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How to Warm Up Your Voice (and do it quickly)

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Quick Answer:


Try to give yourself at least fifteen minutes prior to a show to run through each of these 4 vocal exercises to get your voice ready to rock: Lip Trills, Tonge Relaxers, Humming, and Vowel Slides. Watch our tutorial video on how to do each warm-up.


The ProHowNow Way: 4 Easy Vocal Warm-Up Exercises


The band is set up, sound-check is complete, and now you’ve got about 15 minutes to change and warm up before the gig starts. We’ve been there, too. In a perfect world, you’d have 30+ minutes to warm up, but in the gigging world, more often than not, that ain’t gonna happen. No worries. Just run through our four favorite vocal exercises and you’re good to go in as few as five minutes.


For best results, practice these vocal exercises before rehearsals and your personal practice sessions along with a piano or keyboard. That will get you comfortable with them so that come gig time when there’s no keyboard available to warm up with, you can run through them acapella in the car or changing room.



1. Lip Trills (aka “bubbles,” “blowing raspberries,” or whatever you want to call them)


Close your mouth loosely and exhale so that your lips vibrate. Make sure to keep your lips relaxed and release the air with consistent support and pressure. The air pressure should feel similar to blowing up a balloon. With practice, you will be able to keep your lips vibrating longer. If you have a hard time getting your lips to vibrate, try placing your index fingers gently on either side of your mouth (not on your lips) to keep that area relaxed.


The nice thing about lip trills is that they are impossible to do incorrectly once you’ve nailed the technique. You can perform an endless variety of scales and patterns all the way up and down the range. You are also waking up the facial and breathing muscles required to wail...or whatever your style is. Never start singing without doing this simple but super effective exercise.


2. Tongue Relaxer


Get that tongue out of the way of your singing! Stick your tongue out as far as you can. Move it back and forth. Do this for about 5 seconds, then relax and repeat. (This is really fun if people are walking by.) The idea is to fatigue the tongue so there is no tension. Trust us, this works wonders.


3. Humming


This is exactly what it sounds like—hum through some scales with your mouth closed. Like the other vocal exercises, it’s pretty simple to do as long as your tongue is relaxed and there is no weight or heaviness. Our favorite variety of this exercise is humming slides with no individual notes. Make sure you sing throughout your whole range nice and lightly.


4. Vowel Slides


This is similar to the humming but now open to all your favorite vowels. (That’s A, E, I, O, and U for those who didn’t do so hot in grade-school grammar class.) This is sung with an open mouth, tongue staying behind the bottom front teeth. Be really thoughtful about the vowels. A-bay, E-bee, I-bye, O-bow, U-blue.


As long as you are mindful and focused on technique, you should be able to get through these singing warm-ups in five minutes, and you’ll find that you’ll have much better control and range right from the first number rather than taking two to three songs to get warmed up and comfortable.


Cover photo courtesy of @littlemighty


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