Ashley Stanbury, an instructor in our Vocal Program, shares some parts of her daily vocal routine that will keep students’ voice ready for the stage, studio, and beyond.

These are the vocal warm-ups that keep my voice in shape and ready to go! As a consistently working vocalist in our industry, you will have good vocal days and not-so-good vocal days. More often than not, the day of the gig or recording session, you may feel vocal fatigue, hoarseness, or trouble finding your placement with ease. Creating a daily warm-up routine will help you achieve consistency in your tone and sound, whether recovering from a late night gig or a full day in a recording booth. Our instrument is very much connected to our body, and through knowing yourself and your body’s need for nourishment, sleep, exercise, your voice will be ready to handle a working singer’s schedule. 

This is my tried-and-true routine I found works best for my body and my voice. I encourage you to find your own routine for your unique needs. As you begin discovering what works best, make sure you have a mirror to observe posture and vowel shape, a recording device, and a pitch source like a keyboard. 

  1. Every morning when I wake up, I like to check in with my voice to see how I’m feeling with a gentle hum and sigh in my middle to upper register. After drinking a glass of water and a gentle stretch, I hum to see if I am feeling hoarse, dehydrated, phlegmy, congested or clear! Once I assess my voice in the morning, I know how to continue with my routine. 
  2. After you have assessed your voice, move your body in a way that feels good. Take a few deep breaths and continue with vocal slides through on your favorite vowels. As a soprano, I prefer singing front closed vowels like “oo” and “ee” for my upper register and back open vowels like “ah” and “eh” for my middle to lower register. Find your favorite vowels for your tone and style, and take your time feeling the sensation in your mask. 
  3. Once the upper and lower registers are connected, incorporate breath and technical exercises that focus on tone and placement. These can be “gnaw/nee-ah” sounds on a descending scale. A private lesson instructor can introduce you to new warm-ups for your specific needs. 
  4. Now that your tone, sound and breath are connected, you are ready to focus on agility: Arpeggios, pentatonic riffs, ascending and descending intervals with a focus on flexibility. Work with your vocal coach or vocal instructor to choose these exercises tailored to your voice. 
  5. Now the fun part! Sing through a familiar song to test your coordination and implement all of the different elements you just worked on. Whether you are singing a rock song, a pop song or jazz standard, you will feel ready to sing it with confidence! 

Vocal students who enroll in Vocal Technique 1-4 will study everything there is to know about the voice. The weekly lecture and performance lab incorporated into this 2 hour class, students begin class with a series of warm ups designed by the instructor, study the course unit and then apply those skills in the performance lab hour. For associates and bachelor students, this is one of the classes students enjoy the most.

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