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Lips Rolls, Tongue Trills And Mouth Sounds:
Warm-Ups Help Your Voice And Performance

By Rick Lance

Voice Actor

Warm-ups are incredibly important for professional athletes, dancers, and other professionals who are involved in physically strenuous activities.

Professional voice-over involves a lot of strain on your vocal cords. So warm-ups can help you prepare your voice for a flawless performance.


A seasoned voice narrator will usually perform warm-ups on two separate occasions: once in the morning, and often right before a live recording.

When we wake up in the morning, our voices are usually not at 100%. A short warm-up will help clear your throat and get you ready for the daily grind.

And live sessions are incredibly demanding situations where you need to put your best voice forward. This makes a quick warm-up immediately before a session well worth the effort. 


Lip rolls and trills are a popular exercise among professional singers. If your voice-over work involves a wide range and diverse vocal registers, these exercises will help you sharpen those.

To roll your lips, close your mouth and create a constant "B" sound. This will vibrate your lips, creating a trilling sound effect.

Tongue trills involve similar mechanics, but instead of the lips, you will be vibrating your tongue. To achieve this, keep your mouth comfortably open and try to create a "G" or "D" sound with your tongue pressed up against the roof of the mouth. When done correctly, the tip will vibrate, creating a trilling sound effect in the process.


 A typical warm-up for voice-over can last anywhere from five minutes to well over 20 minutes.

You can fill up all those minutes with a choice selection of sound exercises for your mouth. Some of these require you to keep your mouth closed, while others give best results when you keep your mouth open.

Remember to keep a constant pitch and move through your vocal range only gradually.   
  • "M" - works on the front part of your mouth, create sound with your mouth closed.
  • "N" - works similar to "M", but closer to the nose, keep your mouth closed when doing this sound.
  • "L" - works on the space close to your throat/back of the head, keep your mouth open with tongue pressed to the roof of mouth when doing this exercise.
  • "NG" - works on your nose and sinuses, keep your mouth closed for this one.
  • "Z" - works on the front part of your mouth, requires you to keep your mouth open but teeth clenched for best results.
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville's music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I'm lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville."



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