Acting in Plays, Singing/Lip Trills


Hi Sean,

I've asked you a couple of questions on here over the years, and have always appreciated your advice.

I wanted to ask for your view on lip trills as a method of warming up. A couple of the vocal teachers I have come across recommend doing them on 5 and 9 note scales and octave and octave and a half arpeggios at the start of the warm up before moving on to more traditional exercises on the traditional italian vowels. What's your take on these exercises? Do you think lip trills serve a useful purpose in the early part of the warm up?

Thank you,

Hi, Stuart --

Thank you for another great question.

I was very fortunate to have coached with a number of long-term professional classical singers. None of them ever mentioned lip trills in relationship to their own vocal training, nor was it ever suggested as a useful adjunct to my vocal workout. So, lip trills were never a component of what I did as a professional singer and are not in my vocal workout today. Consequently, it's not a part of what I do as a vocal coach to inform, strengthen or maintain a client’s overall range and technique.

From my university days as an acting major in the Theatre Arts department, I recall a few backstage group warm-ups -- essentially pep rallies -- that included lip trills, “me-may-maw-mo-moo”, sirens, and “bumble-bee-hee”. But since I was simultaneously training for opera -- which involved daily vocal workouts that were far more complex and effective -- I knew that these other elementary vocalisms had little to do with my own performance-readiness. But I also understood that my fellow classmates were not receiving the kind of advanced vocal training I was and thus, may have found these exercises helpful and perhaps relaxing.

Eventually, every performer learns what works best for them. Including their diet.

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I'm also a music critic for – and – When you want to make an appointment, contact me at:

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Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

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Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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