Generalsinger-holds-microphone Your voice might let you down, on show-time, not because of the physical conditions of your vocal system, but because it was improperly prepared for performing under the expected strain. Hours-long training, under the instructions of the best available vocal coaches or speech therapists might go down the drain if your body is not tuned to the required effort in the right moment. The result will be poor performance and increased vocal fatigue. Without general and vocal warm-up exercises rising the muscle tension of your entire vocal tract in anticipation of maximum strain, you cannot acquire the required vocal capacity, despite all your training, and you might even harm your voice, sooner or later, which might be most frustrating. Too much muscle tension leads to rigidity and diminishes your vocal cords movement capacity. As a result, your voice may get too coarse, loud, sharp, harsh, etc. Singers suffering from this problem will find it difficult to perform high tones and trills, and their resonance will be damaged. This is why muscle relaxation exercises, which we have frequently discussed, are an essential part of vocal exercises. But a vocal balance and a quality performance takes muscle contraction, as well as release. The importance of proper tonus One must feel the precise amount of tension required for a vocal effort. Our muscles are in a constant partial contraction, called Muscle Tonus. To start an intense vocal effort, such as singing, or speaking continuously and loudly, involves tuning one’s muscles to the right tonus. It is not recommended to start with low muscle tonus, that is, when your muscles are too slackened (for instance, right after getting out of bed, before any vocal exercises, or after release exercises with no vocal cords contraction). For a muscle to function optimally, its tonus must be properly tuned, neither lower nor higher than the expected effort requires. For example, a singer I knew had a massage session just before an important concert, which made his vocal cords too slack. As a result, he found it difficult to singe loudly and perform high pitches. When your body is alerted, it performs better. To alert your body means to intensify blood circulation, build up muscle tonus, and then release it by preliminary movement to achieve the required tension. Exercises to remove voice box muscles rigidity and prepare them for performance Just like athletes, singers, teachers, salespersons etc. must warm up and prepare their voice before performance. Many singers carefully perform vocal warmup, thus significantly improving their performance. Non-singers, usually unaware of the necessity of vocal exercise, over-strain their voices without any preparations, and are surprised to see they lost it. Exercises preparing you for an exceptionally intense vocal effort:

  • Muscle Relaxation exercises:
  1. Lie on a hard surface;
  2. Let your body sink to the floor;
  3. Make yourself feel heavy, using imagination.
  4. Breathe slowly, listening to your breath.
  5. Feel your pulse slowing down, and all your muscles relaxed.
  • Breathing exercises:
    • Breath-holding exercises
    • Diaphragm-strengthening exercises;
    • Dog Breathing Exercise;
    • Any recommended Vocal Hygiene Guide exercise.
  • Stretching exercises: use any Yoga exercise or any other athletic exercise you prefer.
  • Don’t forget, of course, rising and descending tones vocal exercises, such as:
    • Drinking straw
    • Water-gargling
    • Humming
Most importantly, perform these exercises effortlessly, to enhance your vocal cords flexibility. Vocal warm-up time and duration (maximum duration recommended for singers and minimum for non-singers). Before a morning vocal effort: Start warming up at least one hour before expected vocal effort.
  • First, do several full body stretches, such as side arm-raising, spinal cord stretching, shoulder and neck muscles release, etc.
  • Carry out breathing exercises for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Effortlessly perform vocal exercises for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 30 minutes before expected vocal effort, perform vocal exercises for 5 to 10 minutes, as well as full-body invigorating exercises such as jump-ups, running in place, and a couple of stretches.
  • 15 minutes before the effort, perform vocal exercises for 5 to 10 minutes, with a little effort, generating increasingly loud sounds.
Before an evening vocal effort:
  • Perform an additional, about 25-minute long morning exercise, consisting of a muscle relaxation breathing exercise, stretching and effortlessvocal exercise)
Repeat these exercises an hour, 30 minutes, and 15 minutes before vocal effort. Using any TMRG solutions’ product minimize the required duration of vocal preparation and the effort it involves. Still, we highly recommend you should always prepare your voice properly, to improve its quality. Talia