If you're a "good" musical theatre singer, you burst into song all the time, right?
Some of us love to belt it out all day, but there are those of us who prefer our warm-up and practice time to be in private. If you're one of those folks, you're not alone.
Neither of us likes doing vocal warmups when anyone else is around.
Yep, we're both professional singers and we don't go around singing all day.
Maybe it's ironic or even weird. But warm-ups can be very personal.
There are many different camps regarding warm-ups, but most people fall into one of these categories:
Camp A - "Sing out, Louise!"
This is the type that rolls into the rehearsal or show, and what happens, happens. We have a handful of friends in the business who are exactly like this, and they always have a great show. Break those legs!
Camp B - By the book.
These are the types of vocalists whose training, like ours, was based in a classical approach that focused on vocalise: a steady diet of humming, scales and octave slides using syllables and vowels that can help improve flexibility, pitch and tone.
Finding what works for you is a never-ending game of trial and error. As you age and grow as an artist, your voice ages and grows along with you. This makes it super-important to understand HOW your body produces sound.
A Connected Performer Warm Up
We are not saying that it's our way or the highway! The mechanics of the way we all produce sound is similar, but your body composition and how you actually do it is unique to YOU.
Connect the breath. Sound needs support. Focus on the connection of breath to sound to start. Simply take 3 or 4 deep, low, intentional breaths. You immediately become more calm and grounded just by focusing on your breathing.
Work those muscles. Regardless of your warm-up method, the goal is to get the vocal muscles moving without overextending.
- One method is to start with a light humming on the "ng" sound, because it gets the resonators going. Then, slowly open up to vowels, starting in a very easy 3 or 5 note range right around the speaking voice.
- As you progress, open up the range little by little, making sure to keep the sound easy and gentle.
- Jumping right to the power notes tends to add stress to the voice, so I save the "big" notes to the end.
- Another options is lip trills. This consists of blowing through your lips while doing an octave slide.
Either way, start gentle- remember this is a warm-up to the big event.
Move it, Buddy! When warming up, don't forget the rest of your body. You don't just sing from the neck up! Your entire body is the instrument, so get your body connected to the sound. Move around, stretch and find where you are holding tension, then do things to release it.
We're devoted work-out junkies. Everyday (performance or no), we need to get our bodies going first thing in the morning. Kevin loves to jump on a treadmill, elliptical or weight training. Natalie is more inspired by classes like Zumba, kickboxing and Yoga.
No matter what, it's important to keep the body loose and tension free...listen to your body.
Is there a "perfect" warm up out there for you? You bet there is! You get to cherry-pick what works for you!
Try different methods until you find a routine that you love. There are even warm ups on Spotify and Apple Music that you can start using today.
Until then, drink water, breathe and YOU do YOU!
Let us know in the comments what you've found that works for you.