Torgeir Johannesen Hernes Critique – Ben’s 10-Minute Vocal Warmup

Hey ladies and germs, it’s Ben Valen here.

Torgeir sent in this critique asking specifically about the program I created a while ago, the 10-Minute Vocal Warmup.

Here is what Torgeir asked:

From Torgeir: New video from me.

It is about Ben’s warm up. I go through all the different opportunities (except those where you can choose between many variations. I just pick one as an example).

and my own additions to Ben’s list.

I can see I move my head/shoulders now and then. It is not something I have to do. I just try to slightly move my body and not get too stiff.

My (open) questions is: Am I doing them right? Shall I make some adjustments? Sorry for not shaving! (ha ha)

1. MMM’s
2. NNN’s
3. Yummm’s
4. Yawm’s
5. Yoam’s
6. NomNomNom
7. Lip bubbles
8.Vowel transitions -AW -E
9. Ball-Yen-Me-Yo-New-Aim
10. VeeZee’s
11. Lip trills
12. Word Transitions -Dee-voo-dee-voo-dee-voo
13. Voiceless consonants -Ko-Tu-Ko-Tu-Ko-Tu
14. Microbubbles
15. Chewbacca
16. Tongue
17. ZZZ`s
18. PocketVox

It’s Ben here again, here is my reply to Torgeir:

The first thing I noticed is that you were at a good volume, but what we really want here is a really tiny sound. We want to focus on as little air and effort as possible, and maximum resonance and duration of the notes (vocal efficiency).

The second thing I noticed (partly related to the first), is that in some cases you were taking a breath before the 7 circles. The exercises should be done a full 28 seconds before breathing, then breathe during the note change, and start the next 28 seconds. Bringing down the volume will help here.

Between 2:00 and 2:10, there were a few little “cracks” or “yodels” where the voice was uneven sliding up and down. Not a big deal, happens when doing any exercises. But when it does occur, try to clean it up right away.

Starting at 4:10, the “E” sound was a little airy. When you went to the Ball-Yen-Me-Yo-New-Aim exercise right after, the “Yen” also sounded like you were using too much air on the vowel. Although the very next exercise of Vee-Zee’s, you seemed to not use too much air.

I think you generally don’t overdo the air on most vowels. But on the “EE” and “e” sounds, you use a little too much air sometimes. Just stay aware of it!

At 6:18, you went to the Voiceless Consonants exercise, doing Ko-Tu-Ko-Tu. You did this VERY well. K and T are some of the most troublesome consonant sounds to use because they tend to require extra air and effort. In your case, you quickly went to the proper air use with the following vowels.

Overall, I have to say I’m quite impressed with how you did. You are and have been a serious student for quite a while, and it shows.

My advice for you going forward:

1. Consider trying the Key of D warmup track. It does go higher, but I think you’ll be able to do it no problem. Maybe a little getting used to it, and you’ll be good.

2. During your vocal workout, work on adding more power. Bring it all to full voice. You have the “break” point transition pretty smoothed out at this point, and overall you’re not overdoing the air. I can tell in this video you’re really not introducing excessive tension in the tongue, neck, jaw, or face. I think the next step from the vocal technique side is working more on full voice. That means more Transcending Tones and Sirens.

3. Work on vocal style! You have done really well building up your vocal technique. Of course you always want to improve your technique, but I think you need to allocate more of your practice session on songs.

Great work Torgeir!

NOTE to VVA students reading this: Notice how relaxed his face, jaw, and neck are the entire time. Notice how smoothly he slides from the low full voice to the upper falsetto sound. Notice how pure and non-airy the upper falsetto sounds. These are what you should emulate any time you are doing any of the warmups or exercises we teach.

– Ben Valen