In many cases, singers engage in some form of daily routine or warm-up prior to singing, without knowing the rationale behind choosing various warm-ups or their actual function.
In this article, Guest Blogger and Vocal Coach Jessica Ford of the Nashville Music Buzz talks about the key points from a study by Elliott, Sundberg, & Gramming which emphasizes the importance of vocal practice and warm-ups.
Changing pitch undoubtedly stretches the muscles, and any singer will tell you that vocal warm-ups make them feel more prepared. Physical whole-body warm-ups also help prepare a singer. Muscles all over the body are used when singing (the diaphragm being one of the most obvious). Stretches and relaxation of the abdomen, neck, and shoulders are important. Stress and tension can influence the sound of the voice.
Warm ups train your voice. These activities teach, pitch control, vocal strength, breath control, diction, blending, singing with beauty, using your chest mix, singing with balance and so much more. So, with that said, here are the top three things you HAVE to know:
1. Singing is like doing physical exercise. If you go to the gym and bench press 150 lbs without warming your muscles, you are at risk for pulling a muscle and really hurting yourself. Singing without warming up your voice is exactly like that. So, make sure you do your warm ups before you go to bench press that song!
2. Singing a great song should always move your audience. You are required to get your heart and mind into your singing. This means getting in touch with the emotions of the song. Your voice is the window to your soul and you are allowing the audience to experience your feelings with you. Good warm up activities before singing will enable you to express your emotions properly and with confidence.
Singing is hard work! It can be physically and emotionally draining if you are putting in your ‘all’. Singers have to create a beautiful voice that is expressive. There has to be a perfect blend of timing and beautiful notes that are clear and moving. Both, sound as well as words should touch the listener’s heart.
3. Training your voice and body creates muscle memory. It is just as easy to create bad muscle memory as it is to create good muscle memory. With the right technique and training you are preparing your body to, once you have an audience, use that muscle memory so that you can focus on your performance, not your voice or pitch. If the training is there, you can be certain that you will perform with confidence, grace and leave your audience wanting more.