A lip trill is an act of making your mouth vibrate very fast while making a "brrr" sound. It's often done from the time that we're kids growing up and exploring new sounds with our friends in school.
Some like to use it as noise to mimic the sound of a horse or an engine running.
Lips trills are sometimes referred to as lip rolls, raspberries, lip bubbles, or lip buzzing. It can be pretty hard to do if you're a beginner, and it takes some practice to be able to pull them off for an extended period of time.
The good thing is, they're very much worth learning.
Lip trills, also known as "rolling the Rs," have a long history and can be traced back to ancient civilizations.
They were used in various musical traditions, including in ancient Greek music, where singers would produce trilling sounds with their lips in their warmups.
Lip trills gained prominence during the Baroque and classical periods.
Composers of this era, such as Handel, Mozart, and Rossini, encouraged lip trills from their vocals performers who regularly sang melismas and trilled on notes.
Lip trills help put your body in the proper position for healthy singing and speaking.
The air that pushes up from your consistent escaping breath helps you increase your breath support, puts your larynx muscles in a productive and relaxed state, and then the vibrations help to relax and activate your face muscles.
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Lip trills can also help shake some phlegm out of your system with the constant vibrations from the mouth. It's a good way to clear your throat out without the abrasiveness of coughing or actually clearing your throat.
Lastly, lip trills can help even out your vocal range with the consistent breath support provided as you go up and down several scales over the course of a few minutes.
It helps singers avoid feeling like they have to strain and tense their muscles up when going higher in their range compared to lower in their range.
Lip trills are a must for your warmups that you do for at least 15 minutes before singing or speaking for an extended period of time. They are especially good for clearing out your morning voice early in the day or preparing to sing right after eating lunch.
Lip trills are also encouraged for vocal cooldowns. Many singers have formed the habit of warming up before a performance or a rehearsal, but not enough of them take the time to do vocal cooldowns.
These can help you transition your vocal energy and your body back to a normal state after a lengthy performance and help you avoid vocal fatigue.
The key to doing good trills is keeping the air flowing consistently throughout the scale that you're trilling on. If you don't provide enough air, you will lose steam. If you provide too much air, you will still lose steam.
If you add too much air at the onset of your note, you will lose steam right at the start and find it difficult to trill at all. If you try to push out a lot of air toward the end, you will not be able to make it to the end of the phrase.
There are generally two ways you can breathe before you sing or speak: you can breathe from your diaphragm, AKA your chest, or you can do a breath from your throat.
While breathing a shallow breath from your throat will work in most speaking cases and some short sung phrases, singers want to make a habit of breathing in with their diaphragm (full chest) in order to get a good amount of air for their sung phrases.
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Many trilling beginners find that holding their cheeks close to their lips helps them to get in the proper mouthing position to do lip trills easier and for the air to be consistent for longer.
Try not to press on your cheeks too hard since that can cause you to lose the vibrations due to too much pressure close to your mouth.
Trills are not to be done quietly. This exercise requires a good amount of air and resonance from your voice for you to do them correctly.
It is encouraged that you sing loudly, but try not to place the sound too low, but rather keep the breath support low and keep the airflow and sound high towards your face.
To sing loudly without restricting your volume, you want to make sure you are practicing good posture. A restricted posture can stop you from breathing properly and limit your singing range as you go through your trill scales.
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