Vocal Warm-ups Are Not Just for Voice Actors

The muscles in your throat are like any other muscle in your body. They need to be stretched, sometimes trained, and, well-rested. Try a vocal warm-up before any type of formal or informal speaking. There are more extensive ways to train your voice, but to start, these exercises will help you to feel more comfortable, more confident, and, more relaxed before you speak. Try out a vocal-warm before a…

  • Business presentation
  • Toast
  • Class presentation or lecture
  • Eulogy
  • Prayer or testimony
  • Important or emotional conversation

Aside from the obvious benefits of priming your voice muscles, you will calm your nerves or get yourself loosened up for the occasion. Whether that is a personal discussion with just one other person or an elaborate ceremony with a large audience.

Whether we are prepared to speak or not, we are still likely to experience a rush of adrenaline. Even if we are not nervous and are merely excited to share the information that we want to discuss, we can still feel the physiological impact of this extra adrenaline.

No matter what the situation may be you can use your method of warming up to get yourself into a relaxed state-of-mind. An adrenaline release can trick you with shaky hands, an increased heart rate, or even, dilated pupils. This might make you feel more nervous than you are because your physical response can drive your emotions if you are not prepared for them. That is why it is helpful to warm-up so that no matter what the setting is — you will be ready to speak.

How to Warm-up Your Voice

Everyone is different. Try out everything below, and in a different order to see what combination will work best for you.

Practice will always help you to feel the most prepared, however, if there is no time for practice these maneuvers will ease your physiological responses to speaking:

Posture – Adjust your posture by rolling your shoulders up, and then back and down. Relax your neck and shoulders while you engage your core.

Breath – Take a long breath or do any series of breathing exercises that you like. Try to simply inhale through your nose and breath out your mouth through pursed lips. If you have no idea what this looks like watch this video. This will reduce your heart rate.

Hum – Humming will calm your mind and help to relieve stress. It will also relax your muscles. Research shows that it will also improve the airflow between your sinuses and nasal cavity.

Trill – Lip trills are when you buzz your lips together, like this. And tongue trills are when you roll your ‘r’s, like this. They may feel silly at first, however, these are very useful exercises to get your voice muscles warmed-up. Bonus points if you can do these while singing scales.

Tongue Twisters – Okay, this is extra credit. Tongue twisters are great for a variety of reasons. It is good to hear yourself speaking out loud so that you can assess your voice and readiness. In application to voice-over work, this is how we warm-up and practice being able to articulate those super-fast disclaimers at the end of an advertisement.

Now you’re ready!

I hope that you find some combination of these warm-ups useful. You can also try drinking warm liquids if you are in a situation where you might not feel comfortable doing these exercise in front of other people. Staying hydrated is important for the health of your vocal cords. Although try not to consume cold water before you speak or sing because this will constrict your muscles. Room temperature water is always best. If you stay hydrated and practice these drills, you will notice an improvement in your speaking abilities, and, in your overall mental wellness.

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