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I remember the first time I walked into my local gym. I had a list of exercises

in my hand and very good intentions of spending the next hour productively to

improve my fitness. Have you had those experiences, where your good intentions

get overshadowed by a task that just seems too big? My first experience in a

gym was completely daunting! There were machines everywhere and some of them

looked crazy. Not only that, there were people everywhere who knew exactly what

they were supposed to be doing and as a first-timer, I didn't really want to make

a fool of myself. So, I just did something completely easy that I knew I couldn't

mess up. I spent ten minutes on the treadmill and then ran out of the gym,

believing that I didn't really belong there.

I guess my journey to better fitness could have ended there, but fortunately I

didn't give up. A few days later, I phoned a personal trainer. I asked him

simply to show me around the gym and explain how everything works. I soon

realized that there was a structure to the chaos. All the machines were

organized according to muscle groups. My experience with that trainer began a

twelve-year professional relationship that completely transformed the way I

teach singing. I think that when people have a desire to practice singing and

work on their voices, it must sometimes feel like my first gym experience. It's a

task that feels vague and enormous. I mean, what are the most important singing

exercises that are worthy of your time and attention? Which are the exercises

most likely to help you become a better singer? And how long should you spend

doing them? These questions have been considered by more brilliant minds than

myself Dr. Ingo Titze, one of the world's

foremost voice scientists and researchers published an article in a

2001 edition of the 'Journal of Singing' entitled "The Five Best Warm-Up Exercises"

In this article, he explains the most important and beneficial singing

exercises and why they're valuable to a singer. It's a goldmine of wisdom. However,

the only problems are: he wrote article for the readers of the Journal

of Singing, who are mostly singing teachers. He also only described broad

classes of exercises, kind of like muscle groups to a fitness instructor. There

were no concrete examples, sound files, or demonstrations attached. So, in today's

video, I want to distill that information down for you and give you practical

examples of how to do the exercises Dr. Titze recommends. I've used the same

exercises over the past decade to teach hundreds of people to improve their

voice. I think they'll do the same for you! So, here are the five most

beneficial exercises according to a world voice scientist. Let's get started

right now!

Hello and welcome to Total Voice TV. My name is Darren Wicks, founder of Total

Voice Studio, a contemporary voice coach and choir director from Melbourne,

Australia. My mission at Total Voice Studio is to help you feel good about

singing and help you feel good when you sing. If you're an adult singer of

contemporary music styles, don't miss any of my online singing tips and education!

Let your voice be heard and start now by hitting that subscribe button so

I can keep you informed! Now, onto today's content. In today's video, I've

packed in the information. I'm going to show you a simple framework to easily,

efficiently, and effectively warm up your voice. But I also want you to be

successful implementing these exercises, and confident to do it by yourself.

That's why I've created an online course that breaks everything down and shows

you how to do it easily. There are video demonstrations using a variety of

singers and downloadable piano tracks that will allow you to do all of these

exercises in the comfort of your own home. Check the description box below for

more details on that. Exercise #1 - SOVT. stands for semi-occluded vocal

tract. It refers to a class of exercises where we partially block off

the mouth Dr. Titze refers to three of these in his

article - the lip bubble, the tongue trill, and another that he calls phonation

through a thin stirring straw.

When I start any kind of physical workout, I like to start with something

simple, just to raise my heartbeat a little bit and get my body ready for

some more strenuous exercises. These semi-occluded sounds are absolutely perfect

for that. The most popular of the semi-occluded sounds is the lip bubble.

I did a whole video on the lip bubble, so if you haven't seen that, check

it out via the link that's on your screen right now. There are two ways that

you can perform the lip bubble. I like to start with some unstructured patterns.

That means, find any comfortable pitch in your range, usually around where you

speak, and then massage your voice up and down, around your comfortable range. Next,

we can use some structured musical patterns. The patterns to avoid would

be small scale steps like this... Instead, use these big flowing arpeggios like

"1 3 5 8 5 3 1" and

then, even longer arpeggios like this

Also, look at some descending arpeggios.

You want to spend about three to five minutes doing these semi-occluded

sounds, before moving on. Exercise #2 - pitch glides. Muscles that have been sitting

around or unused for a length of time, tend to get stiff, locked, or have a

reduced range of motion. The best therapy for muscles that have become

stiff, is to get them moving with easy flowing movements across the whole range

of motion. To do this vocally, Dr. Titze recommends two-octave pitch glides on a

closed vowel, which would be /u/ or /i/. Start first with high to low

movements, before progressing on to the more challenging low to high movements

Men, for this exercise, start somewhere comfortably in your falsetto or head

voice at around C5, and then move down to an octave below middle-C, C3. Ladies, you

want to start about a fourth higher than that, somewhere around F5 or G5 and

then moving right down to G below middle-C. The value of these exercises is they

help your vocal folds achieve maximum stretch and range of motion. So, you

want to do these exercises for about two or three minutes. Exercise #3 - forward

tongue roll and stretch. Almost any kind of physical workout will involve some

form of stretching, either dynamic stretching, where muscles are in motion,

or static stretching, which would be more like a yoga routine. When it comes to

your voice, the most important muscles you want to stretch are your articulators -

the jaw and your tongue in particular. For this, Dr. Titze recommends the forward

tongue roll. To perform this, touch the tip of your tongue to the bottom gum

line and rock the tongue backwards and forwards with a relaxed jaw. Then, you

want to say the vowel sequence ee-ah

The best way to think about this is - there are two ways that we could say

yah-yah-yah. I could use my jaw like that. Or, I can use my tongue. You

want to use the tongue version. Now I'm old enough to remember the original

television series, Charlie's Angels. Of course, the Angels always posed for

their photos with their classic gun pose. So, you can use the same pose with the

two fingers here to release your jaw open gently. Then, with your free thumbs,

you can massage underneath your chin at the base of your tongue to

help relax the muscles with this exercise - yah, yah

In the same way you did with the lip bubble, start with some unstructured patterns,

and then move onto the arpeggios. Spend about three or four minutes doing this

exercise. Exercise #4 the 'Messa di Voce' One of the most famous singing

exercises in history, the 'Messa di Voce' comes to us from the classical

tradition. The words Messa di Voce literally mean to 'place' or 'put' the voice

It involves singing a single tone, then going from soft through to loud, and

then back to soft again as evenly and accurately as possible. Those who could

master this exercise on every note in their range, were said to be vocal gods!

Although this is known to be a classical exercise, any singer can benefit from

practicing it. If we can go from soft through to loud, and then back to soft

again, we go through all the possible configurations of the vocal folds. Down

the track, this can help you develop your mix voice and gives you supreme

control over the dynamics and expressiveness of your voice, which is

where the soulfulness of your sound comes from. The Messa di Voce can be

difficult to learn at first. So, I suggest that you start with some count singing,

counting from 1 through to 5 and then back to 1 again. Imagine that 1 is the

softest sound you can comfortably make, and 5 is the loudest sound.

Something like this: 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1

After you can do it with some count singing, do the same thing on a single

vowel sound, like AH and keep the count going in your head. As you perform the

Messa di Voce, you want to try to minimize or reduce any movement of the

larynx. So, you don't want the larynx raising or lowering with the dynamic

change. Also, you want to keep the pitch steady, which is more difficult than it

sounds. As the volume increases, the pitch tends to go sharp. As the

volume decreases, it tends to go flat. Also, you need to control the adduction

or compression of your vocal folds, so that the soft is not

too breathy, and the loud is not too squeezed or grabbed. Exercise #5

Staccato Arpeggios. Now 'staccato' is an Italian word that describes notes that

are short and detached. The reason Dr. Titze recommends performing staccato

is because it's a great way to practice the onset or starting a tone. To perform this,

exercise, I'm going to sing a simple major arpeggio on the vowel sound ah

like this... You want to make sure that there's no breathy start to the

tone and no glottal or grabbed onset to the tone, which would sound like

this... You can use some descending arpeggios, something like this... Start first

in the lower register and then try an arpeggio that covers both registers. Spend

another three to four minutes exploring these different types of onsets, first

by deliberately doing the breathy onset. Then, the hard onset. Then, trying to

coordinate or balance the start of each tone. Singers, I want to make it easy for

you to practice these exercises at home. So, I've prepared information sheets,

video demonstrations, and piano backing tracks so you can practice them in the

comfort of your own home. If you'd like to get a copy, head on over to Now that you've watched this video on singing exercises,

you might like to check out my video on how to warm up your voice, a

link for that is appearing on your screen right now. I so appreciate you giving me

your valuable watching time! And if you appreciate these free singing tips, don't

forget to give this video a thumbs up like. Your

engagement with this content really helps YouTube show my video to more

people. What is your most favorite singing exercise? I read all the

questions and comments you leave for me below and would love to hear your

suggestions for a future episode of Total Voice TV. It takes many hours of

preparation to produce these videos and you can support me to keep producing

free content on YouTube by heading over to my Patreon page. That link is

appearing in the description box below. Until next time, be well, keep singing and

remember, YOU were born to sing! Bye!

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