Identify supporting your muscles by laughing and sneezing. Breathe down into your knicker line, watching yourself in the mirror to make sure your torso is expanding, then engage your abdominal muscles and imagine you are trying to bring your bellybutton to touch your back bone as you breathe out. This will give you the diaphragmatic support that you need to become familiar with.
Use your pelvic floor muscles to squeeze down and give yourself extra breath capacity. Add this to your breathing exercises once you have mastered natural breathing.
Start with a lazy sound on the out breath, make no effort at first, then start to focus the sound – always using your support. Make sure your throat is still open by yawning or drinking a ‘pint of air’. Hum the sound forwards into your front resonances – this should make your face feel tingly. Once you feel the hum is fully forwards, and your face is tingling, open your mouth – making sure your jaw is relaxed. Make sure the open vowel is in the same place as the hum.
Sing mee-mah smoothly over an octave – starting on a comfortable pitch and raising a semitone each time. Ensure the sound stays placed forwards.
Change to lee-loo – making the ‘lee’ staccato and the ‘loo’ smooth.
Now sustain one note over the vowels eh-ee-ar-aw-oo. Imagine a silver line of sound so that each vowel is connected to the last. Again, always use your support and make sure your throat is open and your body relaxed. Repeat this raising the pitch by a semitone each time.
To increase your breath control and capacity, sustain a count over one breath and one note. Repeat and try to increase the count each time. The count should last as long as you have adequate breath for the sound – gasping doesn’t count!
Sirening – on an ‘ng’ sound, using your breath control and starting from a comfortable pitch, go up to the top of your range, down to the bottom and back to your starting point.
Right now you’ve put those muscles to work, its time to rest. Remember to re-hydrate frequently. And that concludes this week’s blog.
Make sure you check back next week for the final installment of the Vocal Warm-Up series!