Warming up before singing: one of the staples of free singing tips you’d find everywhere. However, it’s still worth discussing due to its importance. Why do you need to warm up before you sing? That’s because your body is like a machine, just made out of flesh.
Singing is strenuous to your vocal mechanism. Just like a car, you need to prime the engine before using it to prevent any damage to the machine and get the internal parts moving, just like your vocal folds in this case. I’ve posted an article about this injury, which is genuinely chilling for singers.
Sure, some people can indeed start without warm-ups. But regardless of how good they are, they will still experience the consequences later. Remember that your voice box and folds are made up of delicate soft muscles and tissues. And it can’t take too much abuse. Today, I’d like to give some of the benefits of vocal warmups before singing.
It Makes Your Body Remember How To Sing
First of all, warming up before performing is an excellent way to make your vocal mechanism remember how to sing appropriately.
Some warm-up exercises are going through the scales and arpeggios. Doing them allows you to tune yourself. These exercises will let you recall the air quantity and pressure you need to release to hit the notes you want and need in actual singing.
By the way, if you’re going to practice or warmup and you live in a multiple dwelling space, you might want to consider getting a portable isolation booth.
Physical warmup exercises are comparably essential as well. Aside from your usual vocal routines, you might also consider doing, like jaw and posture exercises, which we will look at some more of them below.
It Helps Prevent Vocal Problems On Stage
A lot of things can go wrong when you perform. It’s a miserable affair to see singers suddenly choking, coughing, and squeaking on stage. Realistically, I’ve become aware of some of those throughout my career. When you see one, it’s cringy and pitiful. You don’t want to be in that precarious position, so never perform unprepared.
Warming up can help you detect if you’re not yet ready to sing and what a perfect time to make some adjustments early on if necessary. Lightly singing your song backstage can let you know if you have a dry throat or dehydrated. It’s kinda like a batter taking practice swings before standing in front of the pitcher in baseball, making sure the muscles are not tight or sore.
Another option is to just hum or do lip and tongue trills, which will be more in-depth the next few days in future articles.
Suddenly using your head voice without warming up can make you dizzy or experience some sort of a headache. So, take this to heart.
Here’s a vocal warmup exercise from Jacob’s Vocal Academy’s YouTube channel.
It Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Warming up is not just about doing vocal exercises. I’ve mentioned a little bit about physical exercises above, but this also includes some stretching and mental preparation (more on this later in a separate section). Singers don’t need intensive stretching that athletes do.
Here are some things you can do’): rolling your shoulders, tilting your neck side to side, front and back, dropping your jaw, bending your torso up and down, and shaking your limbs are enough. Know that stretching can reduce stress and anxiety, relax your body, and take away stiffness.
Another warm-up that effectively reduces stress and anxiety is breathing exercises. Slowly and deeply inhaling and exhaling can relax your body. Be sure to use your diaphragm as you do this. Do this for a minute or two.
It Lowers Your Chances Of Injuries
I’ve already said that singing at your best can be demanding for your vocal mechanisms. I can never stress that enough.
A sudden gust of air running through your folds can easily wound it, mainly when dry. Reaching a high note without warming up can rough up your throat. You may feel as if you suddenly screamed or you might even throw up unexpectedly.
These wounds do heal by giving your voice proper rest. Otherwise, it can lead to a significant injury, and can become a chronic problem which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place. Note that vocal cord damage can result in hoarseness, pain on your neck and worst scenario, it can permanently change your voice and ultimately traumatize you to stop singing completely.
Doing warm-ups allows your vocal mechanism to recover faster if damage has already been done.
It Will Push You To Get In The Zone Quickly
For most athletes, warming up is about injury avoidance and getting in the zone quickly. The zone is a person’s flow state. In psychology, it’s a mental state wherein you can perform in the best of your abilities. Just look at Michael Jackson. Every time he performs, it’s as if he’s always a trance state.
There are two prerequisites to achieve it: high challenge and high skill. For the first one, you need to always treat your performance or practice session as a big hurdle. Clearing the second requirement can be a bit tricky since you’re still new to singing; that’s when warm-ups come in.
Aside from vocal exercises and physical stretching, warm-ups include mental preparation, which I’ve pointed out earlier here. In standard terms, it’s the time wherein you encourage and pump yourself up. Even if you know that your skill level is still quite not up to par, you can make your mind believe that you actually have what it takes.
What happens if you fail to prep your mind? The combination of high challenge and low skill level will result in a negative mental state you’re familiar with: Anxiety. That’s right. In that state, you’ll be in your lowest performance level that can even make you underperform below your actual skill level.
Make It A Habit To Top it All
Warming up is one of the best practices you should never forget before you sing. It doesn’t matter if you’re just practicing or singing for the heck of it. It should become a habit of yours to make sure that you don’t hinder your improvement.
And there’s no reason to slack off when it comes to this. Warming up isn’t complicated. Just perform your usual vocal exercises, stretch a bit, and prepare your mind. I assure you that once you integrate it as part of your usual singing routine, your level as a singer will definitely progress faster.
I should add that this post is mostly about the reasons you should never skip warming up. I will mainly focus on the most common and practical exercises you can use for your pre-singing regimen in another article.
In case you can’t wait for my next updates, you can consider getting an online coach. Here are some of the coaches I’ve reviewed so far: Best Online Singing Lessons And Coaches From Udemy: A Top Ten List.