Warm Up or Not to Warm Up?
There I was googling away, when I came across an interesting article in regards to Jennifer Hudson and Ed Sheeran not vocally warming up before a show. This caught my eye as I had always just presumed everyone did. It’s true this article could have been out of context, I definitely don’t believe everything I read, however it got me thinking “How important was a warmup?”.
So I decided to test it myself. I am a Singer/Vocal Coach and I have solo and band gigs most weekends, vocal students during the week and choir groups also. I am singing all the time, and always do some sort of warmup either in car on way to gig or at home. This coming Friday, however, I was not going to!!
The definition of a vocal warmup is a series of controlled exercises meant to prepare the voice for singing, acting, or other use. So let’s just run through the known benefits of warming up from a Vocal Coach point of view. Firstly, it increases blood flow to the larynx, stretches and relaxes the tiny muscles of the vocal folds and prepares all other mechanics involved in singing like lips, tongue, diaphragm, body and mind. This therefore allows you to sing with freedom and consistency, helping you access your full vocal potential and also eliminates potential vocal problems in the future. You can imagine I was a bit worried and uncomfortable heading to this particular gig, sure I had been talking and probably humming and singing as I do unconsciously during the day, but my normal regime of exercises that I normally do before a gig were shoved to the side, not to be done.
So after singing for three hours with a few breaks, I was actually quite surprised at just how much I did notice it. Of course there are a lot of contingencies, how much water I drank that day, my mind over- thinking it, however I actually really noticed the strain on my folds which I hadn’t ever noticed before. It was a strained slight pain, uncomfortable, odd. It went away quickly after I finished and I didn’t notice it the next day. But it did emphasize the physical effort singing has on the vocal folds and how stretching those tiny muscles is so important.
Who knows if Ed or Jennifer actually warmup or not, everybody is different, however as far as I am concerned it’s a definite must for me.
AUTHOR: CASS SWEENY