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What do you do when asked to sing on the spot?

bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
edited August 2017 in Off Topic
Hi everybody,

Imagine you are with friends, family, or you significant other, or whatever. There might be a guitar or piano too.
Someone knows you are a singer, or at least do a lot of practice, and asks you to sing something.
What goes, or would go, through your mind in that moment? After all, you did not have any time to warm up, but you do know several, or a lot of songs.

Would you walk out for half an hour and warm up? Would you tell them you sing so much better after warmup? Or can you guys sing just as good without a proper warmup? I need a good warm up to sing at my best, i just sing 'clearer' and easier with at least a 30-35 minute warmup. I would combine some chest and bridging for 15-20 minutes i think, and then full stretch chest all the way into head voice for 15 minutes too, and working the mid-voice.

I have never been in this situation, but i would not like to be. I sing so much better with a warmup! I have much easier access to my entire range this way, and it kind of clears the throat too.
Do you guys also really NEED that warmup to sing at your best? Or could you make do?

Looking forward to the responses!



  • To sound my best, yes I need to warm up first, and as bad as I am, I need all the warming up I can get. ha ha

    I would ask for a few minutes if I were put on the spot. One, to do some type of warming up (humming scales if necessary), and also to get mentally prepared for it, but usually I'll know in advance if I will be entertaining my friends, and family so I just warm up on the way over, but lately because I have been really singing, and training aggressively, I seem to always be warmed up.

    Peace, Tony
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Thanks for your response @videoace !

    Some lower volume scales also help me a lot getting warmed up, just basically doing bridging for a while. But doing some mid-voice work and a few chest stretches all the way into head voice just completely open up my voice.

    I guess in a venue you can just do your warm-up in a different room, or in your car outside. Anyone have experience with that?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,569Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I was in a situation like that last night. A friend had a party. I had brought a small, powered speaker and a wireless mic, because my friend was going to entertain the guests with a few songs. There was an outdoor dance floor under a big tent, with lights strung all round, and people were dancing to CD's. For whatever reason, the crowd was unresponsive to rock and roll or big band swing music, but they packed the dance floor for Country waltzes and slow dances.

    My friend did her act and it was fine.

    Then the CD's were put back on, and the dancing resumed. I was kind of singing along to myself. Then a song came on that I sing in the band I play in. A George Strait song called "You Look So Good In Love". I'm not a big ham, and I'm about the shyest person you'll ever meet. But this song came on that I know. The dance floor was packed. These people all know me, because they come see my band. I'm sitting there and the mic is right next to me. So I picked it up (I was already singing to myself) and switched it on. Everybody looked around, because the sound changed. The mic was more powerful than the recorded vocals, so suddenly it was my voice instead of George. It was a wireless mic, so I just strolled around and through the dance floor and sang the song to my friends. It wasn't a big deal. They just kind of appreciated that for a moment, there was a live vocal going on.

    I've never done anything like that before, and like I said, I'm shy. But it was fine. Of course, it could have been horrible, but it was fine. They accepted me spontaneously singing over a CD. It made it an enjoyable moment.

    I had warmed up accapella in the car earlier, just doing some agility exercises for my own enjoyment, but I didn't expect to actually sing to anyone that day. So I guess you can say that I HAD warmed up. But the way it happened, one moment I was just sitting there eating snack food, listening to music while people danced, and the next minute I had a mic in my hand, without even thinking about it, and was singing. I had that "Oh, my gosh, what am I doing?" thought for about half a second, and then I just got into singing the song and making it sound as good as I could. And it was fine.

    You can go from zero to sixty in just a few seconds, if the notion strikes you and the opportunity is there.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited August 2017
    Thanks for sharing @highmtn !
    I guess when you HAVE to, you will make do and it probably will work out just fine.
    Doesn't seem you have anything to be shy about with such great singing ability!

    But i do wonder, are you able to sing just as comfortably without a 30-40 minute warmup after all these years of KTVA? I really love the warm up, it really frees up my voice and i can access my range and mix-voice much easier.

    All the best,

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,569Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I prefer to warm up. Otherwise, I am warming up before a live audience, so I'm not at optimum for the first song or two. Sometimes I don't get a chance to warm up. Then if the band wants me to do a harder song first-up, I'm warming up on the first note. That's not the best choice. We do a round-robin in our 3-piece band. So if I get to be third, I sing or even trill (off-mic) while doing the first two songs. That at least gets me a little time to get the slag off my cords.

    I always sing on the way to the gig. Usually lip burbles, a few tongue exercises, and then the basic Lah, with variations.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I too notice that a few bridging exercises and a few stretches really opens up the voice.
    I guess as you get better and better, you have more control over everything, but the warm up remains a really important factor for me.

    Liking the responses in this thread so far!
  • SalMolhadoSalMolhado Posts: 17Enrolled
    You can sing Dreamer Deceiver, its the easiest song I know
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,332Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I've had times where I had no choice but to go cold turkey...
    I just trust in the training that the notes will be there. As a precautionary, I usually go a little more reserved for the first bit, and kind of integrate subtle warm-up concepts while I sing, then I gradually increase the pizzazz. By the second song, I'm pretty much good to go.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @Furious_Phil Do you also start with an 'easier' song?
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 1,332Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Most definitely! No "Livin on a Prayer" with 3 modulations up for a first song :-p
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,218Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Just wanted to add to this topic i started a while ago:

    These days it seems i don't need as much warm-ups as i used to. It will probably be a technique thing too that has improved. It's still better with warm-ups, especially to make sure that i have full control of my upper range. Singing the 'gunk' of the cords with the warm-up is still precious for the best performance.

    All the best,

  • MoftemMoftem Posts: 113Enrolled

    Most definitely! No "Livin on a Prayer" with 3 modulations up for a first song :-p

    That would be a great way to start any gig. Woooow living on a prayer! WOOOW LIVING ON A PRAYER! WOOOOOOOW!!!! LIIIVING ON A PRAYER!!!!! :D

    I used to sing without much warmup, but nowadays I really wanna prepare my voice well if at all possible. I like to do the volume one exercises twice, with one time into headvoice and the second stretching chest. I do this as a preparation for going out busking, which I do on most days. But yeah, if someone wants me to sing on the spot with no warmup, I figure that they can´t expect me to sound my best. Just go with it and have fun.

    By the way, I hum to myself a lot as I go about my day, so I´m usually always a little warmed up. Anybody else get that?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,569Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Yep. Humming is very similar to doing the tongue exercise, only the tongue is inside the lips when you hum.
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