Vocal Exercises

I made a push to record some material in the fall of 2015 and post it up. Even at the time I knew my vocals were lacking (and there is still work to be done). I attempted to get some gigs going off the material I posted, knowing that my vocals were not perfect. After talking to a few venues, they appreciated my guitar playing, but the lack of quality in my vocals was a set back. I tend not to take these sorts of things personally, especially when I knew that they were not great in the first place.

At this point, I decided that it was time to just suck it up, and take some vocal lessons, which I have found have helped quite a lot. I ended up doing an open mic a couple of weeks ago, and while my vocals were not incredible, they were a lot more in tune, and sounded a lot better.

This post really isn't about what my voice sounds like now, I've always considered myself an instrument kind of guy over a vocalist, and if anything I'm a guitar player that happens to sing. This post is to share some of the vocal exercises I use to help with warming up my voice, and getting it a little bit better every day.

The three exercises I have been doing are "Chromatic Scales", "Chords in Eb Minor", and "Major Scales".

The "Chromatic Scales" are a pretty simple warm up, but I do kind of jump around in the starting notes. Since I normally tune my guitar a half step down, all my scales reflect that and that's why they're all flat. The scales I go through, in order, are: Eb, Gb, Ab, Db, and Cb. I chose those scales because those root notes come up a lot.

The "Chords in Eb Minor" goes through all the chords going up and down in Eb minor. All the chords should play the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th. This is an exercise that really helps me get the right intervals in my head, which comes in handy when a vocal line starts on the 3rd or the 5th, rather than the 1st. This is probably my favorite vocal exercise.

The "Major Scales" exercise is the one I've been doing the longest. It takes a couple minutes to get through, but that really helps warm up my voice. Until the other two exercises, there isn't explicit breathing points throughout the scales, so you end up having to make your own. When going up, I tend to go up in each scale, finding a breathing point somewhere when I'm coming down the scale; when I'm going down, I tend to go down in each scale, finding a breathing point somewhere during the up swing.

There are three exercises I do to help improve my voice and warm it up, which have been helping a lot. Outside of that, I do bounce songs without vocals, and practice to those. Depending on the track, I'll also slow it down so I can really focus on the notes I'm singing, and then I speed it up.
I tend to do a lot of practicing of my vocals in my car, mainly coming home from work. It's a good distraction from any traffic congestion, and it's time that I otherwise would be wasting.

I hope these exercises help anyone else that is working on their voice!