Vocal Warm-up & Technique
When we look at the makeup of a typical worship team, it’s such a diverse grouping of instrumentation; from the singers to strings, brass, keys and percussion. Any sort of warm-up is likely to be the whole group playing something together and is less focused on the individual warm-up that a certain voice or instrument would need. In this article, we will look at the singers in a worship team, how we can warm-up before rehearsal, and more specifically, how we can use this time of Covid-19 to work on our individual vocal technique.
We certainly need to physically warm-up our voices before launching into our repertoire. A good warm-up also helps us focus in on what we’re about to rehearse. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of a good warm-up, however, is that it helps us improve and develop as individual singers. We can work on breath support, extending our range, tone and intonation, diction, and so many other facets of our singing. As I already eluded, when we come together as a worship team, the warm-up we go through may not allow us time to really hone in on a particular aspect of our singing.
Perhaps in this time of pandemic, when we aren’t meeting and rehearsing like we normally would, we can use this time to develop our own individual talents and skill and give it some of the attention that we may not typically have. As we improve as individuals, we improve as a group. As our own sound improves, so does the overall sound of the group. It becomes a great way to contribute to the team.
So what can this look like? If you’re at all like me, these pandemic times have proven to be far busier than anticipated, with a lot of juggling of work, family, and health considerations. To keep your voice in shape, even a few minutes every day can make a big difference. For example, check out this warm-up:
Lip trills are one of the best vocal exercises you can do to help ensure you are singing in a healthy and supported way. It requires good breath support and it’s also one of the easiest exercises to bring your voice through your range. If you sang through an exercise like this everyday, moving through to the very upper part of your register, and then moving down to the very lowest part of your register, you would likely see some extension of your range over a number of weeks, and you would be doing so in a healthy way. Remember, even extending your range a semitone is a big feat and great accomplishment! While it’s best to practice this when you can stand and sing like you typically would, and in a way that would give you the best posture and support for singing, the reality is you can try this while driving in your car, or while gardening, or any number of activities that you have to complete throughout your day.
Here is another great exercise to work on:
With this next exercise, which you may remember being taught at a very young age, we are working on pitch accuracy and flexibility in our voice, as well as not spreading those “ee” vowels as in the word “bee.” Our aim here is to find the centre of each pitch. As you improve with this exercise, try to speed it up, thus increasing your flexibility.
These are just a sample of the exercises you can use to strengthen your voice. The reality is that if you commit to singing exercises like this for a few minutes each day, it will help improve many aspects of your singing. Once we return to our rehearsal times together as a team, you will feel encouraged, better equipped, and ready to share God’s message with your unique God-given talent.