Monday, March 26, 2018

Lip trilling and bubbling – is it useful and how to do it properly

I use lip trills (or lip bubbles) as part of my warm ups. Some singers find them hard to do. Others don’t see the point.

horse lips

I’m going to share some expert advice so you can do lip trills properly then make your own mind about their use.

Lip trills (or ‘bubbling’) seem to split people. They’re either seen as a magic bullet to learning how to sing or a complete waste of time.

As with most things, the reality is probably somewhere in between.

What are lip trills?

It’s a bit like when a horse blows out. The air makes the loose lips vibrate and creates a ‘brrr’ sound. Or imagine impersonating a car. Or breathing out underwater and making bubbles.

Why do lip trills?

Lip trills are a fantastic tool for helping singers develop a consistent breath flow, taking vocal weight out of the voice, and developing a smooth legato line. It’s virtually impossible to do a lip trill properly without engaging all the necessary support.

But they are just one of many useful techniques to help you sing better.

Lip trills are not a panacea. In fact, some singing teachers think they’re evil! For example see Why I think lip trills are stupid.

Another problem with lip trills is that it’s very easy to do them the wrong way. In which case they won’t be of much benefit, and can even do more harm than good.

Here is an excellent video by Alexander Massey which demonstrates a safe and healthy way to do lip trills (he calls them lip rolls):

How to sing - 6. Lip rolls and lip trills: dos and don'ts


Once you’ve learnt how to do lip trills properly, you should read an excellent article by Liz Garnett which explains clearly the benefits of bubbling:

Hubble bubble

That should give you enough useful information to decide whether lip trills are a good thing or not.

Let me know how you get on.

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Chris Rowbury


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