Be honest... you are so excited to work on a new song or riff that you shrug off warming up your voice and body, telling yourself "it's not going to kill me to skip my warm-up and vocalizes this once."
Alas, you survive and can live to sing another day.
Sadly, though, this one time turns into two times, which then turns into 100 times. You then find yourself wondering why that note that used to ring out so freely is now so frustratingly difficult to hit... or why you are having to work so hard for power when it was so much easier before. Maybe you are finding you are getting hoarse and as a singer, that just SCARES you!
I'm here to encourage you... No... TELL you, that warm-ups and vocalizes should be MANDATORY before working your voice or performing. And this isn't just true of classical singers... it's for ALL singers.
One day, many years ago, I came across a documentary about P!nk and her rise to fame. In this documentary, there is a scene in which she is warming up before one of her shows doing what I call "blubber lips" (and start EVERY lesson with BTW). I could NOT WAIT to share that with my students... yes, she was doing the exact same vocalize to help prepare her for a two-hour show. And she sings HARD! I wish I could have jumped into the screen and given her a huge hug. Not that I needed validation by a much-cooler-than-me rock pop singer, but anything to help my singers truly understand the value of warming up!
What's the big deal? Why is warming up so important? And what's really the point of all of those silly vocalizes that seem to just waste time more than anything?
It is VERY important to understand YOUR BODY IS YOUR INSTRUMENT (that includes your MIND)! If your instrument isn't primed, stretched and coordinated, tension will undoubtedly sneak in and take up residence. You may not notice this tension right away but it is there and will just grow and grow and grow until it feels a bit like that barbed wire strangling the young woman in this blog post's cover photo!
What happens ultimately is that all of the coordinations you have presumeably worked so hard to achieve - breath support, relaxation and release of strain in larynx, tongue, neck, head and back, efficient vocal fold adjusments, smooth regsiter transitions, spot-on resonance shaping, etc... - simply become weak and you resort back to old habits, taking for granted that they are 'old' habits and they couldn't ever possibly rear ugly heads again. HA! How wrong you are!
It is imperative that as a singer you understand this truth and that you elevate your warm-ups and vocalizes to a position of honor in your daily singing regimen. All hail The Glorious Warm-Up!
Below are some great clips of two AMAZING singers to drive home this point just a bit more...
The magnificent Celine Dion on the Larry King Show...
I couldn't have said it better Miss Dion! And those exercises are WONDERFUL, too!
And just one more of her with Ellen! I adore BLUBBER LIPS and adore even more using them in this way! Right on...
And this clip of Adele from several years ago!
All of this to say, PLEASE DON'T TAKE YOUR VOICE FOR GRANTED! I encourage you to not let all of your hard work go to waste by foregoing your warm-ups and vocal exercises.
If you are interested to learn more about some really simple but wonderful techniques to get your voice primed and ready to sing, I created a 100% FREE video series "tutorial" for you to take advantage of - it is my pleasure. CLICK HERE to learn more!
In the meanwhile, DON'T FORGET TO WARM-UP and of course "let your light shine through song!"