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How To Do a Vocal Cool Down

Woman cooling off with glass of water

A vocal cool down (sometimes called warming down) is as important as warming up!

After a performance, your voice is wide open and the muscles have all been charged with pumping blood and lots of extreme stretching. Like any athlete (and singers are athletes of the voice!), you will need to calm these muscles and allow them to relax before they ‘go home’.

A singer’s life is prolonged by years when they look after their vocal apparatus. Imagine a horn player who didn’t clean out their horn after the gig, or a violinist who didn’t wrap up their instrument and rosin their bow. Your voice is your instrument and so you need to take great care of it.

The cool down is so simple too!

1. Gentle head rolls

These will help reduce any undue tension that built up in a performance.

Avoid rolling the head too dramatically or throwing it backwards too far. Simply feel the neck bend gently all the way around times eight both ways.

2. Soft siren sounds on the ‘nnnh’ shape

Start as if you were going to say ‘now’ but only said the ‘n’). Slide up and down the range taking care to keep all the sounds soft.

You can run up and down your range, increasing the top and bottom ends until you have reached your limits (even gently squeaking these is fine).

Once you feel you have gently stretched these, you’ll be relaxed enough to stop.

3. A continuous frog like ‘creak’

Find this at the bottom of the voice – like when you were ten and pretending to be a zombie.

Hold for two or three minutes and take shallow breaths when required

After your vocal cool down, you will feel easy, warm and probably feel a glow around your entire body. Your voice should drop a little to a deeper register and you should have a sense of calm.

You can then wrap your scarf around your throat to protect you from chills and make your way home.

Early nights are vital for singers when they are touring or doing regular gigs. The best girls and guys I know whose careers have flourished are the ones who don’t hang around too late after the gig and avoid after show conversations at the bar!