I Practiced Singing Lip Trills For 10 Years [Here’s What Happened]
I used to hate lip trills, “Damn Trills” was pretty much my mantra, and I was always disappointed any time I bought a new course or went to a new singing teacher and the first thing they wanted me to do was bloody LIP TRILLS. I just hated them!
That is, I hated them because I was bad at them. I didn’t really understand why people wanted me to practice a sound that I was bad at, that sounded crap, was annoying, and really had little to do with my actual singing voice; “but I’m never going to sing a trill in a song!”.
One thing that I failed to understand when I was learning to sing is that vocal exercises are useless – unless you understand why and how to do them, and you also understand how to apply what you’ve gained from the exercise when you sing an actual song.
Wanna know something that I’m a little embarassed of? I now absolutely LOVE lip trills, they are my all time FAVOURITE exercise.
That is, I love them because I’m a total boss at doing them now because I understand what they’re for, how to improve any issues with a lip trill and most of all, I know how to apply the connection, resonance, placement and support that you gain from a lip trill.
I practised trills for many years in the wrong way, basically as fast as I could and as high as I could – regardless of the big flip in the centre of my voice – and this was actually strengthening the separation in my registers. I blew tons of air, I lacked resonance, and most of all they were super inconsistent – until I was shown the right way to practice a lip trill.
It was so damn easy.
And it connected.
And it was FULL.
From this point of my first “correct” lip trill (actually, two trills – a standard lip bubble and a placement trill) I started to finally build the range and voice I had only been dreaming of over many years of useless singing lessons.
I’ve now done these lip trills for over ten years with minimal break periods – want to know what happened?
Connection. Fluidity. Perception. Full Voice. Balance. Placement
Each of these concepts that i had been struggling with previously, yes, even with my formerly bad attempts at lip trills FINALLY started to fall into place and I realised just how wrong I had been singing for such a long time.
The main thing I learned from lip trills is that the voice isn’t actually on a “tether” to the throat and connected in a muscular way. The sound that you hear is really resonance waving through the vocal tract, not muscles ripping away at your vocal chords. Over time, I’ve learned to apply this same concept to every other exercise that I practice and of course my own singing in a practical sense.
Lip Trills Suck
Say what now?
Didn’t I just tell you how great they were?
Let me elaborate, lip trills performed incorrectly absolutely suck. Those courses that just tell you to go BBBBRRRRRR without any explanation as to what the trill is for, how you’re supposed to do it and how you’re meant to troubleshoot any issues along the way – those lip trills are total BS; but if you learn to practice a lip trill in the right way will full connection between chest and head voice, released articulation, balance in the register, blended resonance and correct support – your whole life is going to change as a singer.
A well performed lip trill makes up an important part of every singer’s vocal foundation. If you’re struggling with strain and tension, you lack high range, you’re pushing chest voice or you hate your tone – I’ll make the educated guess that you also really struggle with lip trills, or at least, they don’t connect properly without force.
A correct vocal foundation in singing really is just like the concrete foundation of a house being built – the slab that your tone and range are being built upon. The Foundation 101 singing course here at Bohemian Vocal Studio is designed with 20 years singing experience and a decade of coaching expertise under my belt and will help you;
- Connect chest and head voice
- Perform a lip trill in the right way
- Support your voice
- Balance your registers
- Sing with mixed resonance
- Form your vowels correctly
- Place your voice
- Warm up effectively
- SO much more!
You can even get started right now with this exclusive Mixed Voice Singing Lesson which will share the exact approach I use to help my own students to connect chest and head voice while creating their mixed register.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about with the Foundation vocal approach, here’s just a few examples of the results I’m seeing now that I’ve learned to perform lip trills and vocal foundation exercises correctly – just imagine what you’re going to achieve once you’re finally free of strain and tension with the foundation vocal approach!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.