Warming-up the voice is often misunderstood. It is not the same as a vocal workout, where you work on strength, tone quality, etc. Warming-up is about getting the voice ready for singing or working out. It is the equivalent of stretching before exercise.

Morning Voice

We have all experienced croaky morning voice. In this state the vocal cords are often dry and puffy. It is important you begin to hydrate first thing, taking in plenty of water in order to keep the cords moist. It will take about 30 minutes for water to reach the vocal cords so get going on your water right away.

Take It Easy

Don’t hit the voice with full singing right away. Good initial warm-ups include semi-occluded sounds, which is a fancy way of saying semi-blocked. This includes humming or even singing as you blow into a narrow straw. Other types of semi-occluded sounds familiar to singers are tongue trills and lip bubbles.

Doing up and down sirens on an “OO” sound can be very effective as well. Don’t worry about sustains or big notes yet. Your exercises should only be focused on getting your vocal cords buzzing and lightly moving throughout your comfortable range.


Exaggerated “dopey” sounds are also helpful, think about sounding like Patrick from Spongebob. A dopey GEE can get the voice going with very little danger of stressing it.

Edgy or “bratty” sounds can get the edges of the cords to begin to align and come together. Don’t worry about volume – just keep the edgy, non-breathy sound going.

Moving Into Your Workout

After 10 minutes or so you should feel the croaky heavy feeling leave your vocal cords. If you are fatigued or have swollen cords due to illness or misuse, this may take longer. Once the cords feel more agile and clear you can move into your proper workout or performance.