Warming up your voice before going on-air is really important. Just like warming up your body before exercising, you want to warm up your voice before doing your live radio event to sound the best you possibly can. Warming up your voice reduces strain, improves your ability to pronounce, and helps eliminate vocal fatigue. The benefits of warming up your voice are clear. So, take a look at some of the best vocal warm-ups below as well as some tips to help take care of your voice!
Best Vocal Warm-Ups:
Tongue twisters help loosen your lips and tongue as well as develop your tongue muscle memory for better pronunciation. The tricky words in tongue twisters also improve your ability to use the different types of sounds more easily and with greater clarity. With the following tongue twisters, pronounce each one slowly and as best you can at first, then repeat it over and increase the speed of your pronunciation each time.
Around the ragged rocks, the ragged rascal ran.
She sells seashells by the sea shore.
The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips
Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said this butter’s bitter.
Should saucy sharks seek shelter soon?
Red leather, yellow leather
A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.
Start by humming one note and holding it for a few seconds from soft to louder. Pick different notes in your range. Humming helps wake up the voice and tune your vocal cords. After humming a few notes, you can hum a song or even sing if you want.
Elevator slides allow you to smooth out the full range of your vocal register. Start by making a sound like a slow siren, using an “ah” sound, moving from low to high. Switch up the “ah” sound with “ee” and “ooh” to open up the sinuses, throat, and nasal passage.
Roll your ‘R’-sound, vibrating your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This helps loosen your tongue to pronounce all of those trickier sounds.
Lip trills help loosen up the whole face and get the lips vibrating and flexible. Blow out air from your mouth and vibrate your lips (similar to a motorboat sound).
Relax the Jaw
Relaxing your jaw will help you move your mouth freely. Move your jaw in circles with your mouth closed as if you are chewing. Open your jaw wide to say "apple," "meow," "oo-ee," "mamamamama," and "wawawawawa."
Speak to yourself in an exaggerated, overly expressive manner to help with pronunciation and to loosen up your lips and tongue. Over-enunciate words to draw out sounds that you may not usually focus on when speaking.
Extra Tips to Take Care of Your Voice:
Consider What You Eat and Drink.
Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, and soda as they cause the throat to become dehydrated and the muscles to contract. Milk and other dairy products should be avoided as well because they can make more mucus (phlegm) in your throat. Also, it is best to avoid very hot and very cold drinks so that your throat won't go into shock. Smoking and alcohol are additional things that you should avoid when you are broadcasting soon as they dry out and constrict the vocal cords.
It is best to keep your vocal cords hydrated with lots of room-temperature water and warm non-caffeinated tea with honey and lemon to help soothe your throat. Eating foods that contain Vitamin A will also help keep your soft tissue, skin, and mucous membranes healthy.
Check the Air That You're Breathing.
Dry or dusty environments are horrible for your voice. If you notice that your studio is a dry or dusty area, leave a window open to freshen the air or invest in a humidifier. Taking a hot shower can be a great way to warm and loosen your vocal cords before a broadcast. Note that clearing your throat can be harsh on your vocal cords, so try to drink lots of water and/or take a hot shower if your throat feels scratchy.
Aside from checking the air that you're breathing, you also want to be breathing properly. You want to breathe into your diaphragm, instead of your chest or shoulders. So, when you breathe in, expand your belly fully, rather than your shoulders, chest, or back.
Loosen Up Your Body.
Tension, discomfort, and pain in your body all reflect in your voice. It's a great idea to warm up your body before a broadcast. You can take a brisk walk, stretch, do some arm circles and shoulder rolls, do some jumping jacks, and so on.
Aside from warming up your body, you need to be aware of your posture as well. Slouching reduces your breathing capacity and constricts your throat. If you broadcast while standing up, keep your upper body upright with your shoulders back. If you prefer sitting to broadcast, be sure to invest in a good desk chair and sit back into your chair with your shoulders back. Be sure that you are comfortable and not stiff though.
Doing vocal warm-ups, loosening up your body, ensuring that you have good breath control, and being mindful of what you consume before broadcasting can make all the difference in your voice. While some of these warm-ups and tips may seem silly, they can really change the game for your live broadcasts. Giving your voice and your body a little TLC before broadcasting will keep your voice sounding great throughout your live event. The last thing that you want is to be struggling with your voice half way through your live radio event. After all, your voice is the whole point of the live broadcast. So, next time you are going on-air, keep these vocal warm-ups and tips in mind!
For 10 tips on how to be a great live broadcaster, check out our article here. If you are looking for information on how to write a script, see our article here and for a breakdown on how to pick talk radio topics, see our article entitled How to Pick Talk Radio Topics for Your Live Radio Event.
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Article Image: Jason Rosewell via Unsplash.