How Can I Do a Vocal Warmup in Public Without Looking Crazy? A Vocal Coach Answers

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Q: I’m having a lot of trouble finding a vocal warm-up I’m comfortable doing in public before an audition. I feel like such a weirdo doing vocal warm-ups on the crowded sidewalk or subway, but there’s really no other place to prep before an audition. —@ProfessorMcGonagall, Backstage Community Forum

Don’t wait to warm up right before your audition. As you point out, there’s never a good space where you can actually let go and warm up freely and completely, so you end up holding back, feeling self-conscious, rushed, and frazzled, and then take all that into the audition with you.

Luckily, there’s a really easy solution: Whether it’s a singing or a speech warm-up, I suggest doing a robust 30- to 60-minute warm-up and practice earlier in the day, when you’re home or somewhere you’re comfortable. You’ll be able to relax, concentrate on your technique, and bring present-moment mindfulness to your craft, which is just as essential in readying yourself for an audition as warming up your actual voice.

Doing a warm-up this way—even if it’s several hours in advance of your audition—will help the voice maintain a level of “warmed up” so that with a few lip trills and sirens up and down the expanse of your range right before the audition, you will feel back to being completely warmed up, in good voice, and ready to go.

A word for those of you singers who don’t have a living situation conducive to warming up or practicing at home: Take a look around your immediate neighborhood for the closest church. Nearly every church has a choir room that sits empty most of the time. Approach the church administrator or pastor, be super friendly, say that you’re a neighbor and love the sense of community their church brings to the neighborhood. Explain that you’re a singer and ask if it would be OK for you to warm up or practice in their choir room from time to time if it’s not being used, since you’re not able to practice in your apartment. If you are willing to join their community or volunteer for them in exchange, even better! Suggest that as a swap.

There’s always a solution!

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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.



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Arden Kaywin
Arden Kaywin is voice teacher, vocal coach, and vocal producer in Los Angeles with over 10 years experience working with developing singers and nearly 20 years as a professional singer herself. She holds a master’s degree in music and vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music in NYC, where she studied classical voice and opera.
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