As a special treat for my readers I’m going to give you three tried and true exercises for warming up your voice, getting rid of phlegm and bringing clarity to your vocal tone. I’m a little hesitant to share these because they really work and it seems all too easy to be true. These are best done first thing in the morning before a performance to get your voice in tip top condition. I got these exercises from a seasoned session singer who uses these everyday to bring about a really bright tone and removing any raspiness from his voice – they work wonders!
The shower is the best place to start your warm up – breath in some warm steam and try these simple exercises:
1. ‘m’ on a three tone scale
With all of these exercises you want to imagine a cello or other stringed instrument and sliding your finger up the strings as the notes ascend and descend so that you don’t sing distinct notes but rather you slur or slide the notes into one continuous scale. The three main notes are a simple triad for example C, E, G, E, C. pausing on each note of the triad. Men might want to start a bit lower than a middle C. You should feel a buzzing sensation around the lips on the ‘m’ sound. With all of these exercises you don’t need to go very high – you’ll find the vocal clarity will extend to your upper register automatically without going too hard too soon. Be gentle and allow your voice to move up by semitones for each new triad very slowly. You can work your way back down once you’ve reached the top of your comfortable range.
2. ‘n’ on three tone scale
Again with the same triad scale as you used in exercise one, repeat on an ‘n’ sound. The tongue should be sitting just behind the upper front teeth Keep it slow and gentle. Don’t try and extend your range with these, keeping the notes as low as possible seems to really clear any phlegm on the vocal cords. This will eliminate any morning huskiness and get your voice ready for more stretches latter on, once you’re fully warmed up.
3. ‘ng’ on a three tone scale
Finally you want to use the same triad as in exercise 1, but use the sound ‘ng’ as in the word ‘song’. The back of the tongue should be touching the soft pallet in the roof of your mouth and the jaw is dropped. You may like to gently hold the chin with your pointer finger to keep the mouth open as much as is comfortable. This exercise is very therapeutic and can be used for a very effective cool down, as is gently restores the vocal cords without undue strain. As with the first two exercises keep the scales low within your comfortable range.
It’s as easy as that! You’ll find that the earlier you start with these in the morning and the longer you do them, the clearer you voice will become. It’s so important just like an athlete gently warms up before exercise, to prepare your voice before a gig or performance. These three little exercises are a fantastic little arsenal to add to your morning warmup and you’ll hear the difference from the very first note you sing.
Melbourne Contemporary Choir
Jason or (Jase) as he likes to be called is Founder & Creative Director of Melbourne Contemporary Choir (MCCHOIR) and is a passionate musician who wants to bring his love for music to a broader audience.
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