How to Warm-up Vocal Cords

Whether you’re a seasoned performer or a burgeoning vocalist, understanding how to warm up your vocal cords is crucial for maintaining vocal health and ensuring a stellar performance. Vocal warm-up exercises are designed to prepare your voice for the rigors of singing by increasing blood flow to your vocal folds, promoting flexibility, and reducing the likelihood of strain or injury. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore six effective vocal warm-up exercises that singers can incorporate into their pre-performance routine.

1. Lip Trills

Lip trills, sometimes referred to as lip bubbles, are a popular vocal exercise that involves blowing air through closed lips to create a trilling sound. This exercise is beneficial because it helps relieve tension in the lips, face, and vocal cords while also facilitating proper breath support and control.

How to Perform Lip Trills:

Start by taking a deep breath and relaxing your shoulders. With your lips loosely closed, exhale steadily to create a motorboat-like sound. As you continue to trill, glide up and down your vocal range to gently stretch your vocal cords.

Insider Tip: If you find it difficult to start the trill, lightly press your index fingers against your cheeks to provide additional support.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers

2. Humming

Humming is one of the simplest yet most effective vocal warm-ups. It gently activates the vocal cords and resonators without putting unnecessary strain on your voice.

How to Hum Properly:

Begin by placing the tip of your tongue behind your lower front teeth. Hum a comfortable note, feeling the vibration in your face and chest. Experiment with different pitches and volumes to warm up various parts of your vocal range.

Insider Tip: Focus on keeping the sound smooth and even, and imagine the hum resonating in the “mask” of your face to increase resonance.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers

3. Sirens

The siren exercise is designed to increase vocal flexibility and range. By mimicking the sound of a siren, you can smoothly transition from your lowest note to your highest note and back down.

Steps for Doing Sirens:

Inhale deeply and start at the bottom of your range, making a soft ‘woo’ sound. Glide up through your range to the highest note you can comfortably reach, then back down again. Keep the motion fluid and continuous, like a siren ascending and descending.

Insider Tip: Ensure you’re not pushing your voice too hard, especially at the top of your range. This exercise should feel free and easy.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers

4. Tongue Trills

Tongue trills are similar to lip trills but involve rolling the ‘R’ sound. This exercise helps reduce tension in the tongue and jaw, which are common areas of strain for singers.

Performing Tongue Trills Correctly:

Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth, and start to roll the ‘R’ sound. As with lip trills, move up and down your range while maintaining the trill. It’s also helpful to incorporate different vowel sounds as you progress.

Insider Tip: If you struggle with rolling your ‘R’s, don’t worry. Try other exercises that target the same areas, like lip trills or humming.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers

5. Open Mouth Vowels

Singing open vowels helps to work on resonance, projection, and articulation which are vital aspects of singing.

How to Practice Open Mouth Vowels:

Select a series of vowels, such as “ah,” “eh,” “ee,” “oh,” “oo.” Sing each vowel sound on a comfortable pitch, ensuring your mouth is open and relaxed. Pay attention to the shape of your mouth and the placement of your tongue for each vowel.

Insider Tip: Use a mirror to observe the shape of your mouth and ensure your jaw remains loose and not clenched.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers

6. The Best Vocal Warm Up Routine

Crafting the best vocal warm-up routine involves combining exercises that address different aspects of your voice. Start with gentle exercises like humming to ease into your session. Progress to lip and tongue trills to engage your breath support and relax facial muscles. Sirens can then be incorporated to extend your range, and you can finish with open mouth vowels to refine articulation and resonance.

Tips for an Effective Warm-Up Routine:

  • Begin with the least taxing exercises and gradually increase intensity.
  • Spend at least 10-15 minutes warming up before singing.
  • Listen to your body and voiceif something feels strained, stop and rest.
  • Stay hydrated, as proper hydration is essential for vocal health.

Insider Tip: Customize your routine to address your unique vocal needs and challenges. If you’re unsure, consult with a vocal coach to establish a warm-up routine that’s right for you.

6 Vocal Warm Up Exercises for Singers


Warming up your vocal cords is an essential part of any singer’s regimen. By incorporating these six vocal warm-up exercises into your routine, you can ensure that your voice is prepped and ready for performance or practice. Remember to listen to your body, stay patient with your progress, and consistently apply these techniques to help maintain your vocal health and improve your singing abilities.

For more tips and resources on vocal techniques, visit our comprehensive guide for singers.

We encourage you to share your experiences with these vocal warm-up exercises in the comments below and to continue exploring ways to enhance your vocal performance. Happy singing!

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