Our 5 Favorite Vocal Warmups (For When You're in a Rush)

Have an audition or a presentation coming up with only a few minutes to spare? We've got you covered! Here's our 5 favorite warm-ups to make sure your voice is as ready as you are to rock it!

 

1. For Work with Diction:

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Here's a few of our favorite tongue twisters. Remember: really focus on pronouncing all of the consonants!

"Red Leather, Yellow Leather" (x3)

"She sells seashells by the sea shore"

"Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter, but the bit of butter was too bitter for the batter, so Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter"

"You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York"

Phew! Feeling warmed up yet? If your mouth feels tired, you're doing it right.

 

2. For Building Breath Support:

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Put your hands over your abdomen and breathe deeply, focusing on filling the space in your stomach with air first. Feel that? It's your diaphragm. In the theatre world, we call that the "diamond of support," because it's a powerful muscle that allows you to project loud and clear without straining your throat.

Now, try breathing in just like that, and fill your lungs with as much air as you can manage! See how many individual times you can count quickly up to 10 on a single breath of air. You can keep score using your fingers. Can you beat your high score? 

Did you know? In 2012, German freediver Tom Sietas held his breath underwater for 22 minutes and 22 seconds. Wow! Now that's what you call a breath-taking fact!

Let's put that breath support to good use in the next warm-up!

 

3. For Mastering Projection:

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For this exercise, you'll want to stand straight and face forward. Place your hands on your abdomen using your diamond of support, and breathe in deeply. As you exhale, say "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" while using your diaphragm to push the air out of you. The sounds should be strong and sharp.

In the same manner as before, try "Who! Ho! Ha! Hah! Her! Hey! Hee!"

If it feels like you're using your stomach as a trampoline, you know you're doing it right!

Did you know? When the trampoline was invented by Larry Griswold and George Nissen almost 100 years ago, George brought along a kangaroo to demonstrate the jumping capabilities of their invention!

 

4. For Fabulous Vocals:

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This next exercise is called lip trills. Press your lips together and blow air so that your lips buzz like a bee. While doing this, add some sound by humming a single tone.

Next, hum the melody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while continuing to buzz your lips. Once you’ve mastered this, you can try making each note smoothly transition into the next, or you can try doing it with a staccato (each sound or note sharply detached from the others.)

You can do this exercise with other melodies, too. If you have a song you’re working on, a good way to practice is to do this before singing the words!

 

5. For Relaxing Your Breath:

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To project well on stage, you’ll want to use your breath efficiently. Stand or sit up straight and release any tension you may have in your chest or shoulders. Focusing on breathing into your diaphragm, take a deep breath while mentally counting “1, 2, 3, 4.” Pause and count to 4 again as you hold your breath. Then gently release your breath on another 4 count, pause, and begin again.

Remember to fill your diaphragm. Your chest should be the last place to fill with air.

Controlling your breath is also a great tool to reduce any anxiety you may have before going on stage!

Shaun Garrity