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Magic Choral Trick #312 Bubbling – The Fast Warm Up

A terrific way to warm up a group really quickly – after they’ve done a few physical loosening up exercises. (I’ll post some of these later)

Also known as the Lip Roll, or the Lip Trill, Bubbling is one of the fastest ways of placing the voice in a relaxed, forward position.

A free, forward placement gives us the most clear, focused sound and prevents tension from building up in the throat. In fact, when the voice gets a bit tired or strained, this is a great way to remind the voice about where it feels most relaxed.

In addition to this, when everyone is using this same placement, blend and resonance are noticeably improved. More ‘ping’ in the sound, and for some strange reason it also helps to fix synchronization issues.

Bubbling scales, or for more fun – rounds like Row Row Row Your Boat, Frere Jacques and Three Blind Mice are a great way to warm up quickly and effectively. However, any song or exercise will do if the Bubbling is sustained for a few minutes.

When a phrase is lacklustre or messy I get my singers to Bubble/Lip Roll the phrase, all together, then 2 parts at a time.

Then when we go back to singing the words, the synchronization is miraculously cleaner, and the sound is clearer and more resonant.

Because written descriptions of this technique are sometimes not enough – here’s a youtube clip to demonstrate…

Magic Choral Trick #67 Lip Roll

Lip Rolls are a great way to work on smooth, legato lines and to improve breath control. Like the Zzzzzz, the Lip Roll also brings the vocal placement further forward.

A Lip Roll is just the horse lips type sound that we all make when we’re frustrated – especially if we’ve been working away on something for a long time, then stop to take a break.

When a vocal sound is added, it becomes the type of sound that little boys make when they’re playing with toy motorcycles or boats – and are imitating the noise of the engine.


It’s best if this is done in a lazy motorboat style, rather than something more aggressive like the little boys’ motorcycles.

During the warm up is a good time for this – but it’ll also help any song phrase that needs to sit better in the voice.

Sing the phrase.

Now sing it again to Brrrrrr.

When you sing the phrase again it should feel more comfortable in the voice, and the breath control will be better.

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