I’m going into parent mode as I begin writing this article, because I know you’ve been bad. I know you haven’t been doing your vocal warm-ups. In fact you probably haven’t warmed up once since you read 5 reasons you’re not doing vocal warm-ups (even though you know you should) . Ok, really…what gives here? I’m smiling, because I know what it is for most people. Vocal exercises make you feel kinda silly! That’s the long and short of it, isn’t it?
I mean we could say we don’t have time, but heck you could do vocal warm-ups while you’re cleaning your house, or driving to work. But there’s only one problem with that, isn’t there? Yeah…somebody might see you! LOL!! I’m teasing here, but I really do get it. But that doesn’t change the fact that you really need to be doing vocal warm-ups. I’m not gonna get into the why’s again, you’ve heard this stuff before. Instead, my only goal today is to give you at least one vocal warm-up exercise you can do in full view and ear-shot of your kids and not feel like an idiot. Or in your car at the red light and not worry that the person in the next car will think you’re crazy. And here it is….(drum-roll please)……….
Humming! ( you see what I did there, using the Humming Bird as my picture? Anyway…)
That’s right. Simple humming is a great way to warm up your voice. Because your mouth is closed, it’s very difficult to push hard or use too much air when you’re humming. And, for the same reason, humming is a vocal exercise you can do around people and feel quite sane. Here are a few tips to get the most out of humming for warming up.
1. Like all warm-up exercises, humming should be done very lightly with not a lot of volume. Your volume should be low to moderate and should stay that way as you move from note to note-even as you move to higher notes in your range. Don’t make the common mistake of using “air velocity” to reach higher and higher notes. Keep your volume very moderate and use almost no effort. You’ll feel your voice glide effortlessly from your chest voice to the upper parts of your range.
2. Feel the buzz (no, that doesn’t mean have a stiff drink while you’re humming, lol). When done correctly you should feel a bit of a buzzing sensation in the forward areas of your face. You may feel it in your jaw line, your nose, your lips or all of these combined. Some vocal coaches call this “forward placement”, some call it “singing in the mask”. But you want to be sure you’re feeling that buzzing sensation as you hum.
3. Be relaxed at all times. Hum in an area of your range that is comfortable for you. As you extend to higher notes remember to keep it very light. Avoid any sensation of tightening or tensing up.
4. Enjoy it! Humming is something you can do without a keyboard, piano or any kind of track to sing along to. You can do simple 5 tone scales or just hum random stuff you’re making up as you go. One cool, easy thing to do also is put on some music and just hum along with the vocalist rather than singing the words.
5. Keep your face and lips perfectly relaxed. You don’t need to curl your lips in or change your facial expression in any way. Your lips and facial expression should be relaxed just as it would be when you’re watching tv or something (unless it’s basketball wives- nobody has a relaxed facial expression watching that mess. Or…so I’ve heard. Cuz you know…I don’t watch it. No, really. I don’t.)
Ok, so now I’ve given you a warm-up exercise that you can do with a completely straight face, no hands, no music, looking straight ahead and stone-faced at the red light. Heck even if someone heard you, nobody thinks anything weird or strange about humming. Now, will you warm-up already? Geeze! :O)