Singing exercises are important for all singers, professional or amateur, expert or beginner. Not only do they improve your singing ability, but they warm up the vocal chords, which after all is a muscle.
To better appreciate the importance of vocal exercises a basic understanding of how the voice works is a good idea.
Singing a high-quality note in a fine tone means the outer muscles of the larynx must not be tense. The muscles used by everyone for eating, (chewing and swallowing), are used by singers to move the larynx up and down. The larynx is the lump in your throat that goes up and down when you swallow.
There are different ways to sing, and which suits you best is determined by the type of songs you wish to sing and by your ability to sing them.
Singing in the same relaxed way you would talk does not use the outer muscle of the larynx, so it remains relaxed during the song. There are many varying exercises for this type of singing, and as there is little strain on the vocal cords, the life and health of the voice is considerably longer.
Different types of singing exercises exist and each has a different function. They will help build up your vocal range, increase the strength of your voice and basically just make your voice better and last longer.
If you look at any type of singing lessons, singing exercises will figure prominently and early in the course. One example of this is the online course Singorama where lesson 1 teaches exercises to help improve your voice, amongst other things. This shows just how important these exercises are. Lesson 2 explains more exercises for strengthening your voice, while lesson 3 are more exercises again, but this time about breathing and posture.
Vocal warm up exercises
It is important not only to warm your voice up, but to cool it down too. Performing a few breathing exercises, or a few scales are usually enough. The most important thing is not so much what you do, as how you do it. Exercises done the wrong way can ruin your voice.
The diaphragm is a thin muscle dividing the rib cage from the other organs and it controls the flow of air. While we can not control the diaphragm, we can control the muscles around it.
These exercises teach you breath control and how to use your diaphragm and the surrounding muscles so you can sing louder or softer. You learn how to tense the diaphragm and muscles, this is what lets you hold the higher notes and sing faster or disjointed, (where the notes do not flow into each other), songs. It is important to be able to “breathe” correctly before starting to sing, even though I am sure you do it each day anyway, but with time most people breathe in a lethargic way, using only the upper part of the lungs.
Correct breathing is the foundation for singing. You wouldn’t build a house in a field without laying the foundations, why do it with your voice?
Vocal strength exercises
These will determine how you convey the song to listeners and enhance your tone and pitch making the general delivery better.
If you are tense, stressed or worried this will affect your singing ability and consistency, so it is a good idea to learn a few basic relaxation exercises to alleviate tension.
Singorama, an online singing course, offers the possibility to record the exercises you do so that you can hear what you are doing and see what progress you are making. There is little point in keeping practicing if it does not sound right. They also include a piano function so you can hear if you are staying on the right pitch or not. Most people just do their exercises, believing that it only requires “doing”, but this program helps you do it right, saving your voice and at the same time helping you to improve without the expense of a vocal coach.