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Warm-ups are an important element to include at the beginning of choir rehearsals and vocal lessons. Although it may be tempting to skip warm-ups if time is limited, healthy singing requires vocal and physical preparation. I often use the example with my students that athletes warm up their muscles before running, jumping and throwing for athletic activities. The voice is also a muscle and it needs to be warmed up before making it do a vocal workout. Warming up helps develop strength and prevent injury.
Young singers in elementary school choirs arrive at the music room from various locations and other activities. Private vocal lessons are often at the end of the day and sometimes squeezed between multiple after-school activities. Some students will need time to wind down, others will need to be energized! Warm-ups provide a good focus and transition time. In choir or small-group lessons, warm-ups also help the group begin to work as a team.
Combining movement with vocal warm-ups helps engage the whole body in the singing activity. Combining singing AND doing an action is good for the brain, and is often a welcome challenge that helps engage students, particularly older students.
Warm-ups can be used for diction, warming up the vocal range, challenging the brain and waking up the body.
Vocal Range Warm-ups
Ascending / Descending Warm-ups:
- Down to the Bottom of the Sea
- Ee he he
- Doobee doo
I Know, I Know, I Know
Have You Seen My Alligator?
Parachute / Umbrella Warm-ups
Diction /Articulation Warm-ups and Challenges
- The Tip of the Tongue
- Zinga Zinga Zah
- Maybe My Mommy
Five Tongue Twisters
- Listen to the Vocal Local Yodel
- My Swiss Wristwatch
- We Will Surely See the Sun
- Shawn Swan
- The Bold Bluebird Blinks
More Tongue Twisters
- Red Leather, Yellow Leather
- Pass the Pasta
Z-Y-X (Backward Alphabet)
Stretches - Physical Warm-up Story
Chairs to Mend
Alfred (The Alligator Song)
Round and Round the Earth is Turning
Vocal Range Warm-ups
Diction / Articulation Warm-ups and Challenges