How do I use this?
Click the light and dark circle buttons (notice how they're arranged as piano keys?)
to choose a starting note. You'll hear a major chord at the starting note
you clicked, and then that half-scale, and you simply sing along.
This page only displays three octaves at a time, but the full range is 5 octaves. You can
choose which octave range you want by clicking the buttons below the keyboard. (Oh, btw, the octaves
given are the octaves as given in MIDI, which may or may not differ from other notation)
If you feel a little unsure of a note or two, you can choose between short and long notes.
IMPORTANT: These tips apply to me, they may not apply to you, for example if your vocal range
differs a lot from mine (which is counter-tenor, somewhere between tenor and alto).
For most people I've worked with, C3 is a good starting point. I then move down in steps of
two half-notes until I feel a slight resistance, then I change direction until there's a little
resistance, and swap the direction again. Repeat until fade. Once I'm getting close to my full range I like to try
go to the very borders of my range, moving in half-note increments. I try not to push myself
too hard, especially if I'm warming up for a recording (you want to have some capability of
"over-stressing" your voice left).
If I discover any "problem notes", notes that I seem to have trouble hitting, or notes where
I have little "bumps" in the voice, I use long notes and try to really focus on those notes.
Also, I like to start on
Ooo-sounds, then Aaa, Eee (as in "else") and finally Eee (as in "eel"), simply because it's
a natural progression through the mouth.
Usually, my warmup takes 10-15 minutes, but it differs a LOT from day to day.
Other things I do during warmup include glissandos, going fairly slowly from the highest possible
note all the way down to the lowest possible note. This tends to even out little "bumps" in my
voice. I do this primarily with Ooo's, but at least once a session with Rrr's aswell (if nothing
else, it's an amusing way to surprise your pets).
Another tip that I want to share is "aggressive consonants", meaning I'll go through the consonants,
especially the ones that can sometimes cause problems: k, s, t, p, d, b. Using a lot of air, I
push them out the mouth, making sure I over-emphasize them.
This one might seem obvious, but it sure wasn't to me once in a time, so I'll say it anyway: Your
entire body does the singing!. This means you need to stand up, at least while doing your
warmups (for some recordings, I've found that sitting down limits my airflow, creating an interesting
sound, but warmups are a different matter - you need to stand up, using the full support of your
More tips and tricks
A really cool tip from Wendy Kendrick: Instead of thinking of your vocal range as a vertical line,
visualize it as a horizontal line stretching out from you, with the lowest pitch closest to you.
So, to take a higher note, you would use more diaphragm support, more energy, to "make it reach" all the way out there.
Thinking vertically can lead to higher notes getting "pinched" and lower notes getting "throaty". Think
of your voice as a "ribbon of sound", stretching out into infinity... 8-)
While recording, I always keep a big glass of water close by, because my mouth tends to get dry
fairly quickly in the studio. However, I always try to take as small sips as possible. I've read that
some singers even prefer a spray bottle, the kind you'd use to moisten the leaves of plants, and that
makes a lot of sense to me.
If you're unsure what in the world people are talking about when they say "support" or "support from the diaphragm", the amazing
Babusjka has lots of goodies for you: Put your hands on your hips and go "sch-sch-schhhhh!" a couple of times. You
should feel your hands being pushed outwards from the body. If you're doing it right, you should, anyway. 8-) The
point is that it's the lower part of the lungs and the diaphragm doing the work, NOT your ribcage and/or throat.
Once you think you have it, move on to tonal sounds: "Zzz-Zzz-ZZZZZZ!" and "Vvv-Vvv-VVVVVVVV!" (yes, your lower
lip should tickle, like an old car spinning on a snowy street!) and DO try "Rrr-Rrr-RRRRRRR!" (with your tongue
forward, like a ridiculous german accent in an old war movie).
Warm is good. Hot not. It's not a bad idea to drink a warm beverage before, during and after singing, whether it's
warmups, studio recording or live performances. But you don't want to burn yourself, of course, you're after the
Speaking of beverages... Personally, I find milk (or yoghurt or any dairy product) tends to create something that
feels like a veil on my voice, so I avoid it if I'm going to be singing (or if I'm just doing warmups, I prefer
doing them in the morning, and avoid dairy until after the warmups). I don't like orange juice either, I find it
irritates my voice ever so slightly, probably because it's acidic. But this doesn't apply to everybody; Many many
times have I seen my friend Wendy drink juice in pauses between sets, without it affecting her voice in the
slightest. Experiment, find out what works for you, and what doesn't...
...I guess that would really sum up everything I'm trying to teach here: GET TO KNOW YOUR VOICE! If you
know your limits, you're going to perform much better and much more evenly within those limits, and also, to go beyond
your limits, you need to know where you are so you can break them. 8-)
Smoking: I'm not going to tell you smoking is bad for you, etc etc, you should have figured that out for yourself,
I'm just going to relate my personal experience: I *DID* smoke during the period that I developed my singing voice,
and I made good progress in those years. When I quit, I hoped it might improve my singing in some way, and it sure
did! I can sing a LOT longer before fatigue sets in, my lung capacity has improved tremendously (meaning not only
longer notes, but more tricks involving over- and under-breathing ), and my pitch got better aswell (which I honestly
can't explain technically, but there was a definite difference). Your mileage may vary, but if you're serious about
singing, at least quit smoking for a couple of months and see if it makes a difference. If you're like me, and have
tried quitting several times, feeling your voice improve might be the final straw that breaks the nicotine camel's
This started out as a bunch of MP3 files to help out some friends who didn't always have
access to an instrument, and might use that as an excuse not to do vocal warmups every
single day. Can't have that, can we? 8-)
So then I had the idea to turn it into a web-based tool that they could use even if they
happened to have misplaced the CD. As long as there's internet, there's Vocal Warmup Studio.
Jonna and Jacob, for inspiration and suggestions.
Portions of the code by Martin Laine
Flash mp3 player), Marc Reichelt (the same mp3 player) and Geoff Stearns
Johan, Cecilia and Vincent.
I'm Per Almered, and I made this. If you want to contact me, use this form, please.