All Voice Experts advocate warm-up exercises. The lack of a proper warm-up may contribute to vocal fatigue and even dysfunction in singers as well as anyone that uses the voice throughout the day. Poorly warmed-up voices are less durable and less sustainable!
What happens to the vocal folds during the warm-up?
Since the vocal folds contain muscle tissues as a major component they depend on efficient blood circulation in order to retain good function and viscosity. Good circulation is stimulated by a well-planned and methodical warm-up. All great athletes rely on efficient and optimal muscle function and therefore warm up their muscles as part of their initial exercise.
Just how does one warm up the voice? Believe it or not, it can be achieved in much the same way one prepares the body for a work out. The warm up should include:
• Full body movements to activate the breath, bring natural movement to the diaphragm and circulate blood to the pharynx and larynx
• Massage the jaw and facial muscles
• Begin phonation with gentle onsets using resonators on the 5 Latin vowels: [u] [o] [a] [e] [i].
• Begin with the different registers – high to low – the head voice, then mixed register voice and finally chest voice. You can also add descending octave leaps from whistle register down the octave to head to chest then back up to mixed voice.
• Distinguish the articulators (consonant makers) from the resonators by working: mouth, tongue, jaw, hard palate, etc.
• Integrate consonants with vowels and transition to forming words
Check out this video to see what your folds are actually doing once air flow has begun ~
Whether you are headed to a day of teaching and speaking or a session of singing, reminding the body how it is to support the voice is critical to maintaining stamina and good vocal hygiene.
The most important thing is to keep the air flowing. The most natural way to do that is to move the body and not insist on planting your feet and remaining still.
To learn more about body movement and air flow, please visit Babette Lightner at: http://www.lightnermethod.com/architecturestructure.html