Vocal warm-up – let me walk you through my thoughts on how to design a customized vocal warm-up routine that covers everything your voice, body, and mind need. Ooo that feels like a tall order now that I’ve said it. So, what I’ll share with you in this episode is not an exhaustive list or a major detail but, the beauty of what I call my 4-C checklist of vocal warm-up. It’s in the overview is in the macro nature of the checklist.
The 4 Cs are my way of sequencing the routine and making sure you don’t get bogged down in one area of vocal warm-up development and overlook another. You might have a different way of organizing routine, do not have a routine – but sure see what you think of this,
What I won’t cover in this episode is how to build a daily vocal exercise habit. You know the way I’m all about voice science recently.
I turned my attention to behavioral science and I’m currently doing the BJ Fogg behavior design certification course using the Tiny Habits method.
BJ Fogg runs a behavior lab at Stanford and the approach is so comprehensive. I can not wait to graduate from this certification and weave my vocal coaching together with the Tiny Habits method. My dream is to create singing robots all over the world that auto voice train daily. A “start auto voice training session to fulfill vocal potential” and they don’t even have to think about it.
This is our opportunity to rebalance and to assess the readiness of our body and mind to sing and make the necessary adjustments to feel more grounded and present whether it’s exploring the connection to breathe, posture alignment, tension release, or de-stressing and refocusing.
I favor a very proprioceptive approach sensitizing the singer to their experience of their mind, body, and voice. I also want to really get the singer aware of their current state, body, voice, mind.
Are you holding anywhere? Is your inhalation restricted, are they getting good mobility in their intercostal muscles and transversus abdominis ( innermost muscle layer which wraps around to stabilize the spine ) is your exhalation compromised, any pain or discomfort? where are you at mentally? What are you worried about? Can you decide to put those concerns aside now for the next 10/15mins of this practice? Here is a great place to set your intention too.
On the course we’ll go into some exercises you can do for your body and mind here and stretches. We’ll also explore how to optimize the breath.
I recommend everyone conditions their voice and sets the instrument up for success is by mastering your favorite semi-occluded vocal tract exercise.
I remember being in my first lecture with Ingo Titze in San Francisco. He taught a good voice building exercise. Pioneered some of the most extensive voice science research especially in the field of acoustic science and explained the concept of self-sustaining oscillation. He described the holy grail of the ultimate singing experience.
This occurs when the vocal tract shape, air pressure from the lungs, and vibratory patterns are all optimized. The vocal folds will start to self oscillate and he used the analogy of like a flag blowing in the wind.
You know that feeling when you land on a note? It’s the perfect vowel on the perfect pitch and you took the perfect breath and you might be able to sing it forever? But you’re programming it into your voice with SOVTs so that those moments are no longer fleeting, that’s how you roll.
So this word can mean different things to singers and singing teachers from different schools of thought. Phrases like connect to the breath and connect to the body which I’m all for.
I’m interested in strengthening the neural connection to the voice and sound and the singer’s perception of the sound.
They are creating and working our way through the vocal qualities using our brain’s capacity for vocal learning.
Choosing the most optimal vowel modifications to negotiate challenging areas in the singer’s range such as the transition through leveraging vocal learnings.
We can really skip a lot of micromanagement of articulators. Tap into the brain’s songbird-like functionality to imitate the sound. I lean into this style in my vocal coaching because demonstrating is my strength. I strive to be that teacher but some of my favorite master teachers I’ve watched in action barely make a sound or give an instruction. It’s like watching vocal kung fu training, I love it.
This is where we bring together all the elements and challenge the voice with agility/flexibility exercises, sustained exercises, and more.
My priority is to maintain the singer’s form. So setting suitable exercise challenges to help you grow but don’t move you out of good form. If vowel tuning is challenging we go back to connect, if the voice feels like it’s fatiguing easily on these exercises let’s jump back to step 2 condition. If you’re still feeling like a ball of knots, and stress and unfocused let’s troubleshoot through step 1 center.
So they are my 4 Cs. I think they’re pretty classy! Just to remind you this isn’t the full picture of vocal development. It’s just a vocal warm-up primer that’s in good order but has scope to nuance as per the individual singer.
Each one of these Cs reminds your body and mind where the most efficient is available for the voice. It would need some patience, experimentation. I’d recommend for the singer not to force the voice. If it is reluctant to let go of old tensions or will take time to build up the power you desire.
Seriously though how exciting is this and couple it with my behavior training module!?
- How vocal warm-up helps to assess an individual’s voice. ( 0:53 )
- How the vibratory pattern can help to sustain our voice. ( 2:09 )
- Importance of vocal warm-up ( 3:44 )