Voice and Vocal Exercises

Vocal Exercises

Vocal ExercisesThe vocal exercise that you choose will mostly depend on the demands of the performance materials that you will be rehearsing. That is for any given practice session at least. You can start by determining what skills your pieces require.

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You will need to choose an exercise that focuses on the piece that you are rehearsing that calls for the extremes of your range. You will do flexibility exercises if the material has a lot of fast runs or trills. You would want to work on breath support and control if the piece you’re working on has many sustained notes. There are different kinds of vocal exercises for different kinds of songs and we will list most of the here.

Vocal Exercises for Low Range

There exercises are for alto or bass. If you are a soprano or tenor that sometimes sings a lower part than your usual range, this exercises can also be beneficial for you.

Descending octave slides. You can start in the middle range in your most comfortable pitch. Then slide down the scale one octave from your starting pitch, moving down by half step. This is done using the buzz technique (also called bubble lips or lip roll). Aside from that, various vowel sounds can also be used like “oo”, “ah”, “Vee”, “voh” etc.

Fifth slide. This one is called the fifth slide. Start on a comfortable range just like the first one and go down a fifth (so-do), moving down by half-steps. This is done also using the ‘buzz’ or the syllable “Vaw”. With back up to the starting pitch (so-do-so), add a third tone. Move down half-steps like the rest. Finally, reverse it (do-so-do).

High Range Vocal Exercises

After doing some exercises for the lower vocal range, that is altos and basses, these set of exercises now focuses and will be helpful for sopranos and tenors. But these can also be used by lower vocal range if they need to work on their high range.

Up and down arpeggios. If you know arpeggios on guitars, you know that this is a simple broken chord up and down. Using the buzz or any vowel sound or syllable, move in upward directions by half-steps with each succeeding repeat.

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Upward arpeggio and downward octave with turn. Compared to the first one, this is a little harder. Sing the upward arpeggio (do-mi-so-do), then do a turn (ti-do-re), then the 8-tone descending octave scale from do to do. Use vowel sounds; do a few on “ee”, a few on “oo”, and a few on “ah”. Shown in the pattern below, start each arpeggio a half step higher than the last one.

oo—————————————– etc.

Upward arpeggio with repeated high note. {Another variation of the arpeggio, this is especially helpful with keeping a light tone on the high notes.|This is very helpful with keeping light tone on the high notes even if this is a variation of the arpeggio.} Sing the upward arpeggio (do-mi-so-do) and then do it again with the high do, staccato, five or six times using the syllable “ha”. See the pattern below.

Flexibility Vocal Exercises

Ascending triplet scale. This will be easy to follow if you read the notes below but explaining this exercise verbally is complicated. Sing an eighth-note triplet upward starting on each syllable using the solfege syllabels (do, re, mi, etc.) Reverse and sing each triplet downward when you get to the top of the scale. Try to sing this one as fast as you can as part of the requirement for this exercise.

do re mi fa so la ti do ti la so fa mi re do

Ascending and descending thirds. Singing it will be much easier than to explain by words. Starting on the base note, go up a third, down a whole step, up another third, etc. until you reach the fifth tone, then reverse and go back down a third, up a half step, down a third, up a whole step, etc. Just like the previous one, sing the exercises as rapidly as you can.

Rapid repeated up and down five note scale. This one is simple–just go up and down a five tone scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-fa-mi-re-do) and repeat.

Breath Support and Control Vocal Exercise

Vocal exercises
Vocal Exercises with Vocal Release Product

Buzz-slides. In terms of breath support, the buzz is one of the best exercise for it. You usually start on a mid-range tone and eventually will end up to the fifth-so-do by sliding down. Repeat several times, moving down by half-steps. Then buzz the descending triad–so-mi-do–sliding between tones. Again repeat several times, moving down by half-steps. Finally, buzz a five-tone descending scale–so-fa-mi-re-do.

Messa di voce. For this exercise, sing a comfortable mid-range pitch on “ah”. Sustaining the note, begin very softly and get gradually louder, then softer again.