming out. But when you sing a song, let’s say it’s a really airy song, and it’s all airy. You’re not controlling the air. You’re just trying to make it through the song. Let’s say you’re singing a song that’s really loud and aggressive, and you’re shouting. You’re not controlling the air. You’re just trying to make it through the song. The exercises control what the air does, but more importantly, it controls what the vocal cords are doing. It allows you to learn how there’s a voice down low called chest voice, and then there’s a voice in the middle of the range called middle, and then there’s a voice super high called head voice.
Chest voice sounds like this, “Aaaaah.” Head voice is way above that, “Aaaaah.” And then, that middle voice in between, “Aaaaah,” is a combination. But when you sing songs, are you singing songs that are utilizing all three voices? Most of you would have to say no. So, knowing that there are three voices, and you want to warm all of the voices up so that you can sing any song, from the low notes all the way to the high notes, without any pressure, without any straining, but you’re singing songs that might only keep you stuck in chest voice, and then are you warming up the other two voices? No! So, what happens if you were just singing songs all day to warm you up, but then, all of a sudden, in your performance, you had to hit a high note? Forget it! You’re not going to hit it. What if you were stuck in head voice all day, and you sang songs that were just in head voice, all high, all high, but then a song came up on your set that had to be really low and really strong? Forget it! Your voice is going to be really locked in wherever you were all day.
So, unless your songs have chest, middle, and head, and unless the way you’ve learned how to breathe is so good that you can control the air flow, there’s no possible way that the songs you think you’re warming up with are actually warming up your voice. They are making your voice tired. They are sending too much air through, which is making your vocal cords red, puffy, and swollen. They are allowing you to create too much volume, which is making your vocal cords red, puffy, and swollen.
I have spent over thirty years refining specific exercises that warm up the voice in as little as seven to ten minutes, and with those minutes, and with the exact way to breathe and the sounds that we make, it sets you up to sing chest voice, middle voice, and head voice. And then, no matter what song you want to sing, whatever song you thought was impossible, everything is within your capabilities, because you know how to control the air and the position of the vocal cords, and you’re warmed up in chest, middle, and head, and nothing is a surprise.
So, if you want to warm up, get some of my exercises! Go to rogerlove.com and download what I want to teach you about your voice and how you can get the specific exercises that will make you sing like the singer you dream you could be. I’m Roger Love, and I’ll talk to you soon.