Warm-up Bread and Butter Exercises

Every teacher has a series of warm-up exercises that they universally use to gauge with a new student and start the process of understanding their voices.

Here are 4 exercises that I use that I have found very helpful to all students.

Remember, there is nothing cerebral to them, they are simply nice and soft exercises to get your vocal folds moving…

  • Big Chewy Toffee: your lips are gently sealed and they move “up-over-and around “. This means your jaw opens and closes vertically, not side to side (let’s avoid future problems like arthritis of the jaw!)
  1. Make a gentle hum sound as if you were to say: “HUMMMM! This toffee is delicious”.
  2. Imagine you are surprised at how delicious this toffee is.
  3. Let your voice slide between the notes.
  4. Start from the lower third of your range: this means bases and altos start at F# major arpeggio, tenors start on a Db major arpeggio and sopranos on A major arpeggio.
  • Toddler Exercise: This is the silliest, yet one of the most important exercises.are a very annoying toddler that likes to be
  1. Imagine you are 4 or 5 years old and you are a very annoying toddler that likes to be naughty and mischievous.
  2. Now stick your tongue out and rest it on your lower lip. Your mouth is wide open.
  3. Now sing a major arpeggio with that rather annoying sound and make sure your tongue stays out. A common mistake is to allow the tongue the tongue to creep back into mouth.
  4. The reason it is important for the tongue to stay out, is because we are asking of our tongue root to come out of its usual socket. This forces it to stretch many muscles including the throat muscle which therefore cannot contract and choke your sound.
  5. You may hold your tongue with your fingers if you find it particularly difficult to keep your tongue nice and rested.
  6. Note the movement of your tongue. What is it doing? Aim to get your tongue to simply rest.
  7. Start on the note after the highest note of the previous exercise. For bases and altos (one octave apart) they should start on a B major triad whilst tenors should start on an F# major triad and sopranos start on F# major triad.  Again, slide between the notes.
  • Flying Dove Exercise: As gentle as it can be. This exercise is gentle and creates a personal, intimate and light sound.
  1. Smile and make sure there is a finger distance between your teeth.
  2. Place your tongue tip behind the back of your lower teeth and the sides on the inside of your lateral upper teeth. Your tongue should now be in the shape of a spoon.
  3. Bases and altos (one octave apart) start on the Eb or E major triad whilst tenors start on a B major triad and sopranos start on F# major triad arpeggio.
  4. Sing the arpeggio and make sure the resonance of your sound (feeling a buzz-like sensation) hits the roof of your mouth (oral cavity): the hard palate. You can also imagine a big door swinging open at the top of your head where the sounds shoots out of.
  5. Slide between the notes.
  • Robin Hood Tongue Twister: The main point of this exercise is to get your tongue moving, Make sure every word is pronounced to perfection. Once you have developed your muscle memory, please increase the speed.

-Use: Robin Hood, Merry Men, Freia Tuck, Little John.

I hope this post has been helpful, if you have the time please leave some feedback!

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