Vocal Warm-ups

Vocal Warm-Ups

Being an actor means having full control not only of your body, but also your vocal chords. Actors who have great potential must learn to command attention or power through their voice. They must understand how to control their voice and they must take care of this vital acting tool.

Although there are literally hundreds of different vocal exercises, below are some of the most effective I've personally used.

Perform these exercises at least once a day to keep your voice in tip-top-shape.



Face Massage
Massage your face with your fingertips as well as with the palm of your hands. Apply light pressure to your jaw and nasal-labial folds, also known as your laugh-lines. Make sure you also massage your forehead. Since you'll be touching your face, make sure your hands are recently cleaned to prevent clogging your pores with dirt and debris.

The Hummmmm
This is one of the most effective vocal warmups, and I personally do this before any speaking engagement. Sit with your back straight, and take a deep inhale that expands your diaphragm. During your exhale, vocalize the sound, "Hummmmmmm" until you have no more breath. Repeat five times.

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha
This is a great exercise to help give control into your voice and breathing. Stand with your shoulders resting and your face pointing forward. Place your hand on your abdomen, and breathe in so your abdomen expands (also known as diaphragm breathing). During your exhale, make static "Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha." noises. With every "Ha," push in your abdomen to force the sound out of you. Note: this is not an extended note, but rather staccato.

Sit or stand comfortably, and repeat the sound "Guh" five to ten times. Do this in the same manner as the above exercise.

Sit or stand comfortably, and repeat the sound "Pah" five to ten times.

Sit or stand comfortably, and repeat the sound "Kah" five to ten times in a staccato fashion.

Sit or stand comfortably, and repeat the sound "Buh" five to ten times in a staccato fashion.

Me, Me, Me, Maaahhhhh
Standing or sitting, repeat the following phrase "Me, Me, Me" performed in a staccato fashion, and finally follow with an extended "Maaahhhhhh" as your exhale your full breath.



The point of the exercise is to be able to say the entire piece in 1 breath. Work up to it by doing 1 breath per stanza, then 1 breath for 2 stanzas, etc.

"Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun"

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe, and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must,
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

Keeping it going IDEA:
Groups make a video and edit their performance into a cohesive video for the website with a contest for the best to be played on the website!



Go to the site below and read the song lyrics outloud.
See if anybody can make it through one rhyming set of lines and then pass the buck.

If a student wants to take on the challenge for extra credit, a $5 Subway gift card and a spot on the Class Blog they can take a stab at memorizing and doing the piece on video in three breaths to win.



Learning Goal - for the student to be able to find a clarity in their speech and to begin building better pronunciation skills

- Be sure and say these in only one breath!

- Be sure they memorize all of them in the first two weeks of school (if possible)


Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

A tutor who tooted the flute,
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
"Is it easier to toot,
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?"*

Bobby Bibbit bought a bat.
Bobby Bibbit bought a ball.
With the bat, Bob banged the ball,
Banged the ball against the wall.

Amidst the mists and fiercest frosts,
With barest wrists and stoutest boasts,
He thrusts his fists against the post,
And still insists he sees the ghosts.**



These are not singing exercises, these are simply exercises to get students used to using their voice. They are exercises that everyone can do at once.

They sound a little goofy and can act as great warm-up!


Work the face:

Scrunch the face up tight and yawn it out as far as it will go. Have students make the face their mother always warned them about: 'If you make a face like that, it'll stay that way!'



Everyone stands in a circle and imagines they are chewing.

Give instructions: That they should work their jaw in conjunction to whatever's in their mouth.

Some chew options are:
  • bubble gum (1 piece, 2 pieces, 3 pieces)
  • super sticky taffy
  • carrots
  • teeny tiny pretzels
  • stale licorice

Then throw in something completely non chewable like soup.



Start by buzzing the lips. Make motor boat sounds that start high and then go low. Don't think about notes, just think about sound.

  • Move to humming. How long can they hum on a breath?

  • Move on to making noise with an open mouth. Keep the sound going as students close the mouth and open it again.

  • Make a short staccato sound on a ha-ha-ha-ha



If you've got students who just aren't into making weird noises go with school chants. Does your school have a fight song? Why not use camp chants? For example:

Poor Little Bug on the wall
No one to love him at all
No one to touch his nose,
no one to tickle his toes
Poor Little Bug on the wall

Do this chant differently over time:
- Normal
- As a typewriter
- Like your underwater
- In opera style
- In a high voice
- In a low voice
- In a slow voice.

Call and Response chants work really well because you don't have to teach them. You call out a line and the group responds:

Ooh kah lay lah
A tarrie tickie tumba
A messie mazzie muzza
Ooh a-lah way
A way a lah lay



Go to the following site for a
lot more excercises and vocal warm-up ideas.

*Play the videos for "Articulation and resonation"

*There is also a great singer's warm-up video

*One for breathing too!

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