One of the very first exercises I do with a new student is sirening. It’s a great way to warm up your voice and start exercising, as well as a good way to me as a teacher find out a student’s basic range and diagnose problems.
Sirening is really simple. The safest way to try it is to make the sound “ng”, like the end of “ing”. You should be making a vocalised sound, but it’s mostly going through your nose rather than your mouth. Have a try! Take a nice deep breath (see my article on square breathing for tips on good breathing) and then sing the word “sing” and elongate the “ng” part at the end.
Next, sing onto the “ng” sound, and then drop the pitch down. Just relax and let it slide on down into your boots. You want the pitch to move just like the arrow to the right. I’ve recorded a clip of me doing this exercise below.
Once you’re happy, try going the other way and sliding up. You want a smooth slide up as high as you can go. Try to imagine you’re throwing your voice up to the sky. Click the recording below to hear me doing this version.
Finally, put it all together. This time, you’re aiming to go as high up as you can and then as low as you possibly can. You want to go up and down a couple of times in each breath, going further and further each time:
That’s why it’s called the siren. And if you’re in any doubt, listen to this clip of me sirening:
When you’re confident with the pattern, you can siren on different sounds. It works really well on “ah”.
I hope you’ve found this exercise fun and useful. For more help with exercises to help your singing, do look for a qualified teacher in your local area as they will be able to give you advice and training suited to your body and voice. If you’re based in the Edinburgh area, why not contact me?