This is a public version of the members-only ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons.
Join Now

Vocal Lessons
«Prev of Next»

ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Exercise 11: Lip Trills

Lesson Video Exchanges () Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
ArtistWorks Vocal School

This video lesson is available only to members of
ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons. This is only a preview of what you get when you take ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Certainly, my saying get rid of
the tension is all well and good, but
how to do it is the important aspect of
the process.
The first way we're going to do it is by
actually limbering these muscles.
And, we're going, we're going to do that
by using what I call lip trills.
So, this is kind of a motor boat flapping
of your lips.
Some find it easier to do, you may find it
more difficult, maybe not.
I hope not.
So, but I'm gonna lead you through a few
steps that you can take
to discover how to do it.
Done the easiest way, which you may need,
you may need to build up to, is simply
[SOUND] It has to do with not shoving air
so hard,
cuz if you do [SOUND] it just blows them
If you've ever tried to make sound with a
blade of grass.
You put it, ya know, between thumbs, I was
never that good at it.
But, and you sort of blow in and
if you blow too hard, it won't vibrate and
you won't get any sound.
So, you have to find that balance of just
how much air or,
like if you're playing a flute or blowing
into a bottle.
You know, [SOUND].
If you blow too hard, no sound so,
you just find just the right balance of
air to whatever it is,
in this case your lips, and that starts
them flapping.
Now, sometimes doing this helps.
So, notice where I'm putting my fingers.
It's not up here.
It's not down here.
It's not out here.
Just right at the side of each lip.
And, you just find it where you need to
Just a little bit, not too much.
And, it puts a little bit more tension on
the lips.
[SOUND] If you can't do lip trills for any
length of time, just try little spurts.
[SOUND] And, find where to press.
[NOISE] If you dont need your fingers,
[NOISE] So again, if you're first figuring
out how to do it,
you do it little, little, little, then see
if you can do it longer.
[NOISE] We might go [NOISE].
That's too hard.
[NOISE] Think the middle,
not all the way.
That's too wide.
[NOISE] You can try this also.
Finger here.
Finger here.
Think in between the fingers.
[SOUND] [LAUGH] Gets kinda
silly after awhile.
Okay so, I'm going to now assume that you
can do lip trills.
If you can't, I want you to just practice
first the silent ones,
because moving forward with lip trills
would be very, very difficult.
Let me make that really plain.
If you're having difficulty with lip
trills silently, that means no voice,
[SOUND] then I just need you to practice
the silent ones, until you can do it.
And, it's not difficult.
At that point, you can move forward with
the next series of lip drills.
If you're ready to move forward now, let's
do the next step.
The next step is just using a single
It will be right around your speaking
voice range,
dont try to get it high or really low.
That's totally unnecessary.
So for example, [SOUND].
If you need or still need your fingers,
fine [SOUND], or here.
See that's pressing or [NOISE].
Now, if you use your voice too loudly, you
start feeling strain and
it will wear your voice out.
So, you start feeling hoarse.
We've got two areas to balance.
One is just the right amount of air
that'll cause your lips to flap and no
And then, what's your sound volume level?
It should be very low.
Really low, basically.
[SOUND] Not.
I don't really wanna do this cuz it could
mess up my voice.
But, that's too much, and
you'll find that it will lock up and your
lips will not trill, they'll stop.
So, that's another reason for the lips not
being able to flap like that.
One would be overflow of air.
The second would be too much volume.
[SOUND] That's what we're looking for.
Once you can do that and you can do it for
a while like this,
maybe you wanna do it with me.
We're gonna do it and we're gonna sustain
it for a little bit.
[NOISE] 'Kay, another breath.
[SOUND] This starts massaging
all kinds of muscles,
as well as limbering up those lips.
Next step.
We're gonna add melody.
In this case, the melody is going to be
like this.
it's not loud.
[SOUND] You can join in me, with me if you
want but I will be coaching you through
the exercise doing it this way.
[SOUND] So, I want you to hear how it
[SOUND] New breath.
[NOISE] Like little bird
is sitting in a tree.
[NOISE] Go easy,
don't shove the volume.
[NOISE] And, you want to let that
vibration go where it wants to go.
[NOISE] Most likely it will be right
around here.
[NOISE] Whoops,
let's do it again.
if you can't get this
high don't worry about it,
it gives you room to grow.
I'll do just a few more.
you can use your fingers if you need.
[LAUGH] I need two hands.
But I think you know what I mean.
Last one.
All right.
I'm gonna get you started with our
We're going to use
the melody that I just showed you.
[SOUND] And about midway, I'm gonna add a
So first, we do this [SOUND] with the
literal and then it'll be.
Let's get started.
[SOUND] Remember, easy on the volume.
[SOUND] Mm-hm, keep it going.
[SOUND] Don't overblow your lips, find the
[SOUND] You may not need to breathe in a
whole lot,
[SOUND] cuz you really aren't using that
much air [SOUND] with such a short melody.
Take a breath.
If you feel,
you need to just take a break.
[SOUND] Don't worry about it.
Let the piano continue [SOUND] and pick it
up wherever you're ready.
Keep the balance.
It doesn't matter that you're singing more
You don't need to push more air.
Maintain the balance and easy volume.
Do that one again.
Uh-huh, little
more, keep it going.
Yeah, let that vibration come here.
We're gonna do two
more of this melody.
And last.
Now we're going to switch the melodies.
[SOUND] Good.
Keep it going.
[SOUND] Keeping it focused here.
[SOUND] Use the fingers if you need to.
[SOUND] Uh-huh.
[SOUND] Yep, it's gonna lean a little
[SOUND] Mm-hm.
You don't have to blow more here, though.
Not too
much more.
Just bring it [SOUND] back to home base.
[SOUND] Easy volume.
Few more.
Yes, two more.
Here comes the last one.
This exercise can be done before you sing
a song and make a big difference.
Or you can employ this as a warmup
exercise prior to
any upcoming vocal exercises.