Your Voice Is A Muscle: Warm Up and Work Out!
Sing AAAHHH gently – how does it feel? Singing a gentle AAAHHH sound should feel as relaxed and stress-free as a sigh. If it doesn’t feel that way, then it’s time to learn how to warm up and work out.
Athletes train their muscles for strength, endurance, and coordination by repeating actions, like lifting weights. Our muscles know only the feeling of tension and release, and the way to communicate with muscles is to repeat the motion you want to learn over and over. The more you perform an action the better your muscles and nerves will respond, self-organizing the most efficient way to get the job done.
"Aah" for 8 counts "Aah" for 8 counts
Your voice is also controlled and created by muscle tension and release which requires complex coordination. The more often one practices singing, the better the coordination and skill of the singer. Just like you cannot "think" yourself into learning to ride a bike you cannot "think" yourself into singing or playing music well; your muscles must go through the motions to learn. The good news is that in order to sing well you get to sing. Hooray for singing!
The 3-note Scale The 3-note Scale
An important point in training is that, in almost every case, your muscles and nervous system will learn the best way to complete a task on their own as long as you focus your conscious mind on the outcome. Good athletes focus on their sport and good singers focus on their singing.
Self-consciousness and worry will attach themselves to your vocal muscles, and create tension. Tension is a singer’s worst enemy!
Before you even open your mouth, focus on the vowel purity and simply notice how it all feels to sing. Fix your attention on the purity of your vowel sound and the steadiness of your pitch – practice gently and steadily – and your body will learn the best way to produce the sound that you want.
Oooh Oh Ah for Focus Oooh Oh Ah for Focus
Sing this with and without the initial "s" to also relax your jaw.
And, just like a runner stretches before racing, singers will also find it helpful to gently ‘warm up’ the voice before singing. Start with relaxed and gentle "AAAHHH" on a single note.
The act of singing is quite different from speaking or yelling, so a vocal warm-up will help to focus your attention your feeling, hearing and singing.
Vocal warm-ups focus our attention on hearing and feeling as well as relaxing the voice.
-Richard Gard, DMA