Scales and Vocal Exercises

Scales and vocal exercises

Singing exercises will improve the strength, flexibility and stamina of your vocal cords.  We have included a few exercises here that will help you learn to sing, but they don’t replace advice from your own vocal coach/singing teacher/choir leader if you have one.

You should always gently warm-up your voice before embarking on the more harder scales.

We have listed our singing exercises below starting with  our warm up exercise first,  followed by our range of vocal exercises.

Our exercises have been set out in keys suitable for High Voice, Middle Voice and Low Voice.

Basically High Voice is for Soprano and Tenor ranges,

Middle Voice is for Mezzo or Baritone ranges,

Low Voice is for Alto’s and Bass ranges.

If you don’t know what voice range you are, try the middle voice first to see if it’s ok for you, or if the range is too high or too low.  Also see our guide on how to find your vocal range to help you further.   Find Out More About Your Vocal Range

To get the benefits of training your voice, you need to be doing these exercises on a daily basis.  Either bookmark this page to keep coming back or subscribe to our Youtube channel.

About vocal exercises

When we learn to sing, we use a combination of consonant and vowel sound . These sound combinations along with different scales can have different effects on your voice, it’s tone and resonance.

The main vowels sounds in singing are:

Ah as in Apple

Eh as in Air

Ay as in Sky

Oh as in Orange

Ee as in Bee

Oo as in Room

Consonants

Consonants can be hard or soft sounding.    Soft consonant sounds examples are: F, L, M W.  Hard consonant sounds examples are G, H, T and Y.

Combining consonant sounds with our vowels sounds can help improve your singing, by moving the position of your mouth, tongue, larynx and soft palate.   For example the ‘L‘ consonant, mixed with the Ah sound – giving us La La La La La … is using the tongue muscle as well as your vocal cord muscles.   It’s a good consonant / vowel combination to start learning with because the tongue takes some of the weight off the vocal cords (folds).

When you first start training your voice, your vocal cords (folds) will tire easily.  Listen to your body (and your voice) and if your voice starts feeling husky or croaky or dry, then rest up and come back to it again tomorrow.  You will find the more practice on a daily basis, your voice become stronger and won’t creak and croak as quickly.  Take your time.  It takes years to train your voice, so please don’t expect results overnight.

Also, Of Note

We have put some consonant/vowel combinations suggestions for you to try on the video.   We have mainly used La la la… as it’s effective combination for the beginner.   However, as you get more proficient at the scales, or perhaps you have been suggested something to work on by your singing teacher, you can use different consonant/vowel combination instead of what we suggest on the video.

Remember you must practice on a regular basis to get the best from the exercises.

Vocal Warm-up

We take you through a series of singing exercises that will warm up your voice in just a few minutes. Our video guide is easy to follow and these exercises if done on a daily basis will also help strengthen, increase the flexibility and range of your voice too.

The first half of the video has the warm-up exercises along with some explanations and examples to help you along.  When you are more confident in what you are doing, then click over the chapters on the video to find the exercises without the explanations, allowing for a quicker warm-up.

The aim of a vocal warm up is to start gently.  You only need to sing these exercises quietly and not in full voice (loudly)

 

Vocal Exercises

The following are Vocal Exercises to help improve your voice.  There are video’s with instructions on them, along with a description of what the exercise will help you achieve.  Different exercises will do different things with the voice.  For example: increasing your range, improving your tone, smoothing your break.  Some of these exercises have appeared within our Vocal Warm Up Video’s, and you may wish to skip these if you have already done them.

 

Breathing To Music (All Voice Ranges)

Use our short breathing exercise set to music as part of your vocal warm-up. Also great to ground yourself for a few moments of mindfulness. Simply breath in gently, in time with the music over 8 counts and breath out in time with the music over 8 counts. Try to inhale over the 8 counts, rather than a quick intake of air and then hold your breath before exhaling.

 

Simple 5th (for High Voice, Middle Voice and Low Voice)

Good for warming up your voice and beginners.

This vocal exercise uses the first five notes of a major scale. It goes up and down twice before a semitone key change. This exercise helps to warm up your voice and is an easy scale to try for beginners. This exercise uses the consonant L combined with the vowel sounds eg: la la la. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (2 times before the key change – as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can). It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better at it you become.

Octave Scale (for High Voice, Middle Voice and Low Voice)

Good for warming up the voice, increasing your range and agility

This Octave Exercise runs up and down the octave scale, twice through before a semitone key change.

This exercise is an easy exercise for warming up your voice. Our video uses the consonant L combined with the vowel sounds eg: la la la. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (2 times before the key change – as written in the picture example) in one breath. It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better at it you become.


Chromatic Scale -1 octave (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for warming up your voice, and working on your tone 

A chromatic scale is where you sing all the notes within a scale (including all the in between notes). This scale runs up and down the scale before a semitone key change. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern ( as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can).It is very easy to try to slide into the next note. Try if you can to be as accurate as possible. It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better at it you become.

 

Moving 3rds (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for warming up the voice, strengthening the voice and increasing your agility

This Moving Thirds exercise works in intervals of a third, over a small range in a pattern of 3 times before a key change.

This exercise is good for working your voice. Our video uses the consonant L combined with the vowel sounds eg: la la la. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (3 times before the key change – as written in the picture example) in one breath. It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better you become.

Your tongue is taking up a lot of the strain of the exercise when we la la la…. After a few goes, we suggest you take the tongue action away and try the exercise on the vowel sound. You will feel the shift of the exercise onto your vocal cords. This may feel strange at first, and tiring on your voice. If so, take a break and come back to it another day.

Arpeggio Scale (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for extending your range and working through your head and chest voice registers.

An Arpeggio Scale on the interval sequence –1, 5, 3, 8, 5, 3, 1, 5, 3, 8, 5, 3, 1 before a semitone increase. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern ( as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can). It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better at it you become. We suggest you use the combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la to begin with and later in the exercise just sing the piece on the vowel sound.

 

Arpeggio Scale No 2 (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for working your lower register and chest voice

An arpeggio scale in the interval pattern of 8,5,3,1,3,5,8 (repeated) before a semitone decrease, working down the scale. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern ( as written in the picture example) in one breath. It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice, the better at it you become.

We suggest you use the combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la. Your tongue is taking up a lot of the strain of the exercise when we la la la…. and we change the vowel sound through the exercise. If you struggle to ground your chest voice as you go down the scale, you may wish to use a harder sounding consonant such as G (as in garage) or Y (as in yacht).

 

Arpeggio Scale No 3 (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for extending your range and working through your head and chest voice registers.

This Arpeggio Scale works up the scale in a interval pattern of 1,3,5,8,5,3,1 repeated before a semitone increase. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can). It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice, the better at it you become. We suggest you use the combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la. Your tongue is taking up a lot of the strain of the exercise when we la la la…. and we change the vowel sound through the exercise.

 

Rollback Exercise (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for increasing your range and agility of your voice

This Rollback Scale works up and down the scale in a pattern of 3rds, followed by a semitone increase. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (as written in the picture example) taking a breath at the top of the scale, before coming down. We suggest you use the combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la. Your tongue is taking up a lot of the strain of the exercise when we la la la…. and we change the vowel sound through the exercise. As you get more proficient at the scales, or maybe you have been asked to practice something particular by your voice teacher, you can use different consonant/vowel combination to the scale instead.

 

Increasing Intervals (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for increasing your range and agility. This exercise helps work through your break and helps connect your chest and head voice.

This Increasing Intervals Singing Exercise uses the notes of a major scale.   It uses the base note of the scale to take you up the steps of the scale.  When you reach the top, it uses the high note to bring you down the steps of the scale.  The exercise is repeated twice through before a semitone key change.

The object of the exercise is to stretch the interval breaks between the low and high notes. Make sure when coming down the scale you are accurately singing the bigger intervals near the end of the scale and that it’s not sounding like the tune (The sun has got his hat on)… “And he’s coming out for tea”. It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better you become at it. Further into the exercise we add a few consonant/vowel combinations to get your mouth moving.

Extending Your Range (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for extending your range and working through your head and chest voice registers.

A combination scale of the simple 5th and the octave scale. You start in the middle of the scale and move down the scale, before moving up to the top of the scale before coming back down to the bottom. It’s a little more tricky that the two scales individually. We have combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern ( as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can). It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice the better at it you become.

 

11th Scale (for High, Middle and Low Voice Ranges)

Good for extending your range and working through your head and chest voice registers.

This 11th Scale works up the scale in a pattern to an interval of an 11th and back down again before a semitone increase. Try, if you can, to do the scale pattern (as written in the picture example) in one breath (if you can). It’s tricky at first, but the more you practice, the better at it you become. We suggest you use the combined the consonant L combined with a vowel sounds eg: la la la. Your tongue is taking up a lot of the strain of the exercise when we la la la…. and we change the vowel sound through the exercise.

 

As you progress with these exercises, start swapping the consonant/vowel sounds  eg:

 

Woah, War, Why, Weh, Wee, Woo or

Mah, Maw, My, Meh, Mee, Moo etc.

Tar, Tear, Toe, Tie, Tee, Too

Gah, Geh, Go, Guy, Gee, Goo

Yah, Yeah, Yay, Yaw, Yee, Yoo etc

Try them on just the vowel sounds too:

Ah, Eh, AyeOh, Ee, Oo

Feel where these sounds are being formed and where they resonate within your head,  the effect they have on your mouth shape, the placement of your tongue, are some sounds easier than others. They all have an effect on your voice and your sound.  Ultimately these exercises will tone and strengthen your voice, they will increase your range and the flexibility of your voice.   The consonant/vowel combinations you’re working on will also have an effect on the placement of your sound, which goes on to help improve the tone and resonance of voice, allowing you to sound better too.

We hope you enjoy our exercise video’s. Please keep coming back for more updates or subscribe to our YouTube channel for all our latest release.

Please see our other classical singing methods and exercises such as Lutgen, Vaccai, Concone, Marchesi, Panofka etc

Vocal Exercises



Comments are closed.