5 Essential Elements For A Proper Vocal Warm Up

How To Properly Warm Up Your Voice

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In this video Voice Physio, Selina, reveals the missing elements in most singers’ vocal warm up routine. Learn these 5 essential elements to ensure the entirety of your voice is ready to sing and to supercharge your vocal performance.

You May Also Like: Common Vocal Warm Up Mistakes

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’Til next time, Be Free In Your Movement™.

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Most singers know to warm up their voice before singing but that is only one element of a good Priming Process. There are a few more elements to consider and that is what we are talking about in this video.

Before we dive in, I have a free training for singers called “Introduction to Breath Support”, I’ll tell you all about that at the end so make sure you stick around for that.

As a physiotherapist and a singer, I am on a mission to help singers truly become Vocal Athletes. I want to show singers how to borrow Sports Science principles for their own gain, to enhance their vocal efficiency and to give them an edge to their performance.

Why do I think Sports Science work for singers?

Because your body is your voice and your voice is your body. Your body is ultimately what drives your breath, your body is what controls your exhalation, your body is where your Breath Support comes from, so having a limber, fit and strong body is essential for singing, and Priming your body properly is necessary so the entirety of your voice is truly ready to sing.

Let’s dive into the juicy bits.

When you look at singing as a sport it is easy to see that just warming up your voice really isn’t enough.

In any sport the Priming Process starts with general movement, athletes starts with general movement to limber up and to literally get their body warmer before progressing to more specific movement.

After general movement comes sport specific movement, for example tennis players and swimmers will do a lot of shoulder work, and footballers and cyclists will do more leg work, but tennis players and footballers also need to prepare for stopping and starting, and changing directions, whereas swimmers and cyclists, who go in a straight line, won’t really need that.

At this point we are starting to get more specific to prepare for what we are about to do. For singers, our sport specific areas or Singing Specific Areas that we want to focus on are the neck, ribcage and pelvis.

Next comes the neuromuscular preparation unique for the activity. This is when we do technical drills so tennis players will hit some forehand, backhand and practise their serves, whereas footballers would do dribble, passes and take shot on goals. For us singers, this is when you plug in your vocal warm up.

How are you going so far? Are you missing out on some elements already?

During your vocal warm up you would do the routine you and your vocal coach have put together for you, and that typically will start with some basic vocal exercises before moving on to exercises for agility and more dynamic voicing, which is strikingly similar to what we’ve just been talking about the body and movement, that we start gentle and general before moving on to complex, dynamic and specific.

What I want to add here is that I invite singers to also include Integration in their Vocal Priming Process.

What is Integration? It is a way of exercising I have created to help singers sync up their Body-Breath-Voice, this is something we want to practise in our regular Conditioning sessions as well as to do in our Priming Process. I’ll talk more about conditioning in a future video so if you want to learn more about that make sure you subscribe.

So now we have finally done our vocal warm up are we ready to sing yet? To sing yes, to perform? Not quite.

We have all experienced stage fright before, freaking out big time before stepping out on stage, being so paralysed by nerves that you barely knew what you were doing, and before you know it, it is all over and you think what the hell just happened? I don’t really remember it! Right?

Now adrenaline is useful, it keeps us sharp and can aid your performance, but we don’t want to be drowning in it. This is why I think during our Priming Process we also need to consider our nervous system state and use strategies to help us achieve a state that is alert yet calm, so we are ready to respond, not just react or worse, freeze.

Now are we ready? Almost.

All the preparation in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t have a success mindset so the final element of our Priming Process is to prepare your mind.

This is very obvious in sports like track and field, gymnastics, diving, you can literally see what the athletes are visualising, they mark it out with their body, then they give themselves the affirmation and they go for it.

As singers we definitely want to do this as well, we can easily add mantra, visualisation, affirmations to remind ourselves that you have done the hard work and now is the time to trust your training, trust your preparation, trust yourselves, step up on stage and have a good time.

So how did that land for you? Are you going to start Priming like an athlete? What elements will you be introducing? Would it be general movement, singing specific movement, Integration? Or is it nervous system preparation, mindset preparation, and maybe all of it? Let’s chat in the comments.

About that free training I mentioned before. As singers we know how important Breath Support is, if you want to be able to effortlessly dial up your Breath Support as need, you have to master how to use your Breath Support muscles.

Your Breath Support comes from your core and learning how to use these muscles correctly and Integrating them with your voice is the very foundation of good Breath Support.

As a physiotherapist I have been teaching people how to optimise their core since the year 2000 and I now help singers do that as well and I have a FREE mini course where I walk you through how to correctly connect with your pelvic floor, how to feel your core in action when you sing, and how to Integrate these into your singing. You can grab the free training by the link in the description.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m Selina, a physio and a singer. If you’ve found this video useful please like it so I know that you liked it.

And this is a playlist I have made just for singers so make sure you check it out. ’til next time, Be Free In Your Movement ™ You can literally see literrrrrrr…..

Selina Asirus Tannenberg. Voice Physio


Selina Tannenberg is a Meanjin (Brisbane)-based Physiotherapist, Singer, Composer. She believes a Strong, Limber and Fit body is an under-utilised key to enhancing Vocal Efficiency and Performance so has created Voice Physio to help Singers build Strong Bodies for Singing! She publishes music under her nom de plume, Asirus, and has a pet dragon named Sk’on.

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