What are warm up exercises for singers?
Warm-up exercises for singers refer to vocal exercises that prepare the vocal cords for singing. The vocal cords (or folds) are two small muscles located within the larynx (voice box). They are responsible for voice production.
The vocal cords are found at about the level of Adam’s apple (thyroid cartilage) in the neck. The vocal cords are very small (pediatric-ent.com).
How is voice/speech produced?
Most of the time the vocal cords lie apart, forming a “V” shaped opening. During speech, the vocal cords come together and produce sound by vibrating.
The movement of the lips and tongue changes this sound to create individual speech sounds (pediatric-ent.com).
Why should singers do vocal warm-up exercises?
The vocal cords are like the engine of the voice. If you warm up the engine of your car before driving on a daily basis, your engine will run smoothly. Vocal warm-ups help the vocal cords to function smoothly and eliminate the cracks, creaks, and groans that we hear in our voices at times. Warm-ups, as in weight training, are used to stretch the muscles to prepare them for work without injury.
How can I perform warm up exercises for singing?
Warm-up exercises should be done on a daily basis for about 5- 10 minutes.
There are many approaches to vocal warm-ups. However, the following warm-up exercises are simple and improve vocal quality and tone:
humming to the tune of a song.
humming while saying the letters M, N, NG.
humming while saying HM.
Vocal Cool-Down exercises for singers
Although unfortunately and frequently ignored, vocal cool-downs may also be used to prevent damage to the vocal cords. During speaking and singing, blood flow to the larynx (voice box) is increased.
Stopping immediately after prolonged speaking or singing may contribute to a pooling of blood in the larynx, weighing the vocal cords down. Damage may result as one attempts to speak on these potentially swollen folds.
An analogy can be drawn to other physical exercises. After running for prolonged periods of time, an athlete is encouraged to walk for several minutes to maintain blood flow and prevent cramping. The same propensity for “cramping” may apply to the laryngeal activity.
The simple practice of gentle, relaxed humming can serve as an excellent form of cooling-down.