Category: Voice Fatigue and Strain

Singing Through Cold Season

Tis’ the season to be singing!

Most of us are almost done with the big Christmas productions. Unfortunately, many are also coughing and having trouble hearing due to head congestion. Other than medications here are some tips to keep you singing through the end of the year… with excellence:

  1. HYDRATE MORE. Winter season (at least in North America) means dryer air outside. It also means dryer air inside as a result of heated homes and cars (which I am thankful for). That, plus all the extra singing, and even talking if you work retail means UP YOUR HYDRATION. Water, water and more water.

  2. THE POWER OF THE HUMM. Humming, with a chewing motion is a great way to keep things warmed up and resonating. It’s also a natural decongestant. It helps loosen and drain stuffy areas, which along with good hydration keeps you healthier. (Some of the silly noises babies make are really God-given exercises to keep the head and larynx area healthy.) Those of you who use the Lip Trill or buzzing motor exercise should also do that. It’s one of the absolute best warm-ups ever. Here’s what it sounds like:

  3. The OTC (over the counter) product called Neil Med Nasal Rinse, available from Walgreens and sometimes Costco is an outstanding way to flush out the nasal passages and sinuses. It’s very inexpensive and used by thousands of singers and speakers to keep the body’s “air filters” clean and open.

Hope this helps, and that you finish the year with joy in your heart and health in your voice. The message of the Son of God is one of the strongest, most meaningful you will ever sing.

WHO IS CONTROLLING YOUR VOICE?

Do you control your voice, or does it control you?

An odd question?  Perhaps, but I know many a singer who’s happiness with life is linked to whether their voice is working well, or not on any given day. And many of these same singers are doing absolutely nothing to build vocal foundations that result in a predictable, stable vocal experience.

In other words, they’re treating the voice as a mysterious, sometimes-it’s-there, sometimes-it’s-not instrument, and that never works. The fact is, what we call “the voice” can be as predictable and dependable as a carpenter’s saw or a professional baseball pitcher’s throwing arm.  Both the tool and the arm can have issues, of course, but with proper development and maintenance they tend to serve well for many years.

My advice is to be proactive with your voice. Identify your weaknesses as well as areas that you just don’t understand at all.  Be honest. Then, step-by-step, find ways to conquer each area, either with personal training, or with educational materials such and Vocal Coach CD’s that address your issues.  The important thing is that YOU be in charge of your voice. Don’t just LET things happen.  MAKE things happen!

5 Good Reasons to Warm-Up Your Voice Before Your Sing

Singers Who Warm Up Their Voices

  1. Sing with more freedom and consistency.
  2. Have fewer voice problems overall.
  3. Have a wider vocal range.
  4. Have more options for being expressive.
  5. Communicate their songs better overall.

Any singer knows the feeling of being less than 100% sure of what’s going to come out when you open your mouth to sing. That’s one of the main reasons for anxiety in performers. One of the common causes of this uncertainty is not knowing how to do an easy, systematic and effective warm-up.

What is a Vocal Warm-Up?

A few fun, systematic exercises that get your physical voice, mind and ear all on the same page. An effective warm-up also helps you get comfortable throughout your full range before you sing the extreme notes in a song. Vocal warm-ups are fun, too. You can actually do many things during your normal day to stay voice-aware and help your instrument say in good shape.

 

Dallas Mavericks Warmup
Singers are vocal athletes. They need to warm up the same as basketball player do.
photo credit: David Herrera

Singing A Song Isn’t a Warm-Up

Professional baseball, basketball and football players don’t come running out of the locker room and start playing a game. They stretch, limber up and take the time and effort to prepare the mind and physical body before the game. When it’s game time—or performance time for singers, the mind and mechanics are already prepared which means more relaxed and meaningful singing.

A Good Warm-Up Includes

Warming Up
Increasing temperature and blood flow in larynx, breathing system and articulators (lips, tongue, teeth) while checking for reasonable posture.
Making Sounds
Humming and lip trills so you can physically feel the resonance in the face and head as well as the throat and chest.
Diction Exercises
To get the articulators, brain and ear on the same page.

Powerful Tools from Vocal Coach

No matter what your style good vocal warm-ups are necessary, but most singers really don’t know what to do. We’ve made that part easier by putting together easy-to-use CD’s that apply to any style.

We have three categories for you to choose from:

  • Complete Warm-Up answers the question, “Why and how do I warm up my voice?” After a few principles and explanations you interact with a series of fun, and very effective exercise with great orchestrated accompaniment in a number of styles.
  • Daily Workouts (High Voice and Medium/Low Voice available) are just exercises; no teaching. They will warm you up, work you out and challenge in a number of fun and creative ways.
  • Ultimate Choir Warm-Ups are 1, 2, 3 & 4 part exercises that let you harmonize with the Vocal Coach Singers as well as those you sing with. It’s great for warming up the voice and fine-tuning the ear for singing with any size group. Available in 2 volumes for lots of variety.

All Vocal Coach CD’s can be downloaded in a matter of minutes from the vocalcoach.com store or ordered as physical product.

The Bottom Line

Don’t risk unpredictable or anxiety-filled performances. Practice Makes Permanent, and if you practice regular warm-ups before you sing as well as on off days you will be a better singer in every way.

What are your favorite warm-ups? Tell me in the comments.