If you’ve been here before you can skip these beginning paragraphs and jump to the warm-up. If it’s your first time, read on!
Every Wednesday I will share a vocal tip or warm-up. After 17 years of teaching people how to sing I have so many things to share with you every week!
As a voice teacher I am frequently approached and asked for a vocal warm-up for use in a choir or as a soloist. I LOVE warm-ups and think it’s really crucial to use them whenever you are going to sing. It’s an easy step to skip when you are practicing (because who doesn’t want to get to the fun stuff like songs?), but it can also be THE tool that takes you or your choir from average to AHHHMAZING! The trick is knowing which warm-ups you or your choir needs, when to use it and why it works.
That’s A LOT of variables! It’s also the main reason why I don’t like giving a warm-up on the fly. They are most effective when used under the correct circumstances. It’s really difficult for me to explain all these crucial elements in a short amount of time. Hence, the Vocal Wednesdays! Woo-hoo!
Great warm-ups are passed down from teachers to students or teacher to teacher. It’s a lot like story-telling in that way. Teaching voice is both an art and science. Having exercises is one thing, but knowing how to use them is a whole other matter. You will get the most out of your warm-ups if you understand what sorts of techniques or skills it teaches and then use them accordingly. My hope is that Vocal Wednesdays can help you not only find warm-ups you like, but that you learn what skill each warm-up can teach and then be able to use it at the appropriate time.
IPA: [bIzi bIzi bIzi bi] IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet and is used by singers and teachers of singers to have a standardized guide to pronunciation. For future reference, I will always put IPA in brackets [ ]. I will also include a pronunciation guide of what it sounds like in non-word syllables.
Pronunciation: busy busy busy bee
2. 5432 123454321
WHAT NOTE OR KEY SHOULD I START ON? C major. This exercise is best kept in the middle voice for women (C4-D5) and chest voice for men (C3-D4).
Simple Descending 5-note Scale:
Descending 5-note Scale with ascending scale at the end:
Asending/Descending 5-note scale
WHEN CAN I USE THIS? This is a great FIRST exercise of the day. It can be used for any voice type, any age.
WHAT SKILL DOES IT TEACH? At the most basic level, it teaches a five-note scale. I particularly like this warm-up because of the voiced consonants, [b] and [v]. The voiced consonants help bring the vocal cords together firmly which assists in the production of a clear tone. The vowels switch back and forth between open [I] and closed [i] which exercises the tongue.
- Make sure the voiced consonants have pitch [b], [z]. Without pitch they will sound like [p] and [f].
- Be careful not to take this exercise too high. This should stay primarily from C4-D5 for women or C3-D5 for men.
Did you try this exercise? How did it go? Do you have favorite warm-ups? Please share in the comments!