Singing For Dummies
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Remember, your singing voice is made up of muscles just like any other part of your body. These muscles need a specific type of warm-up. Baseball players spend time stretching before the big game, and you need to stretch your singing voice before practicing.

What’s the difference between practicing and warming up? A warm-up gets your body ready for practicing. The difference between the end of the warm-up and the start of the practice may be only slight. Think of the warm-up as the beginning of your practice session. Everything that you do in the warm-up leads you to the work you do in your practice session.

Vocal warm-ups include making sounds to get your singing voice awake and ready to work out. Some good choices of warm-ups include the following:

  • Humming a familiar tune or one that you make up

  • Sighing or doing vocal slides

  • Doing lip trills or tongue trills

The basic ingredients of a good warm-up work the body, blood, and breath: You get your body moving, your blood pumping, and your breath ready to move out and sing.

Experimenting with different postures allows you to feel your entire body, as well as the movement of the breath. Don’t always stand erect to sing — sometimes sit, squat, lie down, slump over, or create other positions that allow you to explore what’s moving in your body as you breathe.

Try singing in these various positions, and then compare the feelings in your body to the feelings when you’re standing upright and singing. Watch out for any tension that may creep into your body while you’re experimenting.

Don’t let anyone’s comments discourage you from singing. Everyone is capable of singing well with practice. Have a family meeting to explain that you won’t tolerate tacky comments about your singing. Inform family members that what they think of as joking is really unacceptable. Be tough! Take no prisoners! Train your friends and family to respect your practice time.

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Pamelia S. Phillips is a professional singer with over 35 years of teaching experience. She has designed curriculum for high school students, college BFA programs, and professional training programs, helping thousands of singers refine their singing technique.

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