Voodoo be Gone! I have been taught and observed many vocal exercises over the years. Many of them make no sense. The choir director or voice teacher learned somewhere along the line that it was good to warm up the voice or to do exercises on all the vowels, etc. But they have no idea what the exercises actually do to improve the voice and what order to do them in. Plus, they use the same exercises for everyone, no matter what each person’s vocal tendencies are.
You have a story to tell through your songs. You don’t have the time to waste doing vocal exercises that don’t do much for you.
We live in a time when more and more is being discovered about the human voice and how it optimally functions as well as how humans learn the best. You want to do vocal exercises that are based upon science and how things really work best for YOU.
Here are 9 reasons to do vocal exercises that are voodoo-free and suggestions for types of exercises that have their basis in vocal science and the study of how humans learn best. Enjoy!
Top 9 Reasons to Do Vocal Exercises
- Begin with semi-occluded vocal exercises to un-press the voice, allowing it to function most efficiently. The technique that works the best for most people is to use a coffee-stirrer sized straw. Place it between your lips and sing through it as if you were singing an “oo” with a very small lip opening. Start with simple glides throughout your vocal range. Here’s a great example of one of the world’s leading vocal scientists, Ingo Titze, using the straw exercise.
- Expand your upper and lower range and maintain vocal flexibility by doing lip trills or tongue trills on arpeggios that cover one and a half octaves. This is another semi-occluded vocal exercise with most of the benefits of the straw exercise. It is also far enough “removed” from our perception of singing that our mind tends to not get in the way of our ability to vocalize to more extreme pitches.
- Maintain good vocal health by warming up the voice on a vowel and consonant combination that allows the vocal folds and vocal muscles to function very efficiently without having to compress too firmly. An “oo” or “ee” vowel with an “m” or “n” consonant are often good choices.
- Isolate your vocal weaknesses and improve specifically upon them. The exercises you will do depend upon your vocal tendencies and goals. For example, if you need more strength in your lower range you would want to do exercises that are different from someone who has a very strong lower range but is weak in their high voice.
- Discover and use the sounds that in and of themselves cause your specific voice to improve. A voice teacher who has vocology training will know what combinations will get you what you need in your voice.
- Isolate the vocal demands of specific songs and practice them without the demands of the words. For example: crescendos and decrescendos, holding notes for a long time, singing with and without vibrato, etc.
- Create and reinforce the muscle memory for smooth transitions between the registers of your voice. There are ways to slightly modify the shapes of vowels and to decrease unnecessary muscle tension that will allow you to move through these transition areas freely and strongly.
- Increase physical and sensation awareness so that you can identify and implement actions that give you your desired vocal improvement.
- Unleash your voice so that you can fully communicate the story of your song. This is the ultimate goal – to communicate with your audience and allow them to come on the journey of your song story with you.
No more voodoo vocalizing. Use these 9 reasons to do vocal exercises and tips on which ones to do to unleash your voice. Tell your story. Be your best.
Lisa Haupert is the new kid on the block in Nashville, bringing the Vocology in Practice Method to town. She knows how to apply current vocal science to the singing demands of popular singing while also coaching singers to develop as artists. Her clients get what they need to reach their artistic goals. She has an entire network of educators, musicians, producers, and songwriting coaches on her team to help her clients move forward and fully explore their artistry. Lisa formerly taught at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and is currently teaching their voice fellows. She also taught at The State Theatre of North Carolina: Flat Rock Playhouse, and was a Level 5 teacher with Speech Level Singing. She provides Nashville Voice Coaching from her studio on Music Row and teaches throughout the world over the internet. She teaches other singing teachers the methods in the Be A Singing Teacher course, offering it quarterly in an online, interactive format. Voice Lessons Nashville