The Best Vocal Warm Ups for Singers

Home » Blog » Singing » The Best Vocal Warm Ups for Singers

Disclosure: We are a professional review site and may get commissions from purchases made through the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, Deviant Noise earns from qualifying purchases.

Last Updated: November 2022

If you’re a singer, you should know that vocal warm ups are essential to your vocal health.

Warming up not only helps protect your voice, it helps you sing your best. Trying to belt out a song without a good vocal warm-up is not a good idea.

So here are some of the best vocal warm ups you can do before your next performance or practice session.

NOTE: If you feel any pain when doing these, STOP and take a break. There should be no strain or pain in your voice/body.


Advertisement:

Want to sing better FAST? Try out a 14-day free trial of 30DaySinger below and improve your voice risk-free!

30 Day Singer Ad

Get Your Blood Flowing

The first thing you want to do is stretch and get loose:

  • Stretch out your jaw muscles by opening your mouth wide and moving it in circular motions
  • Slowly move your head in circles, stretching your neck
  • Loosen your shoulders with a couple of rotations both forward and back
  • Shake out your body and limbs gently or lightly jump around

Stand Right

When you start your vocal warm ups, make sure your posture is good!

  • stand up straight
  • shoulders down and back
  • head up and tall
  • legs shoulder width apart
  • knees slight bent
  • stomach protruding out slightly

Now you’re ready to sing. Next, spend 5 or 10 minutes doing any mix of these first, anytime you’re about to sing.

DON’T MISS!

Get Free Vocal Exercises, Practice Plan + Singing Tips

Enter your name and email to instantly get access to:

  • Easy Access Cheat Sheets – quickly reference our vocal exercise guide and practice plan anywhere, anytime you want.
  • Step-By-Step Instructions – we explain exactly how to do each of the vocal exercises, step-by-step.
  • A Complete Practice Guide + Timeline – know exactly what part of your voice you should work on, and when/how to move on.
  • Additional Singing Tips & Resources – sign up and we’ll send you the latest articles, tips and resources for a better singing voice!

ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL BELOW

“Yes! Send me my free vocal exercises + singing practice plan and sign me up for more singing tips, resources and guides from Deviant Noise!”

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Breathing Vocal Warm Ups

    The first vocal warm up is more of a breathing exercise, but will help you have better breath control when you’re about to sing. Breath control is important for a consistent pitch and tone.

    4 In 8 Out With A Hiss

    Do the following (but if you start to feel light headed at all, pause and get back to normal before continuing):

    • With an open mouth slowly breathe into your diaphragm deeply for 4 seconds (learn about diaphragm breathing here)
    • With your lips relaxed, SLOWLY breathe out making a “hissing” sound (“ssssss”) for as long as you can (work up to 8 seconds if you can)
    • Repeat a couple of times, trying to make your exhale hiss slow and even throughout the entire 8 seconds
    • Try to extend the time of your exhale over time

    Featured Singing Video:


    Sliding Warm Ups

    The first actual voice warm ups we’ll start with are slides and glides. You don’t enunciate each note, rather you’re going to glide/slide up and down the notes with a smooth sound.

    Sliding Yawn Vocal Warm Up

    This warm up will help you loosen up your jaw and vocal cords at the same time.

    • Start with (and keep) a long and wide open mouth (like you’re actually yawning)
    • make an exaggerated “yawn” sound that starts high and slides down low
      • it will sound like an “awwwwww” that slides from a high note to a low note
    • Repeat, starting on different notes in your range

    2 Octave Chromatic Glide

    The trick with this warm up is to try to hit every tone/note chromatically across the range when you’re gliding your voice

    • Choose either an “ohhhh” or “eeeee” sound for this singing warm up
    • Start on either a low note or high note in your range
    • Smoothly glide from that note to the same note 2 octaves away
    • Smoothly glide back down to the note you started on
    • Repeat

    Sirens

    This is a very similar vocal warm up to the 2 Octave Chromatic Glide, above.

    • Use an “oooooo” sound
    • Start on the lowest note in your range
    • Smoothly slide up to the highest note of your range
    • Smoothly slide back down to the low note you started on
    • Repeat

    You should literally sound like a siren from a police car/ambulance/fire truck.

    Humming Vocal Warm Ups

    The next set of warm-ups will have you making a humming sound in a couple different ways. It should sound like a “hmmmm” sound – it’s ok if you actually include the “h” sound as well.

    Regular Hum

    This warm up can be done using scales, chords, fourths/fifths, slides/glides or with your favorite song (read more about how further below).

    • Keep your lips lightly closed
    • Lightly press your tongue to your bottom front teeth
    • Make a “hmmm” sound starting on the bottom note of a scale (ex/ C Major)
    • “hmmm” up to the highest note in the scale
    • “hmmm” back down to the first note in the scale
    • Repeat, starting from the top note going to the bottom note this time

    Straw Hum

    • Get yourself a regular drinking straw
    • Put one end in your mouth and wrap your lips around it firmly
    • Now hum with that same “hmmm” sound
    • Slide up and down your vocal range smoothly while humming
    • Repeat a couple times
    • Next, hum part of your favorite song with the straw still in your mouth

    Trill Vocal Warm Ups

    Trills are basically “rolling/bubbling” sounds. They’re a more difficult exercise to do right, especially for beginners.

    But don’t get frustrated – it can take a few tries to really get the vocal movement and sound correct. Just keep trying until it becomes more comfortable for you.

    Lip Trills

    This warm up can be done using scales, chords, fourths/fifths, slides/glides or with your favorite song (read more about how further below).

    • Start with your mouth is slightly closed
      • Your teeth should be touching but not clenched
    • Breath in
    • Keep your lips pursed out like you’re making a “kissy face”
    • Blow the air slowly and smoothly through your pursed lips
      • Your lips will feel like they’re vibrating if you’re doing it correctly
      • Your checks may poke out a bit when you’re doing it correctly
      • It’s the “motorboat” or “raspberry” sound
    • Start on a low note and go upwards, and then try the reverse
    • Repeat

    Tongue Trills

    This exercise can be done using scales, chords, fourths/fifths, slides/glides or with your favorite song (read more about how further below).

    • Start with your lips semi-closed and slightly rounded
      • As if you were about to start whistling
    • Curl your tongue upwards
    • Now make a “rrrrrr” sound – try your best to roll your r’s.
      • Your tongue will feel like it’s vibrating if you’re doing it correctly
    • Start on a low note and work your way up using the rolled “rrrr” vocal sound
    • Now do the reverse
    • Repeat

    Bonus Vocal Warm Ups for Singers and Vocalists

    Here are another couple of great vocal warm ups that you can throw into the mix whenever you feel like.

    Again, these vocal warm-ups can be done using scales, chords, fourths/fifths, slides/glides or with your favorite song (read more about how further below).

    Nasal Runs

    This is a weird exercise and will make you laugh the first time you do it. But do it anyway.

    • Start by saying the word “ONION”
    • Now say just the middle of the word – “NIO”
    • It should sound like a “nya” – that’s the vocal sound you’ll use
    • Start on a low note of a scale/interval/etc. and work your way up singing “nya”
    • Now go in the reverse direction
    • Repeat

    Growls

    This is another weird exercise where you’re working the growl of your voice.

    • Close your lips, but not tightly
    • Using a “groggy/growly” voice make a “hmmm” vocal sound
      • Pretend like you just woke up to get the “right” sound
    • Start on the lowest note of your range and work your way up chromatically to the next octave
    • Now go in the reverse direction
    • Repeat

    How to Do the Warm Ups With Scales, Intervals, Glides and Songs

    Above, we state that many of the vocal warm ups can be done using scales, fourths/fifths, slides/glides, or your favorite songs.

    Here’s some more detail on how that’s done.

    Using Scales

    • Pick any musical scale (ex/ C# Minor Scale)
    • Start on the bottom note of the scale
    • Hit every note in the scale working your way upwards USING THE SOUND FROM THE EXERCISE
    • Go up to the higher octave note of the scale
    • Go back down the scale, to the root note
    • Now do the same in reverse – start high, go low and come back up.

    Using Intervals

    The most commonly used intervals in practicing vocals are Perfect Fourths and Perfect Fifths.

    A Perfect Fourth is 5 semitones/half-steps away from your stating note. A Perfect Fifth is 7 semitones/half-steps away from your starting note. Learn more here.

    To do a vocal warm-up using perfect fifths:

    • Pick a starting note (example: C)
    • Sing that note USING THE SOUND FROM THE EXERCISE
    • Next, sing the note 7 half-steps above your starting note (example: G)
    • Finally, sing the original starting note again
    • So the exercise would be singing C, going up to sing G, and finally back down to sing C again
    • Next, move your starting note UP half a step and repeat.
    • Keep doing this across an entire octave in your range
    • Now reverse the order, starting high and moving down to the fifth, instead of up to the fifth

    Using Vocal Slides/Glides

    Slides and glides can be used across a scale, across an interval or even across an entire octave or two.

    The trick is in how you sing. Rather than singing each note individually, you’re essentially sliding/gliding across the range of notes in a smooth fashion.

    You do it like this:

    • Start on a lower note and SING THE SOUND FROM THE EXERCISE in a sustained/held way
    • Now slide your voice upwards to the next note you’re trying to hit
    • Keep sliding your voice upwards in a smooth, not jerky/jarred motion until you hit the highest note of the range you’re trying to sing.
    • This goes for intervals like “C->G->C” or for scales like the “C Major Scale” or for ranges like 2 full octaves

    Using Your Favorite Songs for the Singing Warm Ups

    This method is pretty straight forwad:

    • Use the SOUND FROM THE VOCAL WARM UP to sing the main melody of one of your favorite songs.
    • This could be a hum, a trill, a vowel sound – literally anything

    Easy-peazy.

    Why Bother With Vocal Warm Ups?

    You can’t just sing at your peak on the drop of a dime. Even if you’re doing vocal practice or other vocal exercises, it’s a good idea to not just start up straight away.

    You need to warm up your voice and vocal cords, kind of like warming up a car in the winter time.

    By doing these exercises regularly you’ll be able to sing without straining or hurting your voice. And that’s important if you’re trying to go pro as a singer.

    Contrary to what you may think about vocal warm ups, you don’t need to do anything heavy or strenuous to actually prepare your voice well. The simple exercises described above done for 5 or 10 minutes can often be enough.

    If you’re just practicing a song at home or even with a group it’s a great way to get things started.

    If you’ve got a performance or practice there are other things you can do the morning-of to help you do your best later in the day.

    Exercise is a great way to start the day and get the blood flowing through your body (including your vocal cords). And closer to the performance/practice time, you might want to drink some warm tea to help relax the vocals and throat.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What Are Vocal Warm Ups?

    They are low to medium effort vocal exercises that help to prepare or “warm-up” your voice before singing a more full effort performance. They can be done using a variety of things – often using vowel sounds, but also others – including scales, intervals, chords and more.

    Why Are Vocal Warm Ups Important?

    They’re important because if you try to go full-force with a singing performance without warming up, you may either damage your voice, or at the very least not sing to your voice’s full potential. It’s like exercise, you risk injury and less effectiveness if you don’t warm up first.

    Are Vocal Warm Ups Necessary?

    Yes. You should be doing warm ups before every time you sing – whether you’re practicing, performing live or singing for fun. It’s best practice to warm up your voice first.

    How Do Vocal Warm Ups Help?

    Doing these short voice exercises before you sing will help get the blood flowing in your body, help you adjust to breathing correctly and also get the vocal cords ready to be used fully.

    How Long Do Vocal Warm Ups Last?

    You don’t have to warm up for long. 5-10 minutes before you sing should be enough to get everything nice and ready.

    When Should I Do Vocal Warm Ups?

    You should warm up every time you need to sing – whether it’s a live performance or a practice. You can also just regularly do warm ups first thing in the morning, right before bed, or better yet both, to help protect and actually improve the quality of your voice.

    Wrap Up

    Of course, these aren’t the only exercises or vocal warm ups you can do to help you become a better vocalist.

    Want to learn some more great exercises that can help you out a ton?

    A lot of singing lessons like these have a lot of exercises included with them – for things like breathing, breath control, range, pitch and much more. Our favorite lesson is 30 Day Singer.

    Check them out if you’re interested in taking your vocals to the next level.

    Thanks a lot for reading this article on the absolute best vocal warm ups for singers and vocalists. We hope it was helpful!

    Back to Main Singing Section

    Join The Deviant Noise Fam

    Interested in learning more about how to make music?

    Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send you periodic updates on our latest articles and resources on making better music.

    • Stay up to date on everything we’re doing
    • Get exclusive tips, thoughts and tools
    • We promise not to spam you
    • You can unsubscribe at any time
    Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
    Thanks! Your subscription was successful. Be sure to confirm your email address!

    We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use

    About The Author:

    Photo of author

    Omar Zulfi

    Omar Zulfi is a music producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and digital entrepreneur. He is the founder and head writer at Deviant Noise. Learn more about what he's doing by clicking here.


    Featured Content

    Check out our most popular guides and articles!

    How to Get Your Music on Streaming Services

    How to Make Beats

    How to Sing

    How to Play Guitar

    How to Play Piano

    How to Rap

    Singing Lessons

    Guitar Lessons

    Piano Lessons

    From the Blog

    Read some of our most recent blog posts