If you’ve done singing lessons before, you’ve probably done either bubbles (lip trills) or rolling R’s (tongue trills).
Do they help you to sing well?
According to research, this is one of the best warm-up exercises to do.
First, it helps the breathing mechanism to get up and running very quickly. All the muscles that we use for breathing are ‘woken up’ very quickly. These muscles include the core muscles, diaphragm and lungs.
We get to work on our breath management skills by balancing the breath pressure at the vocal folds and the lips/tongue.
When we go higher in pitch, we learn how to increase the breath pressure without going overboard. Otherwise, the lip/tongue trills would sound forced or we’d even lose it completely.
Warming Up Entire Range
The lip/tongue trills are usually done to a sirening sound (like a fire truck). This lets us warm up our entire range. Our vocal folds are stretched to their maximum length and then back to their shortest length.
Loosening Tongue and Jaw
Tongue trills help to loosen up the tongue and jaw. It is a great exercise for people who mumble or have tensed jaw/tongue. It also helps keep the larynx in a stable position when pronouncing vowels and consonants.
Working Entire Range
The best thing of all is that we are doing all of these without having to vocalize (sing) fully. This takes the workload off the folds because only a small part of them is vibrating.
How to Do Lip/Tongue Trills
You can do lip/tongue trills with no pitch, at a comfortable pitch or sirening up and down your range (watch video above).
Doing the lip/tongue trills helps to build the body-mind connection needed for singing. The voice is controlled by the brain. The brain sends signals to our larynx/various parts of our body and tells them what to do. When we establish the body-mind connection before we start singing songs, we have more control over our voice.