Let's get started with the first PHASE of our warm-up, which includes three,

HMMM HMMM, make that FOUR

critical, but often overlooked, elements to make your time really count.


primer phase overview

In this video, I introduce you to the FIRST phase of your warm-up including the first THREE important elements to begin your warm-up and vocalization ritual!


I want you to be honest here... do believe you are capable of good singing and that your voice and desire to sing is a GIFT?


I'm here to tell you, friends, IT IS absolutely a gift! The sooner you can get your mindset right and believe this, the sooner your voice will start coming together!




Physically WRITE out your STATEMENT OF BELIEF (i.e., if you are wanting to acheive more power, "I sing with power and artistry... or perhaps not be afraid of those high notes, "I sing high with power and confidence..." Make it very specific to you!


I. Now that you have this, SPEAK it ALOUD every morning when you rise and every evening when you lay your sweet head upon your pillow. And lest us forget, EVERY time you warm-up! It may seem strange at first, and you may even giggle a lot or roll your eyes when you do it... this will change and you WILL start to truly believe it!


II. THANK GOD for your voice, your desire to sing and that you GET to sing!


III. Be SUPER CLEAR about your singing and performing goals for that day and write them down/state them out loud so you are more focused in your exercise!


Too many times we overlook this KEY ELEMENT in our warm ups. To help avoid strain and future ISSUES, this is a non-negotiable!



The goal with this is to just get your heart pumping a little faster to get blood moving through your bod to WAKE UP all your muscles before singing. It is DEFINITELY NOT rocket science so don't over think it. 


Simply do a minute or two of jumping jacks, high knees, a quick jog around your house or venue or even some push ups do the trick perfectly! Better yet, do a nice yoga flow or two beforehand (only in a perfect world, right?) 


Remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE and find something that WORKS FOR YOU that you won't avoid and that you will ACTUALLY do!


This is also the PERFECT time to speak your STATEMENT OF BELIEF, THANK GOD and BE CLEAR about your goal for the session!



Ultimately, you may have some favorite stretches that do the trick for you and that's WONDERFUL. The point here, AGAIN, is to DO THEM ;) So you don't forget anything, try thinking from bottom to top:


A. HIPS, SPINE and RIBS - a little circular hip action (think Shakira!), nice tall stretch with arms overhead and flow into stretching to either side to get those ribs opened up!


B. SHOULDERS & NECK - nice big rolls of your shoulders forward then back, then stretch you neck by dropping your ear to your shoulder and linger there a sec. FEELS GREAT. Chin chest is a great one for releasing tension in back of the neck.  


C. LARYNX /SOFT PALATE & TONGUE - you will do more of this when you are in the next phase of warm-ups but it's nice to just give them some quick attention first by 1) imagining you are yawning and just simply hold the larynx down for a few counts as this ALSO helps you feel your soft palate rise & open; and 2) stick that tongue out as far as you can to feel release in the very back... also hold for a few counts.


D. FACE & JAW - making silly faces is SO FUN, but by now you know that about me if you've been watching these videos;) Join me won't you?Not only is it funny, it is functional!


Thinking prunes and apples... scrunching (is that even a word?) up your face really small like a wrinkled little prune, then opening it all up like a nice plump golden, delicious apple! A little chewing is excellent also! 


Use your fingertips to massage the jaw line to really work on release there!



Before diving into the BREATH ACTIVATION exercises, PLEASE review this video where I give you a brief, mini-lesson on the mechanics of breathing and what our top goals as singers should be to make our breath optimal! 



The key here is to really understand what your goals for your breath are as a singer... here are some key thought prompts as you work your breath;



Shoulders are NEUTRAL... your shoulders will rise and fall quite noticeably when you take in a high breath. You DO NOT want this because this type of breath is shallow and honestly, quite stress inducing - it's an anxious breath and it will not give you the fuel you need.


Nice lifted, tall POSTURE which aids in keeping your ribs in the right position for optimal filling and use.

Lower abdomen must release (don't push it out just LET IT GO) to aid the diaphragm in it's descent which in turns draws down the lungs and draws the air in... NO NEED TO SUCK THE AIR IN! 


An extremely super cool trick here is to think about a balloon filling up through your belly button, or even better to feel like your breath is actually a heavy weight DROPPING in and landing down in your pelvis... try it! It's sort of AMAZING!


EXHALE/SING - the GOAL is to not let the diagphragm rise freely, rather think of ribs/upper belly STAYING out. I don't like using the word PUSHING here because that's entirely too much forced action. This "staying out" helps create energy in the breath because you are creating RESISTANCE in the body (breath support).


BALANCE here is important and we will investigate this further in the next PHASE - you don't want too much or too little resistance (think Goldilocks - you need JUST THE RIGHT amount). This takes a bit of time to develop but YOU CAN DO IT!


  • Once you are full of air and ready to go, there is a slight moment (milisecond) of what I call TURN AROUND... that moment just before you sing, when your MIDSECTION (ribs, upper belly...) gently firms OUTWARD. But don't PUSH it out as that is TOOOOOO much!

  • A wonderful helper here is to feel just below your sternum for the muscle there (called the epigastrium for those of you who like the technical stuff) and simply feel it go out. Again, NO need to push this out hard, because this can quite possibly over-pressurize your air (NO BUENO)... just think engaged, yet pliable.

  • There are a multitude of exercises you can do to really get accustomed to the mechanics and I go into A LOT more detail in my course "Breathing Basics"... for now, these exercises (hissing out , tssss shhhh and quick sss's) are GOLDEN!

  • I got a little intense in the face on the SHHHH's - YIKES... I just really want you to GET IT. But... please try to soften your face and not get into " ATTACK FACE" mode while you are doing these. We want it to be engaged AND relaxed!!!

Now let's put this knowledge to work in our bodies!



Remember this is just to get your vocal cords/folds moving and to do a little wakey, wakey to your frontal resonance.


These mmm's should be done very gently and in the "sweet spot" of your spoken range. 


Tongue should feel nice and relaxed in the mouth, feeling somewhat fat! Let the tip of the tongue rest at bottom teeth.


Bring lips forward a bit and really aim your voice into the lips... feel the buzzing there. Remember, though, you are NOT aiming your sound with a lot of force behind it. KEEP IT GENTLE.


You can do small  "sighs" or "slides" going up, down, all around and gradually stretching the distance you take the pitches. 


There is no need for a structured pattern here ;) Just feel the voice starting to "wake up".

This exercise is a SUPER gentle intro to "waking up" your vocal cords/folds. The name of the game here is, GENTLE!


QUESTIONS & comments