Those who use their voice on a daily basis as a professional tool: teachers, singers, journalists, speakers, etc. they must have special attention when taking care of their vocal apparatus. In case of not doing so, the dreaded hoarseness may appear that would prevent them from exercising their daily activities in a normal way. Although you are not part of this group, it does not hurt to follow some tricks to keep your voice and speak more clearly. At unComo.com, we present 5 tips to take care of your voice.
Warming up the voice is something much undervalued, both by singers and by students and teachers of singing. However, when we sing, we are only using certain muscles of our body, and when we are going to do physical exercise, we must always prepare the muscles for what is coming.
The analogy that is often used when talking about warming up the voice is usually that of athletes. Athletes always warm up their muscles, stretch them, and prepare them for a run, a weight lifting, or any other type of prolonged or strong physical exertion, but what happens to them when they don’t warm-up is usually not referenced.
I take it for granted that professional athletes always warm-up, otherwise they wouldn’t be there (although I’m sure there will be cases and cases). What I do know firsthand is what has happened to friends of mine who used to do a lot of physical exercise as young people. Since they were young, it seemed like they could take it all. They would spend hours in the gym and start training hard as soon as they arrived, but a day came when they began to have ailments for no apparent reason.
To warm up the voice, the first thing we have to be clear in our heads is that we are not singing. We must get rid of all the pressure of singing, mainly the pressure that we have to sound good and powerful. By heating the voice, what we are doing is nothing more than stretching the muscles responsible for manipulating your vocal cords, but in a very soft way, so the volume that we have to use should be rather low.
Once we are clear about all this, the next step is to know what notes we should work on to warm up the voice. Again, we are not testing our voice apparatus, nor is it time to expand your vocal range. The notes we must work on are the notes where we are most comfortable before starting the warm-up exercises.
To know which notes are appropriate, you should focus as much as possible on your sensation and make a note in the chest voice and a note in the head voice. I insist both must be very comfortable to do, it shouldn’t cost you anything, and remember that you should do them at a low volume. Once you have those notes, you will have a very good reference to know where to start and how far to go while doing the warm-up exercises.
Now we have the volume at which we must practice and the range of notes by which we must move when warming up the voice, but now we have to know what warm-up exercises we can use. At this point, it is very important to have a good singing teacher since they will know how to personalize the appropriate exercises for your specific case. If you are trying to perform the feat of learning to sing by yourself, here are some warm-up exercises that can be useful to you.
This exercise is perfect as it allows us not to try to make it sound pretty. This means that we do not try to “improve” the sound in any way. It also helps us a lot because we are not manipulating the articulators to make any vowels. The position of all our speaking apparatus is neutral.
Other times what we want is to warm the voice in the mixed voice to be able to access it without forcing. For this, the warm-up exercise that works best is that of the witch’s voice, but remember that it must be at a low volume. I have come across many cases in which the student tends to lose that witch’s voice when turning down the volume, and exaggerate it more when increasing the volume.
It is difficult, but we can ensure that these two factors do not depend on each other, with practice. It is very important to disassociate them and be able to do them independently. Otherwise, this warm-up exercise will not be the most appropriate and can make us more tired by warming up the voice, which is not the goal.
The time to be used in the heating can vary between 5 and 10 minutes.