Questions About Lip Rolls Answered

Many new singers have questions about lip rolls.questions about lip rolls answered

It’s one of the exercises that are included in many online singing programs and courses. Many vocal teachers claim that they help you sing high notes, move through vocal registers, smooth out your tone quality or avoid vocal strain.

But are these claims true?

What are they?
How do you do them correctly?
Are they scientifically proven to work?
Are they really so powerful?

In this article, I am going to answer some of your questions that you may have about lip rolls.


Bonus: To help you find out if you are breathing efficiently for singing, download this free Breathing Checklist. Discover what you are good at and what needs more practice. Click here to start now.

What Are Lip Rolls?

Imagine a little child who is playing with a toy car and is imitating the sound of a motor?


Or a child who is making splattering noises with his tongue and lips called “raspberries”.

The kids’ lips are set into vibrations by the air passing through the lips.

These sounds are lip rolls.

The lip rolls is a vocal tool with many purposes.

Many singing programs utilize lip rolls for vocal relaxation, for building vocal skills (vocal technique) and for vocal warm-ups.

(Note: to stay objective, there are programs that prefer and utilize different vocal techniques and exercises and view lip rolls as unproductive.)

Singers use lip rolls to warm up their vocal instruments and cool down after a vigorous vocal practice. Singers also use them to improve their vocal technique in general or to tackle challenging parts of songs.

Lip rolls is a good vocal exercise for beginners.

Other names for lip rolls are lip trills or lip buzz. There are also tongue trills (these are little bit harder but have similar purpose).

lip rolls

Do Lip Rolls Work? Why?

Lip rolls may look like nothing to you but they help vocalists to produce sound efficiently.

Let’s look at them from the scientific point of view.

The production of these kinds of sounds (so called “semi-occlusive sounds” – this is the technical term for lip rolls, in case you were interested) balances the pressure above and below the vocal cords.

When the pressures are equalized, the vocal mechanism works at its optimum.

In a non-scientific language, lip rolls teach you an efficient way to make sounds with the ideal amount of air going through the vocal cords.

Lip rolls do not work if you do not apply the right amount of air. Excessive or inadequate amounts of air will mess up any attempt at setting lips into vibrations.

Lip rolls are also used to achieve smooth transitions between registers.

The idea here is that lip rolls require a relaxed vocal mechanism.

Inexperienced singers tend to put too much force on the vocal cords. They are also inclined to use neck muscles to produce voice – the muscles that are normally used for swallowing or yawning.

It is challenging to disengage these muscles that are used every minute of our lives.

Lip rolls take this pressure off and keep the vocal cords relaxed.

The lip rolls also help to keep the larynx in a neutral position, which maintains the whole mechanism loose and relaxed.

How the Heck Do You Do Lip Rolls?

I remember my first time when I attempted lip rolls. I was not very successful – no vibrations, no sound but lots of saliva!

Luckily, I had a good sense of humor and I did not get too discouraged. Now, you know – you are not alone.

When you do lip rolls for the very first time, they may seem hard or downright impossible.


How to do lip rolls:

  • Bring your lips together, relax you facial muscles and your throat.
  • Blow air through the lips.
  • Make an underlying neutral sound (like “uh”) while blowing the air through the lips.


There are two most likely reasons why they are challenging for you:

  • too tight cheeks and jaw or
  • inadequate amount of air directed through the lips.

Here is a tip to eliminate the first problem:

Place your fingers on the sides of your jaw (cheeks) and gently push the cheeks up. Lift the tissue (skin and muscles) around your mouth, which loosens the muscles connected to your lips.lip rolls

You need to play around with the second obstacle.

Start exhaling and direct the air through your lips gently. If you are not able to set the lips into vibrations, use more air until you get it right.

If you are exhaling great amounts of air in big bursts, decrease your effort, see what happens.


Using Lip Rolls in Your Vocal Routine

Once you become confident at doing lip rolls with a good amount of air and relaxed vocal mechanism, you can try a few exercises:

  • lip rolls on one pitch
  • lip rolls sustained over a period of time to practice breath management (sustain a sound for as long as possible without straining)
  • lip rolls on scales (3 note or 5 note ascending and descending scales) to practice free phonation
  • lip rolls on an octave to extend range
  • lip rolls on a slide to practice transitions between registers


“Are lip rolls the one exercise that will make me a better vocalist?”

Absolutely not!

Some vocal teachers claim that doing lip rolls for 15 minutes a day will improve your vocal tone and quality. I cannot attest to this claim but I can say that lip rolls may help you in many ways. 

Lip roll exercises are fun and you can do them anywhere – at home, in the car, in the shower …

It is a good idea to utilize several singing warm up exercises and employ a few strategies to improve your singing skills. Never rely on one sole exercise or method. Explore various exercises to find what suits you best and what works for your needs.

Bonus: To help you find out if you are breathing efficiently for singing, download this free Breathing Checklist. Discover what you are good at and what needs more practice. Click here to start now.

Before you go, share this blog post with anyone who may have questions about lip rolls.

Are you ready to learn more about singing?

These articles will inspire you to sing more and better:

Resource Page: Breathing for Singing 101

Breathing for Singing: Why Do I Need to Learn This?

Anatomy of Breathing for Singers Made Easy

Happy lip rolling!!!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *