Warm-ups and Vocal Exercises
Check your posture. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your back straight, chin and head level and your shoulders relaxed. Check your knees are not locked. Take a few moments to stretch your arms, back and shoulders before taking some deep breaths, keeping your shoulders down and breathing deep into your diaphragm.
Practise engaging your diaphragm, feeling it bounce inwards as you repeat ‘ft ft ft’ with energy. Other sounds you can use include ‘pip’, ‘psst’, ‘ss’ or ‘yap’.
Imagine picking up two heavy bags of shopping, relaxing your arms and letting your core and bum muscles do all the work. Imagine your feet are tree roots, or that you have ski poles in each hand that are helping you to engage your core.
Put the tip of the tongue between the lips and then swallow.
Put half the tongue between the lips and then swallow.
Put the whole tongue out fully, as far as you can, and then swallow.
Next, pull out the tongue and imagine a clock face; point the tongue to 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock.
Use a mirror to look at yourself doing these exercises. Pull your tongue all the way out and sing a siren going up. Do not let the tongue return into the mouth.
Consonants: these are formed by the mouth but, if over-emphasised, can cause you to push out too much air and tense your mouth and throat muscles. Speak out the consonants and you will sense them gradually being placed further back in the mouth, with the final pair being produced in the throat.
p p p p p p , b b b b b b (x3) then p b p b p b p b
v v v v v v, f f f f f f (x3) then v f v f v f v f
th th th th th th (as in ‘they’), th th th th th th (as in ‘thirty’) (x3) then th th th th th th th th
d d d d d d, t t t t t t (x3) then d t d t d t d t
Continue, as above, with z and s, j and sh, j and ch, g and k.