How To Warm Up Your Vocal Chords

By: Erika Didio

What you will need:

  • Yourself
  • Water
  • (optional) piano or keyboard


  1. The first step to warming up your vocal chords is knowing why you are doing it. Along with any other physical sport activity, singing requires warming up and streching of the muscles to avoid injury, strained muscles, or damaged vocal chords.
  2. Next, chose from any of the thousands of vocal excercies/ warmups you wish to do. The typical amount of time spent on warm up is 10-15 minutes a day. You can also choose to switch up the "workout" depending on which skill you wish to aquire. Included below is a short video on how the basic 4 note warm up is run.
  3. Choose a starting pitch/ note to know where to begin on the musical scale. For most men, they sing lower than females so their starting pitch would be on the lower side of notes whereas females typically sing higher notes than men.
  4. Using your diaphragm (the muscle located by your bellybutton) sing along to the vocal warm up in the second video (men can sing those notes or lower)
  5. Repeat the excercise, but sing it either a half step higher or a half step lower each time. (It all depends on what you are training for. If you prefer to work on you upper register with high notes, then work your way up. The same applies to the lower notes)
  6. Keep in mind that everyone's voice is different and that the amount of notes you can hit whether it be high or low is different for each person's vocal range.
  7. Don't strain your voice trying to hit a certain note. Developing a new skill or note takes time and work. Vocal excercises are great for building up a well varied range.
  8. Stop singing and take a break if you feel strain or tension within your throat. An uncomfortable feeling might occur the first time you try to warm up and your throat might feel like you "worked out" after you finish vocal excercises. That is completely normal but stop singing right away if you feel a slight pinch or pain.
  9. Make sure that when you are breathing, you don't lift your shoulders as this restricts the breathing and can make your voice come out sounding weak and airy. Breathe from you diaphragm (stomach).
  10. Have Fun! Singing shouldn't feel like a burden. It's a great way to relax and to enjoy your time.

A Few Tips/ Intro Video

Intro to warming up your voice

When warming up your voice, you can choose from hundreds of vocal excercises. One of the most common is the 4 note one that can be played in any key and any note depending on a person's specific vocal range. Everyone's voice is different!

c and d warm up

Above is a simple four note warm up that can be sung in any note by anyone. Make sure that each time you sing, it you go a half step higher or lower each time to strengthen your vocal range.

Best Liquids To Try:

Whether you have a sore throat or just want to relax your throat muscles, here are some great home rememdies to try!
  • Hot herbal tea (preferably camomelle and spearmint) with honey
  • Gargel with warm salt water
  • 1/2 a cup of water mixed with a 1/2 cup of apple juice (the water tones down the acidity and sugar in the apple juice whereas the juice keeps your voice from drying out)