Vocal Warmups to Elevate Your Sound

Article by: Luke Motta
VQS Advice Blog | Cover Image by Israel Palacio

Did you know that as a singer, your voice (and body) is your instrument?

You wouldn’t play the saxophone with a dry, brittle reed would you? Or not tune your guitar before you play it…right? Here’s our top advice to take care of your instrument – your voice!

1. Get Loose and Stretch

Photo By: Dane Wetton

When you are singing you are not only using your voice, you are also using your whole body. Your body is your instrument, it’s best to keep it in tip top shape!

  • Start by wiggling your arms to loosen up your shoulders
  • Then try rolling your head to stretch your neck
  • Or touch your toes to stretch out your back!

Basically any stretch you can think of will benefit your body and the looser you feel by the end, the clearer your voice will sound.

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2. Practice Breathing

Photo By: Nine Koepfer

One of the most important skills to have when singing is proper breath control. Without it, you won’t be able to hold long notes or sentences while singing. The goal of breathing exercises is to make the exhale longer than your inhale. 

A good exercise is to place your hand on your stomach and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your hand on your stomach as you breathe. When you breathe in, your hand should be rising as your diaphragm fills up with air and should be dropping when you breathe out!

3. Exercise Your Diaphragm

Using the diaphragm is the most effective method of breathing for vocals, so make sure you focus!

Photo By: Frank Flores

This tip goes hand in hand with tip #2. Once you finish with your breathing exercises, you can move right into this diaphragm exercise.

With your hand still on your stomach, pucker your lips and imagine you are sucking through a straw. By doing this, you will feel your stomach rise as you suck in air. That’s how you know you are breathing through your diaphragm correctly. Repeat daily until eventually you won’t need to pucker your lips at all.

4. Emphasize Your Words

This exercise may seem a bit silly as you do it, but it will help immensely with annunciating your lyrics!

While standing up straight, say the words “wow”, “yeah”, or “hey”, as if you are trying to talk to somebody who’s across a big room. These words will help you pronounce your lyrics as you sing.

You can also add letters to the beginning of vowels for this exercise, and say…

  1. May
  2. Mee
  3. My
  4. Mo
  5. Mooo

Make sure you really stretch your mouth and accentuate these words! And don’t worry about embarrassing yourself while practicing these, just have fun and think of how much this will help you on your vocalist journey!

5. Drink Lots of Water!

Water isn’t just important for your daily health…

water drink
Photo By: Damir Spanic

Staying hydrated will protect your vocal chords, throat, and voice. Whenever singing or practicing, always have at least one water bottle with you and be sure to drink some throughout the day as well. Keeping your body healthy and hydrated will give yourself the power to fully harness your voice to it’s fullest potential.


1. Get Loose and Stretch
2. Practice Breathing
3. Exercise Your Diaphragm
4. Emphasize Your Words
5. Drink Lots of Water!

Which tip do you think is most important in maintaining your voice? We’d love to know!

Article by: Luke Motta

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About the Author
LA based video creator, producer and media coach.
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