Singers Survival Tips – About Warming Up – Prt.1

Welcome to my “Singers Survival Tips Series”! Want to know more about doing a proper vocal warm up and why you should do it? Watch this Part 1 video on why and how to do it right! Shortcuts! 0:00 – Welcome 0:37 – Why? 1:03 – What Matt Walst (3 Days Grace) Does! 1:11 – The Key Factor 2:15 – What Stefan Babcock (PUP) Knows! 3:25 – Important! 3:43 – Questions I get asked #1 4:03 – #2 – Best Warmup Exercise? 4:32 – Why Lip Trills Are So Effective 5:57 – #3 – Can You Do Them Wrong? 6:19 – How To?

 

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Mitch Seekins – The Vocal Coach.  Welcome to my “Singer Survival Tips Series!  Want to learn more about how to warm up the voice? This video is the first in a series on the importance of warming up and I’ll answer some questions about how and why you should warm up before a gig a rehearsal or a recording session. If you understand the reasons why you need to warm up, you’ll be much more motivated to do it… oh and if you find this video useful and that you’ve learned something please share and hit that subscribe button. I have much more to come.

I’ve been teaching recording artists, touring artists, and regular people how to sing maintain and even repair damaged voices so they can look forward to a less stressful, way more enjoyable and a much longer career.  I performed and toured myself singing many different genres of music for 37 years, so I was able to develop and test all kinds of warm-up methods and this is what I teach my students.

Matt Walst (3 Days Grace) – “Vocally well, I do your warm-up, every… before every show.  I do about 15 minutes of your warm-up every time.”

Warming up is a key factor for a vocalist before any kind of a performance. I have always viewed singing like an athletic event. Any athlete who is serious about what they do warms up before a practice or a competition. In terms of singing, getting the muscles moving and the warmth flowing into the area and knocking the phlegm and gunk off the cords is the best way to ensure your top performance and lessen the chance of hurting the voice. As a vocal coach I guide singers how not only to develop and strengthen their voices, but also how to maximize what they have at any given time.  This includes being at the top of their game and healthy, as well as… not being at the top of their game and dealing with vocal fatigue or swollen cords or just being plain sick!  I do get questions regarding how to warm up properly.  As a student of mine, once the fundamentals are established, I create warm-up files for each individual student.  This includes warm-up exercises that pertain to the level that they’re at, as well as their specific vocal range and abilities.

Stefan Babcock (PUP) – “I’d been doing warm-ups for maybe like, before shows, for maybe a year or so, before we started working together.  you know like the warm ups that we do, uh, are a bit different. They’re much more gentle. It’s like about kind of really.. it’s not a it’s not five minutes like let’s go… it’s like really gentle, ease back into it. Spend 20 minutes or half an hour to get yourself going.  I will not miss a warm up under any circumstances! There’s no circumstances that I’ll go on stage without warming up, because I know that that could lead to really big issues! So, yeah that means like it’s a bit different now like now that we, you know, always have like uh decent green rooms and stuff like that but there was a point four or five years ago where we were playing really small shows and we didn’t have a backstage and it was just like, well, I guess i’m.. it’s you know it’s negative 20.. I’m still gonna sit in the car or go for a walk and do this, because I won’t get on stage without doing the warm-ups!”

It is important that you do these exercises properly to get the most bang for your buck so to speak and obviously I can’t exactly monitor that here for you but I will be sharing in an upcoming video, some simple exercises for common ranges and at least get you started on the right track.

An example of some of the questions I get are:

What do I need to warm up? Chest voice, Head voice or Falsetto…. or all of it?

All of it.

  • All parts of the voice are used in producing a good quality sound for a show or a session. Therefore, you need to stretch all aspects of your voice out!

Is there one exercise that does it all for me?

No.

But there is one that comes close! It’s called “Lip Trills”. These exercises have been around for a VERY long time. I have the very first book ever written on vocal technique by Pier Francesco Tosi…in 1743! He talks about them in the book… but who knows how long they were around before that? He doesn’t claim to have invented them, he just says that they are an integral part to a vocal warm up for any voice type.

Lip Trills are a fantastic exercise that works through all the registers of the voice (chest and head or falsetto), and it forces you to relax while doing it… because if you get any tongue, jaw, throat or torso tension, the exercise stops working!

  • It begins to move any phlegm or gunk off of the vocal cords
  • It begins the process of learning to properly negotiate the passagio, or that “crack” we all have between the chest voice and the head voice. It’s not the be all and end all of learning how to do that, but it a great way to start.
  • It stretches out all the registers (Chest and Head) from the very bottom to the very top of your range, working the muscles and getting the blood and warmth to flow.
  • It begins the process, over time, of strengthening whichever register is weakest. One of the things I teach is something called blending which is all about mixing or blending the 2 registers together and learning to stretch through the passagio or “crack” that we all have. As opposed to flipping or cracking through it. It’s how you can increase your range and have full control of your sound without killing your voice! It’s a very important part to ANY voice but in order to do it you have to have an equal amount of strength in each register. Lip trills are a great way to begin this.
  • It establishes good vocal placement, as you can’t do them in the back of the throat
  • Overall they are a great way to start a warmup!

 

Can you do them wrong?

Yes.

  • However, they are very easy to learn to do right…to the point that afterwards, it’s difficult to do them wrong! If you don’t get them right immediately, have no fear. It’s only a matter of a little time for the chords to shift into the proper position… and in the meanwhile, as a warmup, they still work great!
  • I will be filming and posting examples of how to approach them shortly…so stay tuned!

So once again if you found this video useful and you have learned something…. please share and hit that subscribe button…I have much more to come!

Coming soon! A new episode of “Singers Survival Tips” titled “Water, Water, Water”

Letting everyone know about the upcoming Singers Survival Tips episode due to be posted shortly! This one is all about the importance of drinking water and keeping hydrated. Plus there is lots of new content coming…

 

Transcript:

“Singers Survival Tips” New episode -Water, Water, Water  coming soon!

How important is it really for a vocalist to drink water? And how much? Check out what some of the pro’s, who tour the world have to say

Hi, Im Mitch Seekins The Vocal Coach

It is so nice to see everyone finally heading back out on tour and doing shows. I doing a series of Singer survival tips to help out! The next upcoming singer’s survival tip is on the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated …there is a link in my bio to my blog where everything is posted. Oh, and if you find this series helpful  share and follow me… I’ll let you know when each episode is uploaded!

“Singers Survival Tips” – Zinc & Vitamin C

The 1st Episode of my “Singer Survival Tips Series” . I am creating these for those vocalists heading out on the road or even just doing local gigs. This is one of THE BEST tips I share with all my students about staying healthy. Its the fist thing you’ll want to have in you “Survival Kit”!

 

 

 

Transcript:

Hi I’m Mitch Seekins – The Vocal Coach it is so nice to see everyone finally heading back out on tour and doing shows, so I decided to do this series of singer survival tips to help out. This is stuff that I share with all of my students – from the ones launching world and national tours to those beginning to do local gigs again.

It’s so very important for a vocalist to stay as healthy as possible to get through the shows. These tried and true tips will be things that I’ve picked up over my 38 years of touring and gigging and have used myself… oh and if you find these helpful please share and hit the subscribe button there’s more stuff coming

This is the beginning of April which is a season change and what comes with that are colds and flues as well as the beginning of the allergy season… yay ….you are constantly exposed to different varieties of germs wherever you go as each place has its own micro climate so to speak. The germs in New York are not the same germs that are in LA which are not the same germs in Chicago or Toronto my first tip is zinc and vitamin c. I personally have used this for years as well as my students grab a bottle of 10 or 20 milligram zinc tablets any brand will do it doesn’t have to be fancy and a bottle of at least 500 milligram time release vitamin c that is really important the time release aspect of the vitamin c allows the body to absorb the vitamin c as efficiently as possible if you slam it with too much vitamin c the body will just purge it and you don’t get the full benefit so the time release is actually really important depending on your stature more vitamin c is perfectly okay I’m six foot three and i take a thousand milligrams of time release vitamin c every day so if you’re of a smaller stature 500 milligrams will be just fine as well how to use this combination depending on your size I’m once again a big guy so i’ll take between you know 30 or 40 milligrams of zinc you really don’t need to go much higher than that if you’re smaller you can go 10 or 20 milligrams that’s totally fine but you take that once a day with the time release vitamin c and then you can use the vitamin c again later on in that day but not the zinc a good rule of thumb is when you take this take it with a little bit of food as the zinc may upset your stomach you want to take this right as you begin to feel something coming on you know that funny feeling in the throat where you start to feel like there’s something not quite right that’s when you want to do this you don’t want to leave that feeling for 8 or 10 hours or 24 hours and then try to do this you want to nail it right at the beginning. What this combination does is it kick-starts the body into producing massive amounts of white blood cells which is your immune system the white blood cells fight colds and flus and what have you and you don’t want to take this more than four days in a row because if you begin to develop the cold your body is going to be producing as many white blood cells as it can – it’s that kickstart that really gives you an edge on kicking the cold before it really takes hold. Now this doesn’t work a hundred percent of the time but you know, it works about eighty percent of the time! uh for example I began to have a cold that my son brought home from school on Tuesday it’s Saturday today and I started to feel it in my throat at about midnight so i actually got out of bed took my zinc and vitamin c went back to bed and then i took it again in the morning and then hit it with vitamin c that night and because I’m so big it’s a thousand milligrams and then i did it again on Thursday morning Friday morning I did it today is Saturday there’s no cold there through that time there was no point where I wouldn’t have been able to do a show if i had to so you might think well why don’t I just take the zinc all the time the problem with that is, is that even though it’ll say it on the bottle because their job of course, is to sell tablets, your body will get accustomed to it and it won’t provide that jump start that boost that’s so important in combating a cold when it’s trying to take hold so I don’t recommend taking it more than three or four days at a time the vitamin c like I said I take it every day vitamin c is a good supplement to take every day for immune health.

So the major takeaway of this is to know that to be a successful singer you need to have a strong and robust immune system. There you go that’s my first Singer Survival Tip! Once again if you like this and found it helpful, please share and hit that subscribe button … I have more stuff to come

Womens Lip Trills

This is a file that you can download or stream and use to help or begin a warm-up cycle.

Okay! Just a couple things to touch on before we start. If you haven’t watched the how to do lip trills video, just go back and do that it’s really, really short. Use your hands when you need to, if you need to… if you can do without it that’s great but if not, use your hands and gently lift the cheeks up. The Passaggio, the crack… don’t allow the crack to happen too early. You want to stretch the chest voice up a little bit you don’t want to ram it but you do want to want to stretch it and when you go up into head voice or falsetto make sure you come back down into chest. You want to work that Passaggio, that crack. That’s an important part of the exercise.

This is the arpeggio that I’m going to use and I’ll go up and semi-tones and that’s about it!

Let’s go to work.

Mens Lip Trills

This is a file that you can download or stream and use to help or begin a warm-up cycle.

Okay! Just a couple things to touch on before we start. If you haven’t watched the how to do lip trills video, just go back and do that it’s really, really short. Use your hands when you need to, if you need to… if you can do without it that’s great but if not, use your hands and gently lift the cheeks up. The Passaggio, the crack… don’t allow the crack to happen too early. You want to stretch the chest voice up a little bit you don’t want to ram it but you do want to want to stretch it and when you go up into head voice or falsetto make sure you come back down into chest. You want to work that Passaggio, that crack. That’s an important part of the exercise.

This is the arpeggio that I’m going to use and I’ll go up and semi-tones and that’s about it!

Let’s go to work.

Warming Up – Lip Trills

Warming up! The first of a series of short videos and exercise files that you can use or download. This one is all about Lip Trills, an exercise that has been around at least 400 yrs! I explain how and why to use them.

Today’s little video segment is all about how to do lip trills. An important part of a warmup cycle that should be habitual for every professional or serious vocalist.

I explain the how to’s and why for’s in my latest blog, which is on my website – If you haven’t seen it please go to my website, mitchseekinsvocalstudio.com and in the blog section you’ll find it there. Have a look!

I will be shooting a full episode about the importance of warming up shortly.

Ok… Lip Trills

Very easy to do and still very helpful even if you do them wrong, but of course much more helpful if you can do them right!

They work like this – demonstration

The goal is to maintain an even lip bubble trill thing and more important is to stretch through the passaggio or that crack between chest voice and head voice or the falsetto

You can use the fingers to gently lift the cheeks and take the weight off the lips, so they trill easier like this,

Demonstration

But if you can do them without the use of your hands, that’s better…. but honestly not necessary.

Then you do a series of arpeggios, working your voice from the bottom to the top of your range, trying to stretch through the crack, like this – demonstration

as opposed to flipping through – demonstrate

if you can’t seem to stretch through right away don’t fret too much about it. Its just a matter of time to get the cords to settle into position and you’ll be able to do it, as long as you concentrate on trying to do it, every single time you do them You still get a wonderful way of stretching everything out until it starts to work!

That’s it!

I’m going to film 2 sets of arpeggios for you to use or download.

1 for women and 1 for men

The range I’m going to use is a common range that seems to basically work for most men and for most women’s ranges.

Of course, it can’t be specific for your individual voice, but it’s a great place for you to start

When you study with me, once a student has a good grasp on the fundamentals then I make a warmup file specifically for their range and their abilities.

There you go! Have fun with them.

In the meantime, please subscribe or check back periodically for more tips and videos, I will post them as soon as I have them!

If you have and questions post them! I will answer 2 posted questions a week, so post away!

So, there you go…. See you next time!