As a voice actor, you must have struggled with finding the right warm-up exercises to enhance your vocal range and abilities. Vocal warm-ups are essential to activate the different resonances, registers, and tonalities of your voice and deliver a smooth performance in front of the mic. It also ensures a healthier voice and prevents vocal injury when using your voice extensively.
But what is the right time to warm-up your vocals?
The most effective time to warm-up is in the morning. Your voice is not at its full potential when you wake up in the morning. Hence, incorporating a vocal warm-up into your morning routine can help loosen the cords and activate different parts of your voice.
Another good time is right before the live sessions. Just like athletes take time to warm-up before the live performance, so must a voice actor to prepare and ensure that the session runs smoothly. Moreover, it can also help to minimize the occurrence of voice cracks and mistakes.
Below are different warm-up exercises that can help amp up your voiceover game.
Humming is one of the most effective ways of warming up your vocal sounds as it takes very little time and also doesn’t put a strain on your vocal cords. A loose and gentle hum not only loosens the facial muscles but also creates space for the resonant sound, which helps to restore the voice tone quality.
• Sit with your back straight and gently close your lips.
• Take a deep breath and expand your diaphragm.
• Exhale while humming “Hmmmm” until you have no more breath.
• Repeat this exercise five times.
2. Lip trills
Another beneficial warm-up exercise is lip trills. It releases your lip tension and also takes the pressure off of your vocal cords before the final performance. Furthermore, it also warms up your diaphragm for better breath control.
• Place your lips loosely together and take a deep breath.
• Release the air between your lips while producing a “B” sound. This will make your lips vibrate – creating the “trill” sound.
• Keep repeating this exercise by going slowly up and down the scales.
3. Tongue trills
Tongue trilling is another excellent warm-up exercise to relax your tongue and wake up your sleepy cords. Unlike lip trills, it creates a vibration in your tongue rather than your lips. There are two ways to do this exercise:
• The first way is to roll your tongue along the roof of your mouth and create a “trrr” or ‘rrr” sound.
• The second way is to keep your mouth in a neutral position and produce a “D” or “G” sound.
Keep the sound steady and feel the tip of your tongue vibrating against the roof of your mouth. Start on a single pitch and, once comfortable, vary the pitch up and down the scale.
If you want to improve your vocal range, sirens can be your best bet. Sirens, also known as “Octave slides,” help to warm up the highest and lowest parts of your registers. In simple terms, it means taking your voice from its lowest to the highest pitch and back down again on a soft hum. You can do this by uttering the open vowels, such as ah, oh, ee.
Yawning is an excellent warm-up exercise that relieves the tension in your vocal cords and also improves the sound of your voice. It opens up your throat and relaxes your soft palate, thus, giving you better sound and breath support.
• Open your mouth to yawn and exhale at the end with a soft sigh like an “ah”.
• Repeat this five times. Also, always do this at the end of your warm-up routine.
Go through these five exercises and see which one works for you. Then, create your customized warm-up routine that includes some or all of these exercises and stick to it daily. Make sure to include the activities that address the main problems you struggle with. Also, the routine shouldn’t be very lengthy. 10-15 minutes is enough to warm up your vocal cords every day.
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