Why are warm-ups so important?

Warming up in Tokyo Japan.

Why are warm-ups so important?
A singer warming up her voice!

Why is warming up your voice necessary? Is it a tactic for your singing teacher to make your lesson more torturous? These are questions that a singing teacher gets constantly. Although, of course, I have my own questions. Am I warming up too loud in my hotel room? Am I going to bother the people in my Airbnb? But in order to do my job and to keep my cords healthy to teach my students and torture them with warm-ups, it is necessary. Think about it. Do you check the oil and water in your car? Driving hundreds of miles in your car creates a lot of heat in the engine. The oil and water help to cool the engine and keeps it in good working order. if you don’t look after it, and the engine will seize. Replacing the engine with a new one will be very expensive. But unlike engines, our vocal cords are not replaceable. Just like stretching before you run or doing any physical activity, by stretching it maintains and lowers your risk in injury.

A young singer warming up!

Singers who warm up their voices sing with more freedom and sing with consistency. They have fewer voice problems, have a wider vocal range, have more options for being expressive. Even when it's time to communicate their songs, it's better overall. Vocal teachers or instructors that do not start with a warm-up at the beginning of the class and you are going straight to sing. I will guarantee you, you will lose your voice AND when you sing it's going to sound tense. It frustrates me going into a class or rehearsal with singers who are beginners who are hurting their voices. Any singer knows the feeling of being less than 100% sure of what’s going to come out when you open your mouth to sing. That’s one of the main reasons for anxiety in performers. One of the common causes of this uncertainty is not knowing how to do an easy, systematic and effective warm-up. And sorry guys singing a song is NOT a warm-up. Professional baseball, basketball, and football players don’t come running out of the locker room and start playing a game. They stretch, limber up and take the time and effort to prepare the mind and physical body before the game. When it’s game time—or performance time for singers, the mind and mechanics are already prepared which means more relaxed and meaningful singing.

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

When staying at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo. I went to the business center to teach my singing classes. Why? Well, when you have to teach at 2 or 3 am to teach US students, you want to do everything in your might to avoid waking up people and not getting a complaint. So that is why I always aim for the business centers where I know about 90 percent of the time no one will be there at that time. But that anxiety is there no matter what time of day. In the hotel, I will ask the staff to see if it is alright and they have been most accomodating. I always find a place to hide so I don't bother people. Always letting someone know that you are about to sing when you are worried about how they may react will calm your nerves when you get affirmation that everything will be ok. It's good to know that the staff at the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in Shinagawa are always so accomodating. I have already stayed with them twice knowing that I have the peace of mind that I am able to work without disturbing anyone. Although, when teaching I do warn my students that it's 2 or 3 am at the time of their lesson and I'm not able to be as loud but still being able to provide the same service in nagging them to warm up.

Don’t risk unpredictable or anxiety-filled situations to stop you from warming up. Practice Makes Permanent, and if you practice regular warm-ups before you sing as well as on-off days you will be a better singer in every way.

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Rosita Ruiz
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