Ask Aureus • Vocal • Voice
How to Build Up Your Vocal Stamina
Singing may be all rainbows and unicorns when you are just jamming to a couple of your favourite pop tunes with some friends. However, if you are a vocal student working through more demanding pieces, or preparing for performances, you may find yourself losing steam halfway. How can you sing stronger for longer without tiring out your vocal cords? Here are some tips on how you can improve your vocal stamina and sing more effortlessly!
Consistency is key when it comes to vocal practice! Practising longer or more intensely does not necessarily produce better results and can strain your vocal muscles. Instead, you should focus on conditioning yourself physically to take up longer practice sessions over time. Start with shorter sessions of about 15-20 minutes 3 times a week, and increase the duration and frequency of your practice gradually after every few weeks. Always remember that building vocal stamina does not have a one-off solution, but rather requires long-term effort
Don’t Skip Your Warm Ups
You may be tempted to dive right into singing entire songs the moment you get to practising, because that’s the fun part right? However, just like an athlete stretching before a marathon, warm ups are equally important for improving vocal stamina and singing healthily in the long run. You should never skimp on that 5-10 minutes of prep work that can do wonders! Warm up exercises help to stretch your vocal cords and clear your throat, making sure that your muscles are ready to conquer any note or song.
Start off every singing session with simple deep breathing exercises using your diaphragm
. You can then move on to some common warm up exercises like singing upward and downward scales to expand your vocal cords and improve your tuning. Hums and lip or tongue trills are also a great way to practise controlled breathing and relax your muscles.
By reminding your body of the proper techniques and loosening up your muscles with these warm ups, you will be less likely to injure or overexert your vocal cords during a practice or performance.
Do Your Stretches
Besides having relaxed laryngeal muscles, removing tension in your body can also help to make your singing feel more effortless. It is one of those seemingly inconsequential things that can really change your singing. Some areas you can focus on relieving tension in are your shoulders and neck. Stretch out your muscles in these areas by rolling your shoulders forward and backward, and turning your head gently in all directions. You can also do some full body stretches by standing on your tippy toes with your arms lifted, or bending forward to touch your toes.
Prolonged usage of your voice can cause your vocal folds to swell. A sign of this would be finding it hard to sing quietly, sing in your head voice, or sustain mid-range notes without your voice cracking. Always be on the lookout for possible signs of vocal fatigue and make sure to take frequent breaks between practice. Just like any other part of your body, your vocal cords need time to rest and recover after long periods of singing. Learn how to gauge your vocal limits over time and never push yourself to sing beyond those limits.
As it goes, all forms of music learning require patience and determination. It takes time to build up your vocal stamina, so be kind to yourself and your instrument – in this case your body!
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Xin Min is a content writer at Aureus Group with a passion for all things related to music and the arts. Being in touch with music from a young age, she has grown to enjoy a wide range of musical genres from classical to jazz and musical theatre, and hopes to share the endless charms of music through her writing. When she is not busy typing away in front of a screen, she can be found running her fingers across her piano keys.