The Lip Trill – How to Do It Properly!

how to do a lip trill properly for singers from vocal coach Tamara Beatty

Let’s talk about Lip Trills! Some singers use them, some don’t. Same with vocal coaches. Sometimes coaches believe in them – and others think there’s no benefit. If you ask me, I think Lip Trills are an amazing tool for singers… if you do them right. No matter what warm ups or techniques you use as a singer, every single one should bring you benefit, relief, or help you become a better singer. That really just means that you need to understand how to properly create the sounds you’re working on. So today, I’m breaking down exactly how to do the Lip Trill for singers so that you know you’re doing it all properly! 

The Lip Trill: A Tutorial 

Lip Trills work best when you’re really listening to the sound behind the Lip Trill. It’s very common to see singers using their fingers to help lift their lips before trilling. The best spot to place your fingers on your cheeks will vary person to person, so play around with it some! The goal is to get a buzzing sound with your lips – while listening to the sound you’re making behind the trill. If you use these tips, you will receive so many benefits from this exercise. If you’d like to practice, I have a FREE Lip Trill Scale you can get HERE

The next thing to think about is the sound you’re using behind the trill. I generally like to use the “ah” sound when I’m doing a Lip Trill exercise. As you go up or across your scale, keep the vowel sound the same. The Lip Trill is going to be most effective if you’re keeping the same sound throughout the entire scale. It can feel like you’re almost overdoing the vowel to keep the sound – but that means you’re doing it right! (PS: If you watch my YouTube video below, you’ll see some great examples of this!). 

Oftentimes, when doing the Lip Trill, singers switch between registers (going from chest voice to head voice for example). Switching registers is fine (and necessary) BUT you want to do it in a way that gets you results. All that means is if you find your voice tightening, if the sound gets more ‘shallow’, or your voice flips or cracks as you switch between registers, then you’re not doing the Lip Trill in a way that leads to the results you want. A simple rule of thumb is, keep the vowel sound the same throughout the scale. 

Not using Lip Trills yet? 

If you’re not using Lip Trills yet when you practice, you’re missing out on some great benefits! These trills help relieve unnecessary stress from your vocal cords. When Lip Trills are done properly, they take the “weight” off of your voice and give you a better indication of what you’re actually capable of as a singer. The other thing you’re missing out on is helping to reduce fatigue in your voice. Trills help reset your larynx and allow your voice to settle where it truly belongs. 

See my tutorial! 

If you’re a visual learner, check out this week’s YouTube videos to watch me go through the tutorial: