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Vocal performance tutorial 3 - Lip twisters by Tina & Ben Henderson

You’ve heard of tongue twisters, which make excellent warm up exercises for your tongue and mouth muscles before singing, but here are a few ‘lip twisters’ which should help to exercise your lips and all the surrounding muscles (called the embouchure). ‘R’, ‘M’ and ‘W’ require many of the muscles surounding the lips to be used. This first excercise will warm your mouth up to them all.

Exercise 1. The Guy Fawkes warm up:

Practice saying, “Remember when, remember november” as a warm up before singing.

Repeat ten times.

Exercise 2. The Hungry warm up:

Practice saying,“But please, please feed me very soon”

This gets your mouth used to producing the plosive consonants, the lower lip on the upper teeth in ‘F’ and ‘V’, and finishes off with a sibilant.

Exercise 3. Seashore saleswomen.

You probably know this one, as it is a tongue twister:

“She sells sea shells on the sea shore”

This prepares your mouth for differentiating between the sibilants, ‘S’ and ‘SH’

Exercise 4. Question time.

“Why? where? when? how? what? which? Who?”

Yes, it’s those lip muscles turn to get fit!

Try this an alternative way: pronounce the ‘H’ before the ‘W’ - it’s an old fashioned way of pronouncing the words, but requires an unusual production of consonants which has been mostly forgotten. You can do it with all but the words “How” and “Who”.

Exercise 5. Alphabet.

Try singing this to the tune of “Twinkle twinkle little star” in a different way:

“Abacus deaf goat igloo jockey

Lemon squeezy opera queen

Ravioli estephan

Ultra violet light rays too

Weary and excellent

Like a Yugoslavian zoo”

Total nonsense, yes, but the idea of it is that you are singing the letters as they are pronounced. (for instance, ‘double you’ doesn’t sound anything like ‘W’, does it?)

© Tina & Ben Henderson 2007

Vocal performance tutorial index

Tutorial 1 - Breathing

Tutorial 2 - Pitching notes

Tutorial 3 - Lip twisters

Tutorial 4 - Rib cage control

Tutorial 5 - The break

Tutorial 6 - Your head

Tutorial 7 - Volume production

Tutorial 8 - Vowel production