• Rob Marley

Silly Vocal Warm Ups That Work

If you're a regular reader of my stuff, you know that I've already given you a great technique to warm up the vocal cords that also improves your cold reading skills. Here's a few ideas that don't require you to purchase anything that work just as well.

Just be warned that vocal warm ups can be a rather ridiculous looking thing:

Now I wouldn't go so far as to scream at the top of my lungs like a woman, as I'm pretty sure that this is a perfect way to destroy your voice, but what Mr. Burgundy here is doing in the beginning of this clip is actually a common way to warm up the articulators - the muscles that allow you to shape words with your mouth - to help with enunciation.

As silly as it sounds, a sentence that employs certain words that require the mouth to flex and stretch can be a great way to prepare for a day of VO work.

Here are the ones I like to use:

"The Promiscuous neanderthal thwarted the optical illusion."

"The quacking brachiosaurus was frugal in the brokerage."

Each of these requires you to open and stretch your mouth, and if you concentrate on pronouncing the words slowly and deliberately, you will have an easier time pronouncing words in your VO copy.

Of course, you could also just use some tongue twisters.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

If you stick a stock of liquor in your locker

It is quick to stick a lock upon your stock

Or some joker who is quicker's

Going to trick you of your liquor

If you fail to lock your liquor with a lock

And one of the ones that I like is the classic "What a to-do..." lyric:

What a to-do to die today, at a minute or two to two;

a thing distinctly hard to say, but harder still to do.

We'll beat a tattoo, at twenty to two

a rat-tat-tat- tat-tat-tat- tat-tat-tattoo

and the dragon will come when he hears the drum

at a minute or two to two today, at a minute or two to two.

Some extensive searching found that this classic vocal warm up comes from the comic opera "Merrie England" by composer Edward German. A lot of people use this one as a warm up and dont know this. So now you can be "that guy" and explain it to them. You'll be the life of the party. Trust me.

And then there's "The Announcer's Test" which I've talked about in a previous post. A bit of a long, drawn-out vocalization, but a great one to warm up the mouth.

Whatever technique, tongue twister or silly sentence you use, the end result is the same: the vocal cords get warmed up and the mouth articulators get loosened.

The final step is to make sure you drink plenty of water to eliminate any errant mouth noises while recording. Drink at least one glass of water before you even start and then keep sipping water throughout your day to maintain proper hydration.

Happy vocalizing!


About Rob Marley -

A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, coach, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas.