You’ve heard “practice makes perfect”, so you’re doing your best.
You keep singing the same songs over and over, willing them to sound better, but they just… don’t.
You’re practicing, right?
So when do you get that “perfect” you were promised?
Turns out, there’s a right way to practice:
Instead of just wishing you were getting better, you will have the tools to intentionally become better.
Below we’ve included your very own Daily Vocal Workout Plan.
This is the beginner’s cheat sheet to use every day, to simply and confidently improve your singing voice.
We’ve even made it into a handy-dandy PDF so you and your cheat sheet never have to be apart (coming soon).
You know how when you start exercising, you start to crave it?
The same thing will happen with your voice. You’ll become addicted to being awesome and want more and MORE of it!
But we got your back.
We’ve included a few Bonus Exercises for those willing to go the extra mile.
Hey! Did You Warm Up Your Voice?
These vocal exercises should only be done after warming up your voice first.
Think about when you work out your body: stretch, then lift. It’s the same here. Warm up, then go about the business of being awesome.
For an easy, no-excuses warm up, check out our 5-Minute “Keeping it Real Warm Up Routine”.
And now, on to the workout plan!
You already know how to hum.
You’ve probably been doing this all your life, you just didn’t know how great it was for your voice.
It’s a gentle way to begin vocalizing. You can work your vocal range without putting a lot of pressure on your instrument.
Bonus: It serves as a great warm up when you’re in public, like standing in the hallway outside your audition.
You keep your lips together, your teeth apart, and make a sound.
Pick a note in the middle of your range. If you’re using a keyboard as guidance you could pick good ol’ Middle C.
“Hmm” a descending 5-step scale.
Not sure what I mean?
This means you’ll start at one note (middle C, for example), and “hmm” one note lower, 5 times.
Remember Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Da from The Sound of Music? In music speak that’s called a solfege.
It might be helpful to think that in this exercise, you’ll be “hmm-ing” Sol-Fa-Mi-Re-Do. You’re working towards the lower end of your range each time you “hmm”.
Repeat this exercise 3-5 times, moving your starting note a half-step down each time. This works the lower end of your range.
Go back up to your starting note, and repeat again, only this time you’ll be a half-step higher each time.
Once you’re comfortable with this, add an “ah” sound to your “hmm”, so it’s a two-syllable “hmm-ah”.
On the descending scale, you’ll “hmm” on the Sol, and transition to “ah” for the Fa-Mi-Re-Do.
This looks weirder in print than it sounds. Think of the word “Singing”.
You’re only saying the final sound in that word, “ng”. Try it a few times. It should sound pretty nasal-y. Go ahead and lean in to that nasal sound.
Hear that nasal sound? That tells you in an obvious way that you are bringing the voice forward. Practicing this will smooth the transition from chest to head voice.
Follow the same steps as above, only while making the sound “nng” instead of “hmm”.
When you are comfortable with “nng”, switch to the two-syllable “nng-ah”.
Again, sing through a descending 5-step scale, beginning with “nng” on the Sol, and moving to “ah” for the Fa-Mi-Re-Do.
It’s a good thing we just learned this million-dollar vocab word, because we are about to put it to more good use!
We are going to open up our range by singing through the whole scale.
No one likes to listen to an out of tune singer, right?
By practicing solfege, you train your ear to recognize correct pitches, and train your voice to sing them! You also strengthen your voice by working your range.
Begin on middle C, singing Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Da.
Sing back down the solfege: Da-Ti-La-Sol-Fa-Mi-Re-Do.
Do this slowly and carefully, listening to ensure you are hitting your pitches correctly.
If you have a piano, alternate singing along with the piano with singing acapella. This is great practice to learn how to be pitch-perfect without the aid of an instrument!
Feel free to strike a key from time to time to make sure you’re still on pitch.
Continue this exercise, starting at a higher pitch each time, stopping when you reach an uncomfortably high part of your range.
Begin at the lower end of your range, working all the way up to the highest point.
This will take more time, but you’ll get a great vocal workout and stretch your range in both directions.
About the piano:
Obviously, it’s helpful to have access to a piano/keyboard as you work to improve your singing. It lets you know you are on pitch, or if you’re starting your songs in the right key.
But if you don’t have one, don’t despair! These exercises will still be helpful if you “wing” it with just your voice.
If you would like the help of an instrument, you could always download a piano app, like these, to help you plink out notes as you practice.
An even easier option would be to ask your voice teacher to record scales for you, so you can practice your vocal exercises at home.
Of course, that’s only the beginning of how voice teachers can help you. Find out more here.
I Love to Sing
We know you love to sing, or you wouldn’t be here. So why not shout it from the rooftops?
It works your range as it contains an arpeggio.
Think of a chord broken up into little pieces: that’s an arpeggio.
The notes that make up a chord are sung individually, either ascending, descending, or randomly.
You’re also gonna try to do this exercise on one breath, so this will improve your breath support. Two birds, one stone.
You are going to sing “I love to sing”... with a big, goofy smile on your face.
Yes, the smile is mandatory, because it’s gonna give you a clear bright sound. Not because I like to think of gullible readers blindly trusting me and making goofy faces in their living rooms.
Starting low in your range, choose a chord and play the root, the octave, the 5th, the 3rd, and then the root again.
If you’re a beginner and that’s confusing, think of it this way:
Say you’re playing the C chord, you would play: middle C, the C of the next octave, G, E, and middle C again.
Now do this with your voice, like this:
I (Middle C)
Lo- (Higher C)
Sing! (Middle C)
Do this as many times as high or as low as you wish.
Remember to do it quickly and in one breath!
I’m willing to bet “I love to sing!” sounded nice and pretty.
Good thing, because things are about to get ugly (in a good way!) with these nasty nays!
This exercise improves cord closure: your vocal cords’ ability to close tightly and use air efficiently.
It also helps develop your mixed voice by squashing your chest and head voices together.
Doing your best Wicked Witch impression, say the word “Nay”. Feel that bratty, nasal-y sound? Make it as obnoxious as you can!
Now, you’re going to say that word up and down over a 5-tone scale.
In solfege, that would be: Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-Fa-Mi-Re-Do.
Start in the middle of your range, or middle C. When you’ve finished one round, go a half step up, and repeat until you reach the higher end of your range.
Go ahead and stretch your range, but stop if your voice starts to feel uncomfortable or fatigued.
Keep the Awesomeness Going
Wow, you just did a lot!
You warmed up your voice with gentle hmm’s, worked on pitch perfection, increased your breath control, and smoothed out your mixed voice.
You’re not such a newbie anymore, are you?
You’re probably feeling pretty awesome right now.
And who doesn’t want to keep feeling awesome?
That’s why we’ve got your back with even more bonus exercises when you download the Daily Vocal Workout Plan.
This guide is your personal cheat sheet to vocal exercises, so you can keep working on your awesomeness anytime, anywhere.
Take the Awesomeness Further
So, you’re doing these exercises every day and even downloaded the bonus exercises, but you’re craving more?
One thing to remember is that every good vocal routine comes with three parts:
- Warm up
- Vocal exercises
- Song study
“Song study” simply refers to: Learning songs for performance.
Making those songs performance ready. Make time for all three elements in your routine, and watch your singing go from “beginner” to “beautiful”.
Move Beyond “Beginner” with Online Singing Lessons
The second, and most important thing to consider, is bringing someone on board your team to help you.
You have a great set of beginning exercises here to start you on your journey. But once you master them, you’ll crave more.
A voice teacher is not only an expert on singing, they are an expert on helping you sound your best.
That means they have the expertise to teach you more advanced vocal exercises and techniques.
They have the expertise to make sure you’re doing these exercises in a safe way that won’t damage those golden pipes of yours.
And they even have the expertise to add more “colours” to your sound, making your voice more interesting to listen to.
There’s really no end to what you can do when you bring an expert on your team. And thanks to the internet, you can enjoy your voice teacher’s expertise from the comfort of your home. Find out more about our top recommendations here.
Well, I’d Say You Have a Plan, Don’t You?
You now have 5 easy, highly beneficial vocal exercises to build up your vocal strength and improve your range.
You can even up the challenge by taking on the bonus exercises in the Daily Vocal Workout Plan!
You also know how to go from “pretty good” to “perfect” even faster:
Make time for a solid three-part vocal routine.
Consider bringing an expert on board to open your voice up to endless possibilities.
Once you’ve put this plan into action, you will learn:
The right kind of practice really does make perfect.
Bonus Exercises: Building a Better Breath
Your breath is literally the power behind your instrument, so it’s important to learn how to build a better one.
These two exercises will increase your breath capacity, and improve your breath control. You’ll be able to sing for longer stretches, with more power.
We’ve talked about how yoga is great for singers, and here is one more reason:
This exercise, sometimes taught in yoga classes, increases your lung capacity by gradually increasing the breath.
Bonus: it’s also extremely calming! Keep this exercise in your back pocket for anytime you need to add a little clarity and calm to your day.
To take a powerful breath, you want to make sure you have little-to-no tension in the body.
Think of areas of tension as little walls the air has to fight through. You want to provide easy access to the breath. Try our 5 Minute Keeping It Real Warm Up for easy ways to release tension.
Now, close your eyes:
Inhale through your nose, filling up about 25% of your lung capacity. Hold for a few seconds, without releasing the breath.
Without releasing the breath, inhale again, filling up about 50%, then hold without releasing.
Again, inhale through the nose until you’ve reached about 75% of your lung capacity, and again hold for a few seconds.
Finally, inhale through the nose until you’ve reach what feels like 100%. Hold for a few more seconds.
Now, release the air in a slow steady stream. Don’t blow it all out in one fell swoop. Make this as controlled as your inhale.
Don’t worry if you can’t do the whole sequence at first. Most of us take very shallow breaths in our daily lives, and your body may not be used to these good breaths.
Just be patient, remain calm, and continue to practice until you can build up to 100%.
Take this further:
Keep the tension at bay by imagining your entire body relaxing as you hold your breath.
As you are holding your breath, imagine a wave of relaxation flowing over your body.
Beginning in the face, move down to your throat and shoulders, over your arms and back, before swooshing down your legs.
Relax each part of your body as your mental wave passes over them.
Sing Your Way to Better Breath
The fun thing about this exercise is you get to do it while singing a song!
I know after all those technical exercises, it can feel refreshing to sing words.
You know that feeling when you’re singing along to your favorite song, but you can’t keep up with the lyrics because you have to take a breath?
You’re simultaneously annoyed that you couldn’t sing it all, and in the back of your mind you’re wondering: how do they do that?
How can they sing all those words, or hold those long notes, without taking a breath?
Well, my friend, it’s because professional singers have built up their breath control, and you can too.
You can either do this with a song you’re working on for performance, or you can choose a song you know very well.
For my example, I’ll use the song Amazing Grace.
First, sing the first two lines of your song, paying attention to where you take your first breath.
So, I would sing:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
Imagine I took my first breath after Amazing Grace. Where did you take your first breath?
Now sing those first two lines again, paying attention to a) where you take your first breath and b) what your body is doing when you take a breath.
Is your breathing shallow?
Are you feeling it mostly in your shoulders or chest?
Are you feeling any tightness in your body?
These are all signs you’re not taking your most powerful breath.
What does a powerful breath feel like?
Place your hands on your lower belly, under your belly button. Imagine the air traveling here first, when you take a breath.
You have so much room in your body to fill up with breath: not just your chest!
You should feel the breath in your belly, your ribs, and your sides. Try placing a hand on these different parts of your body as you breathe to feel them filling up.
Important: there’s a difference between letting your body fill up with air and forcing your ribs out while sucking in air.
It will take practice, but it’s worth it to take the time to learn. Remember, breath is literally the power behind your singing, so this is not wasted time.
Once you’ve practiced your breathing, try singing the first two lines again. Pay attention to where you stop this time.
So, this time I stopped at:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
Hurray, I’m improving! Where did you stop this time?
Take this further:
Once you’re comfortable with this concept, take a song you’re working on and mark out where you want to take a breath.
Consider where a breath makes logical sense both lyrically and musically. Then do this exercise until you take your breaths where you want to take them, not where you need to.