Whether you’re a singer, actor, or just someone who wants to practice their public speaking skills, it is essential to warm up the voice. The voice is like a complex but yet delicate muscle and should be trained to gain strength, flexibility and endurance. So it is essential to warm up the voice for many reasons.
When you warm up your voice you are able to speak for longer periods of time without your voice becoming tired. You can also speak with the correct pitch and tone and your throat muscles will be relaxed which reduces the risk of vocal cord injuries in the long run.
Likewise, by warming up before you speak, it’ll be easier for you to navigate through texts that are difficult to read aloud. The right kind of warm-up helps you have better control over your breathing rate so that it’s slower, more relaxed, and more in sync with how you speak.
To sum up, a good voice warm-up routine not only prepares you for singing but also for speaking as well as other activities in daily life. So here are 10 simple ways to warm up your voice and body every day.
Do breathing exercises
One of the best ways to warm up your voice is by practicing proper breathing exercises. You’ll want to focus on taking slow and deep breaths for about 10 minutes. Don’t force the air in or out of your body—just breathe naturally and comfortably.
Regular breathing exercises will help get oxygen flowing through your body, which will make it easier for you to speak without huffing and puffing.
If you are unsure about how to use your diaphragm, follow this exercise. First of all, sit with your back straight (like you would at a piano) and inhale slowly but fully into your abdomen. Then fill your lungs slowly until they are completely full; pause for a few seconds before exhaling slowly through pursed lips (think like an old fashioned teapot).
It may feel difficult at first because it’s unfamiliar; but after several weeks practice daily it will become second nature.
Stretch your tongue
To do this exercise, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, as if to say “ah,” but without producing any sound. Now try to touch your chin with your tongue. This stretches the back of the tongue.
Next, touch your lower lip with your tongue. Do this several times, then place the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth and touch the tip of your nose. Reverse this process and do it again several times.
Place the tip of your tongue on the ridge beneath your bottom front teeth and drag it from side to side along this ridge several times. Now move the tip of your tongue in circles inside the bowl of a spoon, as though you were licking an ice cream cone.
Next, repeat this process with a comb or brush handle held horizontally against the roof of your mouth with one hand, while moving the tip of the tongue around and around it with the other hand. Repeat these exercises several times every day until you can do them easily and comfortably (but not too quickly).
Practice tongue twisters
Tongue Twisters are a great way to warm up the voice. It allows you to see how well you can move your tongue and helps your brain get used to saying words over and over again quickly.
Here’s one of my favourite tongue twisters that I use when I’m warming up: “She sells sea shells by the sea shore.” Say that really fast ten times! Follow this link for more amazing tongue twisters.
Drink plenty of water
Water helps to keep your vocal cords moist and lubricated. If you find drinking water boring or aren’t used to it, drink water with lemon juice.
Mixing water with lemon helps to naturally cleanse and refresh your throat. This helps reduce excess mucus build-up and keeps your throat moistened so it doesn’t become dry while talking. The acidity in the water with lemon juice also helps to stimulate saliva production in the mouth, which keeps everything lubricated and less subject to damage or injury.
In fact, warm lemon juice mixed with honey is an age-old remedy for colds and sore throats because it contains antibacterial properties that can soothe a sore throat and cough caused by colds or allergies.
Eat juicy fruits
Yes. Eating fruits is a great way to prime your voice for a full-on speech or meeting. Fruits are tasty and healthy snacks you can eat anytime, anywhere—but especially before speaking on meeting or giving a presentation.
The natural sugars in fruit help warm up your voice. Be sure to choose fruits that are soft and easy on your throat; it’s best to avoid citrus (grapefruit, lemons, oranges) and berries (blueberries, raspberries) due to their astringent qualities.
For example, bananas contain potassium, which relaxes your vocal cords—always a good thing! If you’re shopping for ready-to-eat fruit, try dried apple rings. They provide a lot of warmth without being hard on your throat.
Avoid candied or marinated fruits: they will only irritate your vocal chords further and make it harder to warm up later. If you have time, prepare homemade tea with ginger, lemon and honey: They’ll also soothe sore throats while gently warming up your voice. Of course hot tea isn’t just delicious but wonderful for relaxing tense muscles–which works well for singing too!
Sing your favourite songs
The best way to warm up your voice is by singing. Singing helps develop the muscular strength needed for good projection and correct pronunciation of words.
It’s important to note that it’s not just about making any noise: warming up your voice requires pushing air out and forcing it back in again – like humming. Here are some exercises that you can do:
- Humm- This exercise is used to strengthen the vocal chords and also to lengthen them while moving air in and out of your mouth and throat in a smooth fashion.
- Humm-Ahh- This exercise helps with the pronunciation of vowel sounds while moving air smoothly in and out of your mouth and throat in a very controlled manner.
- Humm-Ee-This exercise helps with proper pronunciation of “E” sounds like egg, eat or easy.
- Humm-Oh-This exercise helps with proper pronunciation of “O” sounds like old, open or over.
Experiment with higher-pitched voices as well—it’ll make it easier for you to hit high notes when it comes time for them.
Stand in front of a fan
A good way to warm up your voice is by standing in front of a fan. The cooler air from a fan can help soothe your throat and get you ready for speaking.
A light breeze can also help blow away any secretions which may have built up throughout the day. But if you don’t like fans or don’t have one at home, try doing vocal exercises or playing musical instruments.
Warm up your body to warm up the voice
If you want to warm up your voice, it’s important that you do more than just simply speak. All the above tips are great to warm up your voice, but so is the physical activity.
If you’re going out for a run or taking a walk, make sure you talk part of the time. The more physical movement involved in warming up your voice, the better.
Humidify the air
Buy yourself a humidifier and keep it running in your home 24/7 – or at least when you work and have meetings. If you don’t have kids or pets, fill it with water and add a few drops of tea tree oil for extra anti-microbial benefits.
An overheated room can make it difficult for your vocal folds to stay hydrated. A humidifier solves both of these problems in one fell swoop!
How to help warm up the voice in the long term?
All the above tips will hardly work if you don’t match it up with a good and healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips you can take into account to better shape your voice:
- Tone down the caffeine. Drinking coffee is a great morning routine, but if you do it too much, it can affect your voice. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels in your throat, making it harder for air to pass through. This can leave you with a scratchy and weak voice.
- Stop smoking and stay active. Smoking decreases the circulation in your larynx, making it harder to get your voice going. On top of that, smokers’ voices tend to sound hoarse and airy.
- Avoid drying up of vocal cords by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, or sugary drinks or food that cause dehydration (such as soda).
- Gargle with warm salt water several times a day. Salt water works by stimulating nerve endings in your throat, which causes muscles to relax.