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Unity

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Being ready and focused for a singing session can positively impact the outcome of the activity. A vocal warm-up is standard practice of many singing activities including amateur dramatic groups, choirs, singing lessons and ensembles. You might consider a set of scales or vocal exercises to get the voice primed. Normally the warm-up kick starts the session and lasts between ten - fifteen minutes.


Of course, preparing the voice with vocalisation is essential, but recognising that it is an intrinsic part of our being causes us to take other steps to prepare the whole body. In this week's blog I outline an holistic vocal warm-up considering the unity of body and mind for vocalisation.


Mind

Have you rushed into a singing session before? You've been running late from work, the traffic was bad, the kids were arguing as you left or perhaps preparing dinner took forever. Life's interruptions are endless and they all can have an impact on our mental wellbeing. When we enter the singing space it's really helpful to slow the mind down and refocus. I'm a big fan of mindfulness and by adding a couple of breathing exercises at the start of your singing practice can help prepare the mind for the session ahead. I'm not talking about breathing exercises which are specific for singing but rather those that slow down the breath, particularly the exhale.




Body

Preparing the body links closely to the mindfulness exercises as the idea is to loosen the muscles and relieve tension. I like to do this with some simple stretching, paying particular attention to the neck, jaw and shoulder area. The main reason for this being that we tend to hold lots of tension in these areas, all which can impact our singing potential.


Check out the video below for a quick 5 minute stretch routine to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.



Voice

There may not always be a need (or time) for an elongated vocal warm up, and I've personally found that five minutes of SOVT exercises can be sufficient to get things moving. I may have lost a couple of you with the term SOVT (SEMI OCCLUDED VOCAL TRACT) but for those of you who sing regularly, you are most likely to be already doing them - even if you don't know you are! Exercises such as sirens, lip trills, Vvv, Zzz and straw work all come under the SOVT umbrella. You may already feel quite comfortable gliding through your range on these sounds but have a go at trying a well known phrase that has some large intervals. Here's some suggestions...

  • Somewhere (opening phrase)

- "There's a place for us"

  • Take On Me

- "I'll be gone, in a day or two"

  • Singing In The Rain

- "Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain"


Top tip - try and glide between the intervals (aka notes) so that it is smooth!


A vocal warm-up isn't just for singers and it can be really helpful for anyone who uses their voice regularly... I'd say that's the majority! Warming up the voice can assist in keeping it healthy and sustainable. Teachers, hairdressers, pastors, salesman and call centre workers are just a handful of professions that are reliant on their voices to carry out their work duties. Some simple and regular vocal health tricks can help keep the voice at its optimum and probably more importantly, reliable.


I'd love to know how you've got on with an holistic vocal warm-up. Drop me your experiences in the comments section below.

 

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