The Vocal Recovery Warmup Table of Contents
Table of Contents
How to Use the Warmup
What Kind of Singer Are You?
Singers With Colds, Allergies, or Nodules
You're a Trained Singer With a Mild Cold or Allergies
You Have Strep Throat, It Hurts To Swallow, Or You Have No Voice At All
You're Recovering From Vocal Nodules Or Polyps
You Have a Cold or Allergies
More on Colds
Singers With Vocal Dryness
You're a Trained Singer With Mild Dryness
Your Voice Feels Dry or Sounds Crackly
More Tips to Alleviate Dryness
Vocally Fatigued Singers
You're Hoarse Or Fatigued From Incorrect Or Too Much Vocalizing
More On Hoarseness
More On Vocal Fatigue From Incorrect Vocalizing
You're a Trained Singer Who Is Vocally Fatigued From Overuse
Beginning, Returning, or Older Singers
You're a Beginning Singer with Healthy Vocal Cords
You've Sung In The Past But You're Feeling Rusty
You're a Singer Over Fifty
You're an Over-Fifty Singer with Hoarseness or Vocal Fatigue
About the Voice and Using the Warmup
Vocal Cords & the Larynx
The Speaking Voice
Resonance & Placement
Compensating for a Weak or Tired Voice
How to Vary the Warmup
How I Used the Warmup When I Had a Cold
More Tricks to Try
Using a Straw
The Sigh-Fry Vocal Fix
Lyrics and Track Listings
"Wade In The Water" Lyrics
iTunes Track Listings
About the Author
How to Use the Warmup
Reprint from the ebook:
In the Table of Contents, in the What Kind of Singer Are You section, you’ll find the headings Singers With Colds, Allergies, or Nodules, Singers With Vocal Dryness, Vocally Fatigued Singers, and Beginning, Returning or Older Singers. Find the heading and then the sub-heading that most applies to you and/or your voice right now. Go to that section (you can use the bookmarks window to navigate quickly), read it, and do whatever preparation is recommended, if any. You may fit into more than one category. If so, read and follow the advice under any heading and sub-heading that applies to you. After that you can then listen to the warmup from the beginning. I recommend that you read the section Vocal Cords and the Larynx before beginning the warmup, but you can wait until later if you want to get started.
It always helps to stretch out a bit before doing any singing. Scrunching up and then relaxing your face, rolling your neck in a semi-circle (left, down, right and back), circling your shoulders, swaying your arms from side to side, and even sticking your tongue out are all good ways to loosen up before singing. Some singers do a lot of body relaxation before warming up, while some do very little. Try different combinations of these movements on different days that you use the warmup to see if any help to free up your sound. Many yoga postures are good for stretching your body out and getting your breathing deeper. Yoga and swimming are two of the best forms of exercise to do before you sing.
After you’ve loosened your body up a bit, find and read the sub-heading in the What Kind of Singer Are You section that pertains to you. Then read all of the topics in the More About Your Voice & Using the Warmup section. Do any preparation that is recommended, then start the warmup.
The audio tracks of the Vocal Recovery Warmup method are divided into five parts:
Part 1: Initial Vocalizing and Breathing
During this section you’ll focus on breathing correctly and feeling facial resonance. Then you’ll try out some different sounds and learn which ones are easy for you to sing. This section also includes troubleshooting tricks you’ll use throughout the entire warmup.
Part 2: Small Range Exercises
You’ll sing some of the sounds from Part 1 over some easy scales, focusing on breathing, throat relaxation and facial resonance. The exercises cover an octave or slightly more.
Part 3: Higher & Larger Range Exercises
You’ll gradually move to higher notes, singing exercises that cover up to an octave and a fifth in range.
During Parts 1-3, the tracks alternate between instructional narration and exercise tracks.
Part 4: Parts 1-3 With Minimal Instruction
After you’ve worked with Parts 1-3 for a while, you can do this faster version of the warmup. It includes all of the exercises from Parts 1-3, but it only has brief introductions before each exercise, allowing you to move through the warmup more quickly. If you need an instructional refresher you can always review the narration in Parts 1-3. Late in Part 4 there’s a track called “Segue to Songs” that discusses how to initially approach songs after warming up. Three versions of the song “Wade in the Water” are included for practicing this method.
Part 5: A More Difficult, Comprehensive Warmup
This is a complete warmup that includes some of the exercises from Parts 1-3, but covers a bigger range and also includes more demanding exercises. You can use Part 5 when you’ve used Parts 1-3 or Part 4 for a while, have built some vocal strength and knowledge, and are ready to move to the next level. Part 5 can be used as your regular daily vocal warmup when your voice is strong and healthy again. Since the singing technique concepts and goals are the same as in Parts 1-3, it includes minimal instruction so you can move quickly.
Ways to Use the Warmup
While working with Parts 1-3 of the warmup you’ll learn to let your body tell you whether it’s safe to proceed to each new exercise or section, or whether it’s time to rest your voice. Move through the warmup at your own pace, going as slowly as you like. A beginning or returning singer might go through Parts 1 and 2 of the warmup daily for a week, then add Part 3 after that. Anywhere from a week to six weeks later Part 4 could be used instead of Parts 1-3.
Singers with extreme vocal fatigue or illness may only be able to comfortably do Part 1 for a week or more before attempting Part 2. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when building or re-building vocal strength.
As singers gain strength they can skip Part 1 and just do Parts 2 and 3.
Part 5 is a stand-alone warmup, separate from the earlier parts, and should be done only after working with the earlier parts. When singers have built enough strength they can skip Parts 1-3 or Part 4 and just do Part 5, only returning to Parts 1-3 if they stop singing for awhile, catch a cold, or for some other reason need to go back to the easier sections.
No matter which parts of the warmup you’re using, try to use the warmup daily. Short periods of daily singing are better for building strength and good vocal habits than doing one long singing session a week. Of course, if it hurts to vocalize you should rest your voice.
Also see the chapters How to Vary the Warmup and How I Used the Warmup When I Had a Cold—the latter is an example of how I varied the warmup one time to fit my particular needs.
When to Expect Improvement
Beginning and returning singers with no issues like colds or vocal cord fatigue usually see improvement in a week or less. Older singers may take 1-3 weeks to see improvement. It’s difficult to make a prediction for singers with illnesses, allergies or vocal fatigue since the degree of the illness, allergy or fatigue will vary progress. While the correct use of the warmup method should help most singers increase their strength and vocal power, it’s not a substitute for medical attention or a one-on-one consultation with a voice therapy professional. If you have serious vocal problems please get an evaluation by a doctor or voice teacher as soon as possible. If your voice hasn’t improved after four weeks of working with the warmup, please get evaluated by a health care professional, preferably a voice doctor or an ear, nose & throat doctor.