Music Industry Talks: Vocal Warm-Ups for Studio Work (Thanks Susana for showing me these warm-ups!)

Hello everyone! This series is for my friends who produce and deal with vocal sessions.

A producer I work with is a one-stop shop for many artists that are upcoming and rising in LA’s music scene. He works with many vocalists throughout his studio sessions. For all upcoming producers that work with artists, it is crucial to know how the vocalist can deliver a high-quality performance behind the microphone.

Although doing vocals in a studio setting is different than vocals in a performance setting, it is best to treat every vocal session like it’s a performance. If the singer does not warm up and is struggling with their breath support, resonation, and technique, the singer will leave a session unsatisfied and wanting to re-do the vocals again.

There are many vocal aspects of the recording process I want to talk about, but here are some warm-up tips for producers who are starting to work with vocalists.

TIP 1: Warm Up The Vocalist’s Body

I cannot stress this enough!

Singing is a sport. It uses the breath and muscle just like any other athlete. And like with any sport, you will get bad results if the singer does not warm up physically. This INCLUDES warming up the vocalists’ body as a whole. You want the singer to be fully aware of where their support/ diaphragm is as well as release any nerves/tension they might have before coming in.

Here are some body stretches that will definitely help the vocalist:

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Make sure that they release all the tension they have that day. go slowly with them and make sure they release the points of tension in their body. Have the singer massage their cheeks, jaw, and other parts of their face as well!

Now you are ready to exercise the main singing muscles.

TIP 2: Vocal Warm-Ups for Breath Support 

The diaphragm is like a balloon. When singing, the air fills up your back and your lower abdomen when you inhale air. When you exhale, the air flows out slowly and steadily, as the diaphragm pushes down on the stomach and stays opened up (never exhale the air crunching or squeezing the diaphragm!) Make sure there is no tension with the vocalist’s shoulders, in their neck, or with their back when doing these exercises, and also make their backs straight.

make sure that the singer does not breathe through their chest! Always breathe from the lower abdomen. 

here is a more detailed demonstration of that same concept:

for this exercise below, I would just advise the 5-10-10 method (5 seconds inhale, 10 seconds hold, 10 seconds exhale) for your vocalists. if these number changes confuse you. Do “5-10-10” three times.

I would advise that you meet up with your vocalist beforehand if they haven’t warmed up vocally. If you are on a crunch for time, then make sure you do these warm-ups with the vocalist:

  1. Lip Trills (also do them with the singer doing a do-re-mi-re-do exercise, as well as going from their highest natural note to their lowest natural note!)

If you have more time on your hands, Scale warm-ups are next. It’s also good if you can sit at a piano and do some scales with them. If you are not a piano player, just play one note at a time going up all the keys, starting from their lowest note all the way to their natural highest note. For your sake too, Make sure you know the singer’s vocal range! 


Vocal Tips Part 2: Vocal Guidelines During Vocal Sessions Coming Soon!!! 

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