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Article on vocal warm ups ©Yuliya Johnson 2010

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Practice singing with the best warm ups
If you are passionate about singing, you must discipline yourself to practice technique. The minimum suggested time to practice technique for a singer is 45 minutes a day at least 5 days of the week, but the more time you spend on technique the better you will be at it. Before you start any kind of singing exercises, you must have the knowledge and understanding of a good breathing approach. You also must know how to stretch your body before you start warming up your voice.
Things you’ll need:
-Basic knowledge of the piano
- Hair scrunches or a rubber band
- Tall mirror and a small mirror
- Stop watch or a clock

Step 1. Stand tall with your keyboard or a piano so you can see yourself in the mirror. Observe yourself while warming up/singing to make sure there is never a tense facial or body muscle. Using the small mirror, check if your tongue is relaxed enough for singing by saying AH. Your tongue should lay low in the bottom of your mouth. There should never be any tension in your tongue.
Step 2. Make sure you are very relaxed. Stretch your body for singing if you have not already done so. Your facial muscles should not have any tension neither. Do a face stretch by making a surprise face: Lift up your eyebrows as far as they can go and at the same time drop your jaw ( from the back) opening your mouth as wide as it can go. Do this until you feel no more tension.
Step 3. Play and hum the five note scale throughout all of your comfortable range. Here are the examples of a five note scale: C D E F G F E D C, C# D# F F# G# F# F D# C#, and so on. Always maintain a good soft palate space to keep your throat free from tension. To create a soft palate space, you can either yawn or imagine a big ball inside your mouth. If you have a hard time with understanding the soft palate space, then you’d want to start off by exaggerating the yawn. As you hum, aim your sound towards your mouth and nose. As notes get higher, aim the sound towards your head. If you doing this correctly, you will feel vibrations in those areas.
Step 4. Do a siren call starting from the lowest sound you can make to the highest sound, then from the highest sound to the lowest sound. Do this at least twice. Siren call is a sliding action that goes up and down.
Step 5. Wake up your diaphragm by doing staccato* note exercises. If you are a beginner, then start off with a five note scale for now. If you’re on the intermediate level, you can do it on a full scale. If you’re more advanced, you can do this on a full scale and either add a 9th note or mix your scale up with arpeggio notes on the way down.
Step 6. Do legato* exercises on arpeggios (CEGCGEC). Do them on syllable -ZEE. Stretch your rubber band while you are singing. Imagine your rubber band’s resistance is the same resistance that your abdominal muscles create to control the air from escaping your body.
Step 7. Sing -AH on one note and time yourself. Make sure you have a sustained sound. Beginners might struggle to get to fifteen seconds, while more advanced singers might struggle to get to one minute. Every time you do this exercise, you will learn how to use your air more wisely. You want to make sure that you don’t let too much air out in the beginning and you don’t sound like you’re running out of breath at the end of your long note. Once you know your time limit, challenge yourself by adding a controlled crescendo* and decrescendo* to your note. This way you’re not only practicing good breath support, but you’re also practicing your dynamics.
Step 8. Work with a vocal book or your other favorite vocal warm ups to finish off your routine.
Tips and Warnings:
You should never continue with any particular singing exercise if
your throat feels strained or not free enough. You should either simplify the exercises, look for more tips on how to help you achieve more ease with a certain warm up or
consult a professional vocal coach. Since everybody is different,
if you can't figure out on your own what your most weaknesses are
only a vocal instructor can help you determine which exercises
you should focus on. As a singer, it is your responsibility to always look for different suggestions and exercises to keep yourself moving towards your goals in this competitive field. The warm ups that are listed here are the most significant of all vocal instructions and are used around the world from beginners who are working towards improving their singing skills to the most famous singers of all styles of music who use these exercises to maintain their voices.
Crescendo* - To gradually get louder
Decrescendo* - To gradually get softer
Legato* - Smooth, connecting sounds
Staccato* - Detached, disconnecting sounds ( particularly in this singing exercises you want to make sure your abdominal muscles create every single note, you will see your stomach bounce if you are doing this correctly)

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Great Tip's

Hey Yuli, How's it going? I'vlistened to several of your songs and commented on a few, all very positive. Your lyrics are very well written and thought out and I would give anything if I could play music like you create! I am a Songwriter first and since I can remember. I taught myself to play the Guitar and am getting better however, The melodies in my head are much more complex than the one's I use for my songs. (Because they are harder to find for me). The singing!!! Now that is my favorite thing to do even though I don't always hit it just right. This article is helping me to recognize my strength's and weakness's. I need to sing better in order to get my song's heard so, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the lesson and I'll keep you informed on my progress. Thank you so much!!! S.R.W.

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