Voice Exercises for Speaking: Best Vocal Warm Ups to Make Your Voice Last

There are so many voice exercises to warm up your voice. But which ones are the best? Which exercises will give your voice a boost so that you can keep using it for as long as you need it? Let me introduce you to three vocal exercises to wake up the muscles inside your larynx, improve resonance and vocal power. And the third exercise is controversial, so keep on reading.

Vocal Exercises for Speaking: What's the Goal?

Your voice is you, not just two bands in your throat. Your mind and body also influence how your voice works and how long it will last. In preparation for a speaking gig, presentation or teaching day, you can be doing all kinds of body, mind and voice exercises, like movement, mindfulness, breathing exercises, stretching, massages, grounding ...

I am going to focus on the vocal part of your warm up. And again, there are many different types of voice and speech exercises you could be doing. So, I recommend choosing a few exercises that have different goals. You don’t want to do three exercises that have the same goal, that target the same vocal function.

For example, you want to wake up your laryngeal muscles that move the structures inside your voice, optimize your resonance or shape of the vocal tract, and strengthen the vocal fold closure so how well the vocal folds come together and how they vibrate. And that is exactly what the following three exercises are going to do. 

Vocal Exercise #1: Sirens on NG

This is my go-to warm up exercise. This is an exercise that will move your larynx. It’s easy and very effective. We are going to use the NG sound, which is a neutralizing sound. This sound tends to position the larynx in the mid position at any pitch level. The NG sound also uses a high tongue, which means that the tongue is out of the way, the larynx has a space to move and the tongue cannot push the larynx down. 

Sirens move the voice through a range of pitches. When you take your voice for a spin through a siren, your larynx moves up and down. And if you have tension, you release it by allowing the larynx to move. 

Watch the video below for demonstrations and step-by-step instructions.

 Vocal Exercise #2: Humming on a single pitch

When I work with my clients, they often tell me that they don’t have time to do long vocal exercises. And this is what I usually tell them: "If there is one exercise that you do, even if it is for a few minutes throughout the day, choose a resonance exercise."

Shaping of the vocal tract can make your voice more efficient, which takes away pressure from your throat. Some people may say that the sound lifts and frees their vocal folds. Improved resonance can boost the sound, so you will perceive it as louder. And if you want, you can shape it into a sound that you really want - so you can make your voice deeper or brighter or buzzier, or quieter. Whatever you want. 

And here is the added bonus of resonance exercises: the healing effect. We now know that the vibrations of your voice actually affect the tissue of the vocal folds at the cellular level, which can promote healing. So if your voice feels tired or strained, resonance exercises can actually help decrease inflammation or swelling that is happening at the level of the vocal folds.

Watch the video below for demonstrations and step-by-step instructions.

Exercise #3: Vocal fry

This is the controversial exercise. You probably heard that vocal fry is not good for your voice and I would not use it all day long for communication with other people. But this is a wonderful exercise to improve vocal fold closure in the gentlest way possible. 

Vocal fry uses low airflow and low air pressure. Therefore, vocal fry can be a very relaxing sound if done the right way. Vocal fry requires very little effort anywhere in the body. Therefore, it is so good for people who use too much effort or experience strain and tension. Vocal fry teaches them to lower effort, breath pressure, airflow and muscle work.

Watch this video for demonstrations and step-by-step instructions.

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/tW_fK3X_n1A




Let's find more vocal freedom together!