Is Your Voice Ready to Sing?

As choruses (community, school and church) resume rehearsals following a summer vacation, there are often many singers who feel their voices have lost some “conditioning” during the break.  It’s normal to feel that way, for singers are similar to athletes – we need to keep our voices (and bodies) in good singing shape.  As the new performance season begins, there are several things we can do to get our voices back where they were at the conclusion of the past season, or possibly, in even better condition.

(1) Hydration and Exercise.  Singing is a physical activity and to perform at our best we need to take care of our bodies.  It is important to drink lots of water (experts usually recommend eight glasses a day) and to engage in moderate physical exercise (walking, or any sort of aerobic activity that elevates the heart rate).

(2) Daily Vocal Warm Ups.  Most choral directors include a time for vocal warm up at the beginning of a rehearsal, but it should really be the responsibility of the individual singer to get his or her voice ready to rehearse.  Even something as simple as humming an ascending/descending three note diatonic pattern is helpful.  The warm up should start in the middle of the vocal range and gradually move outwards (up and down).  We should also be doing our vocal warm ups every day, and not just when we have an ensemble rehearsal.  Following a short warm up period (10 minutes) it can be useful to sing a simple song (folk song or hymn) without accompaniment.  The formation of words in the song activates the lips and tongue and helps prepare the singer for the more strenuous vocal activity of a rehearsal.

(3) Patience. Try to remember that achieving  anything of real value usually requires dedication and hard work, and that is certainly true with singing.  But as most choral musicians know, the result is worth the effort.  Keep in mind that rehearsals and performances will always be more rewarding if we’re in good vocal shape!

Showing 2 comments
  • Charlie Mathers

    What is really funny to me is that without ever having been told to do these things, I figured it out on my own. Because I can not remember the words of very many songs, I warm up before practice, before a concert, before going to work by singing Amazing Grace. It is easy, it is in my range with no strain at all, and I can remember the words to at least the first verse. That and singing the Lord’s Prayer several times a day (I can remember the words to that too) seems to set the stage for almost anything we do as a group. It also occured to me last night at rehearsal that as poor a sight reader as I am (and I am poor!) and as poor as my tonal mimicry is, if you put the two activities together at the same time; sight reading while listening intently to someone else actually singing the piece correctly, there is a synergy that gets the job done. Just thought I’d let you know! :>)

  • Michael

    Charlie, I’m glad to hear it!

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