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warm up exercise for the vocalist

A singer I know and respect has suggested, as a warm up exercise for the vocalist I work with, 30 seconds. . barking. I am to join in as well. So that we both feel silly, freeded up and the stomach gets relaxed (v.important for performance). It also takes the pressure off the singer if I do it too. I think it's a good idea.

I'll try it this week and let you know how it goes.

Woof woof...



anonymous Wed, 11/14/2001 - 20:08
Littledog please.Really that was uncalled for.
Erm saying that...Renie, now you know I can't help myself sometimes, well this is one of them.
Folks, re Littledog's comment. Perhaps you should visit a post of mine currently on Digi's Pro Tools forum. It's the one "SEX AND PRO TOOLS - A USERS GUIDE" er I said that in a rather gruff voice by the way.

Greg Malcangi Fri, 11/16/2001 - 01:11
I'm tempted to further explore the New Zealand angle with the sheepskin but I'll refrain!

Seriously though I'd have thought that barking is not a good idea as a warm-up exercise. Many of the truely great singers have had some pretty weird warm up rituals though. Caruso's warm up ritual included using an atomising spray full of whiskey to liberally coat the inside of his throat and smoking a cigarette just before he went on stage!

Modern warm-up technique for almost any instrumentalist or vocalist is basically to start with very easy long notes and working your way through basic rudiments, gradually getting more difficult towards the end of the routine.


anonymous Sun, 11/18/2001 - 15:56
Who's sniggering? Is it you miketholen?
What about you littledog? OK, yes it is funny.
But let's settle down now huh?
(Stedel apologizes for his own contribution)
Sorry about that Renie.
(Stedel has a query :)
Seriously Renie. Did you try it? Did it help?
I'm working with a female vocalist who has a
fantastic voice.But she's completely untrained.
She's like the Robert Reford movie - "a natural".
Her voice, until now has been very very good, and she's a great live singer.
Without appropriate vocal exercises, without a bit of knowledge about this, the very qualities and techniques used intuitively to produce such a fantastic voice can actually harm the voice. This happened to no lesser person than Shirley Bassey,
at the beggining of an Australian Tour, on stage at the Sydney Opera House(she is incredibly popular in Australia.We love Shirley.)She went to hit her first note, and in front of thousand's of people, nothing came out. Do you know the story of what Shirley had to do to sing again after that? Believe me, Shirley Bassey Rocks!!
Anyway,I've been trying to figure out some practical way of getting the singer I'm working with to pay attention to this, and looking for some exercises to run past her. I think she will
have a good time with this one. I've already got her howling.
At the moment our warm up includes getting her to sing songs by Billy Holiday,Kylie Minogue,The Bee Gees,Tamla Motown... and The Beatles.She used to be able to do "Oh Darlin'" but now has problems with this sort of material.
The original stuff we are working on
(apart from having it's own contemporary edge)
is quite demanding for a singer to cover.
Any other tips from this singer you know you'd like to share?
PS. "My" singer does a great tom cat growl.

anonymous Mon, 11/19/2001 - 01:11

Funny, I just mentioned Mike Tholen on the DUC. And coincidentally, the vocalist I work with has the same singer teacher as Shirley Bassey. The singer I got the barking from is from the classical world. I will explore further ideas and report back. What are the areas you specifically want to develop with your singer? Any other ideas welcome.


PS. Greg why do you think barking isn't a good idea for a warm up?

Greg Malcangi Mon, 11/19/2001 - 04:30
Hi Renie,


The art of creating a warm up routine is a bit of a tightrope, on the one hand you need to gradually push the muscles used to control the voice to a point where they are warmed up and ready for anything that may be required. At the same time you need to make sure the exercises themselves don't cause any strain that might impact the performance. A good warm up routine will last 10-20mins and will start with the easiest exercise possible, probably long notes in the middle of the range at medium volume (mf).

Barking maybe a good idea (although I'm not convinced) as part of a properly constructed warm-up routine but it would need to be used very carefully as barking and howling can cause quite a bit of strain on the throat, and strain is the last thing you want as part of a warm up routine.

As a good example think of how an athlete warms up. The muscles used to control your instrument or voice are every bit as important as the muscles on an athlete. They need to be treated with great respect. Start it easy and gradually work it up without causing any strain.


anonymous Thu, 11/22/2001 - 23:43
Originally posted by Renie:

What are the areas you specifically want to develop with your singer? Any other ideas welcome.

Renie QB]
Hi Renie.
Well there's a couple, but one's "cultural" so I don't know if you'll be able to help.But this is a problem.
The singer I work with has a great voice, she can handle a wide range of material, styles etc. She has a great Country & Western voice, but C&W scares her! She refuses to go there!Even though
the C&W stuff we are wanting her to do is a bit...well warped I guess, compared to the standard Nashville genre.I thought of bands like The Cowboy Junkies to try and get her to approach
it from a different perspective. I don't know, maybe you're scared of it also. Any bands over there doing warped but good C&W stuff that you know off? With well produced, good vocals and playing?
On a technical side, reaching the high notes that I know she can get. She doesn't do scales, as I said, but she has good pitch.Any ideas that could be fun for her to do? She doesn't mind being outrageous - cats, horror movie screams we already do.And now dogs.
Also cos she's getting a bit lazy,her mid range tends to be a bit nasally and shrill, where before she had a nice, husky, intimate quality to it.Any good exercises for the mid range?
Much appreciated.
Kind regards

anonymous Fri, 11/23/2001 - 01:14
You could check out the US band Mazzy Star (if you haven't already) who have a female vocalist called Hope Sandaval with a superb emotive sensual voice and their stuff is warped country amongst other things. Very beautiful dark and certainly cool enuff!!!. I have a soft spot for country. I really dig the White Stripes at the moment. I went to see Connie Francis at the London Palladium a few years ago unfortuneately she wobbled until she collapsed on the grand piano she was perched on half way thru the second track.... It's basically a good idea if she does scales. I'll think on....

anonymous Thu, 11/29/2001 - 15:57
Hi Renie. Thanks for the Mazzy Star tip.No I haven't heard it. I'll have a look tomorrow in Sydney for some of their stuff.

BTW re scales. Yes I'm getting her to sit down and do some of these (remember she is untrained). At the moment it's more recognising intervals. For some reason she has decided she can't sing one of the songs, which is in the key of D (it modulates from D major to D minor in places). As three of the other songs are in D (which she doesn't have problems with) I'm doing a lot of pitch recognition work with her - I was looking around for some fun exercises.
Kind regards

Ted Nightshade Mon, 12/10/2001 - 07:47
Curious topic. I'm working with a female singer who's a fabulous composer, piano/keyboard and vibes player. She writes all these great songs that really seem to demand that she sing them- personal stuff, kind of like Jimi Hendrix. Her singing is the weak part- she does some great talky-narrative vocals, great speaking voice that records really well, but the singing is strained.
Since she's really into cats, I started her yowling and sounding like mating time in the alley next door, which has had some suprising results, as she found some ways to open up her throat and chest and get some colorful resonances she'd never gotten before. But integrating it into human-style singing is something else again.
This girl's strong point is going to be some kind of sprechstimme, I can tell, sliding back and forth between singing and talking like Hendrix or Donald Fagen, but some other style completely.
Any ideas that bear repetition?


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