To Warm Up Or Not To Warm Up - is that a question?

I have some singer friends, fabulous vocalists all, who don't warm up for a gig. I think that's amazing, but I also know that it doesn't work for me. In fact I hate singing when I'm not warmed up. This may be due to my allergy-infested and mucous-riddled upper respiratory tract, but it's also been like that since I started seriously working on my voice. To me it's a mental and physical opening and focusing, a letting go and tuning in. Releasing the wrong tensions and strengthening the right ones.
When I was on tour last September I played 13 shows in as many days in as many cities. The grind was grueling, to say the least, and culling a warm-up period out of our busy schedule became a matter of vocal survival to me. Four to six hours on the bus, lugging around and setting up a full PA each night (including those oh so handy sub-woofers), bad gas station food and unfamiliar sleeping quarters each night caused me a tremendous amount of neck and shoulder tension. I ended up putting in 30 minutes of yoga followed by 30 minutes of vocal warm-ups each night, starting with a very small sound, gradually working my way up to a more open, relaxed (tongue and jaw anybody?) body feeling.
So, singers: feel free to sound off! How do you get ready for a gig? What works for you, and what doesn't? Is putting on a pretty dress and make-up enough for you to get ready for a show? Comment away!!!
All the best
Elisabeth Lohninger


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