Last night, I had some new thoughts on warming up the voice. I had always been suspicious about actually having to warm up the voice after I read what Joan Sutherland did on the day of performances. She would only check her middle register and not sing any high notes until she was on stage! That's freaky to hear especially since we're taught to warm up until we get to her high notes. Granted, she was a professional who already knew how to use her voice. BUT!!! If she didn't need to warm up, then does anyone?
Upon waking, we do have that groggy, "morning" voice. For me, I can speak "normally" if I just do a quick slide. But how long does it take for my voice to be ready to sing?
On days when I wake up no longer sleepy, I have all the notes in my range except the extreme high notes. My breath support and phrasing aren't there. This takes a bit longer to get. Typically, approximately 3 hours after waking up, I can usually be performance ready. Hormones suck though because on some days I can't sing until afternoon and such.
But why is there this delay? Is there any way I can overcome this? If Joan Sutherland doesn't need to warm up to sing high notes, then what's the secret?
I taught a student a few weeks ago who woke up only an hour before her lesson. Nothing was working to her expectations. I did the normal physical exercises while singing to help the breath go: jumping jacks, planks, wall sits, etc.
Once her voice was functioning to her liking, I asked "So how much of warming up was actually the voice, and how much was your support?" There was my answer! And simultaneously the question for all of you! My student said that on a scale of 1-10, it was 7 warming up her voice and 3 warming up her support muscles.
Whenever I need to sing loud or sing a long phrase, my support muscles really need to activate in order for me to sing to my liking. I can typically sing A4 full voice no problem minutes after waking. So for me, my voice doesn't need to wake up, my SUPPORT needs to wake up!!!
These are big muscles compared to the vocal folds! You wouldn't do laborious, physical exercise without stretching and warming up, and so the support needs that same time!
Anyone without dysphonia can wake up and start talking without warming up!!!
YOUR VOICE DOES NOT NEED TO WARM UP! Your support muscles need to warm up!
Many people expect their voice teachers to be both without realizing this is not always the case. A GREAT instinct is to find someone who can sing in the style you wish to sing as well. These people know which sounds, vocal effects, etc. are best for the style. However, this does not qualify someone as a vocal technician. The teacher may be great at utilizing his/her voice, but (s)he does not know the ins and outs of proper voice function.
I had a student once who studied with me until she went to college. She and her mom told me that after lessons with her previous teacher, she could not sing or speak! That is HORRIBLE teaching! "Sing like me" is not enough for most people! My student said she basically just screamed in her lessons until she couldn't sing anymore! She didn't know better; she just did what her teacher told her to do! She made the sounds but not healthily! Why did she do this? Because her teacher was an amazing singer for the style! After our first lessons together, she left with the biggest smile on her face because her voice didn't hurt, and I helped her progress in her talent!
Vocal technicians are those who have studied voice to the point of easily identifying vocal faults and helping you solve any/all problems that arise while you sing. Again, they are not guaranteed to simultaneously be a coach for your particular style! As great as they can be at working with you, they may not always know how to help you with your style of music!
The best teachers are those who can be both for you! Mostly because of less time and money since you don't have to travel between two people.