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Warm-ups: Choral Warmups

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 23:09:56 GMT
From: friedman@tznet.yeeps.com (J. Friedman)
To: choraltalk@lists.colorado.edu
Subject: Re: Why Warmups

>My singers know why we do warmups because they
>can feel the difference in their voices, and if I get hurried and try to
>skip them, they let me know that they need them!

Believe it or not, I was once in a community choir where the conductor
(an educated man with an advanced degree in conducting) didn't believe
in doing warmups. He did them the first couple of rehearsals and then
they stopped. When I requested that he resume them, he smiled at me
as though I were a misguided child and said, "I always start with the
quietest song in the rehearsals, so that works as an easy warmup."
(Yeah right--as though it were EASY to sing pp high G's!) He didn't
even warm us up before concerts. I had to do my warmups in my car,
and developed a throat problem that semester that left me without my
voice when performance weekend was over. Thank g-d I left that city
after a year (his choir was the only option in town).

>I do explain what I want
>and why, in passing, because I agree that they should have a basic
>understanding, but I don't make a big deal of it. I use a pretty simple
>set of warmups, and I like to feel that any of my singers could lead
>warmups in any group they find themselves in.

I definitely agree, and don't like it when conductors rush through
warmups without taking the time to say briefly what they expect to
gain out of them. Then they become something 'token' that singers
don't mind skipping when in a hurry, which I believe is a big mistake.

>However, situations are different. During the 2 years I conducted a Sweet
>Adelines chorus of adult women, we made a concerted effort to use warmups
>as both vocal warmups and group voice lessons in order to improve the
>individual voices and the overall sound, blend, and pitch of the chorus.
>My Associate Director happened to be a skillful voice teacher, and spent
>about 45 minutes on warmups. Education on why we were doing this was
>important; the chorus members had to buy into the use of their time.

Agreed! I have had several years of voice lessons at different times
in my life and though I enjoyed them, I have to say I learned more
from my college and high school choir teachers, who were both known
for spending half the rehearsal on warmups if they felt it was
beneficial. Of course after a certain point we were no longer simply
'warming up', and they told us so, and why we were doing what we were
doing.

Both had special techniques of using warmups to make us listen more to
each other/other elements of a chord, to make us think harder about
the qualities of our voices in different situations, to standardize
pronunciations of vowels and consonants, to exercise our minds, to
teach us about the pitfalls of singing in various keys or modes, and
(last but not least) to show us the amazing sounds and feelings that
can come out of hearing your voice work effectively and harmoniously
with other voices.

All these things were wonderful learning tools that came out of
warmups, and I miss them, being in a choir now where the conductor has
three or four standard warmups and rushes us through them without much
thought. But I have to say that the most important thing about
warming up is simply WARMING UP. No doctor of sports medicine will
let you run a race without the proper stretching and working with your
body beforehand; why do some choral conductors think warming up is a
waste of time?

////////////////////////////////

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 17:18:01 -0700 (MST)
To: choralist@lists.Colorado.EDU
Subject: Choral Warm-up compilation

I would like to thank everyone who responded to my e-mail requesting
choral warm-up exercises. At the request of many I have combined my
responses to give you all an idea of what others are doing with their
choirs. I receieved some wonderful ideas and I really appreciate
your taking the time to write to me. This is rather long, but I
think it is very worthwhile.

Katharyn Wilson
katwilso@ucs.indiana.edu
*********************************************************************

Yawn. Stretch. Hmmmm (from top of octave downward). Brbrbrbrbrbr.
Mi-yah (5-8-5-3-1.) (Sing first syllable on first note only.) One of
my friends calls this the "flowering exercise."
On "ha": 5555-5555-5432-1. (legato on last 5 notes)
Peggy L. Craig
************************************************************
You're internet reminded me of two of my favorite exercises for
freeing the voice and the articulators. Loose lips buzz on 5
tone descending scale (so fa mi re do) and tongue trills (as
forward on the tongue as possible) using the same descending 5
tones. You could also do ascending and descending 5 tone scales
using 8th note rhythms.

I also like a vocalize given me by my voice teacher at the University
of Colorado, the late Barbara Doscher. Octave drops on oo-ee (with the
oo on high do as a grace note to the ee on low do on beat one), then
continuing the ee vowel on quarter notes (as the beat) on re, mi, re, (up and
back down), then do, mi, so, do, ti, so, fa, re, do (16th note rhythms).
So, the count is uh 1 2 3 4 1e&a 2e&a 3 rest (change keys). Repeat.
u i - - - e a e a e (IPA)
or
u i - - - e o e o e

(good for men, with the o vowel on top)

This exercise is supposed to keep the head voice mixed into the lower
range, so that when you go back up to the octave you cords are already
adjusted for the upper register.

Stephen Parker
Director of Choral Activities
Black Hills State University
Spearfish, SD 57799-9098
sparker@mystic.bhsu.edu
*******************************************************************
I like starting with something that engages the diaphram. So
"ha-ha-ha-ha-ha" on a descending 5-note scale (always warning that it
be created in the diaphram and not the throat). Then I do "motor-boat
buzzing" lips on a 5-note ascending and descending scale (you have to have the
diaphram engaged to make the lips "buzz).

Alex Ruggieri
The Cambridge Singers
BACHLVR@AOL.COM
********************************************************************
1
My warm up routine:
1. Physical stretching
2. Resonator, quiet (humming 5-4-3-2-1, mi-me-ma-mo-mu, etc)
3. Ear (two parts singing: one 5-3-1, the other 1-3-5, etc.)
4. Facility, text (pick a word which might pose pronunciation
problems, make a vocalese out of it, more challenging than above. For ex.
1-3-5-1-7-5-4-2-1. Or turn a challanging musical phrase into an
exercise

Rebecca Seeman
Santa Cruz, California
**********************************************************************
I am a composer and am currently working on some warm and sight
reading pieces for choir. I just finished a very simple stepwise
which is a short piece using a 1950s style rhythm and blues pattern
sight reading piece, and a warm up piece that I call the "Doo Wah Warm Up"
which is a short piece using a 1950s style rhythm and blues pattern
with the sustained pitches and the five basic vowel sounds in the
voice part. I am also working on a round that uses the major scale as
its main emphasis.

Ken Langer
Music Department
Lyndon State College
Lyndonville VT 05851
e-mail: LangerK@queen.lsc.vsc.edu
WWW home page: http://www.lsc.vsc.edu/faculty/ken/klanger.html
********************************************************************
Lately, on the advice of a fine voice teacher here, I use mostly
descending figures (5-3-1-3-5 or 5-4-3-2-1) on zee or zah.

On the advice of the same voice teacher, I no longer ascend by
half-steps. Instead, I start in the mid-range (I have women, so I
usually start around F# major). I might vocalize down five notes
from C#. Then we go down a half-step, up a whole step, down a half, up a
whole (etc.). It would look like this: F#, F, G, F#, G#, G, A, G#,
etc.
The idea here is that you don't climb so inexorably and the voice
can't get as easily locked into one tense position.
I find that my choirs sing higher more freely using this system.

David Schildkret
phone: 910-721-2636
e-mail: schildkret@salem.edu
*********************************************************************
You may like to have a look at Nancy Telfer's recently published book
on "Successful Warmups". There are two volumes, and each set consists
of the student and teacher's book. I have personally benefitted from
it, as it provides a very systematic approach
to building up the singing techniques of the choir. You will be able
to find numerous warmup exercises from the books that will interest
and benefit the choir.
The books are published by Neil KJOs.
Tan Shook Fund
Singapore
txf@moe.edu.sg
*********************************************************************
Starting with a major chord in the right hand and an octave
on the tonic in the left - let's use C-major as an example -
Middle C, E, G, C in the right hand, Tenor and Bass Cs
in the left - play the chord while running the arpeggio
down and back in the right hand to the words
"what shall we si-ing to-day---ay", (C-G-E-C-E-G-C---C)
the last "ay" being sung while you play a chord (no arpeggio)
consisting of C, D#, F#, G#, C in the right hand and an octave
of G# in the left; you then quickly resolve this by playing a
C# major chord, using the arpeggio as described above,
which is sung to the same words a semi-tone higher,
and keep doing this while progressing by semitones up
the scale as high as you want to go.

Obviously you can start on any major chord.
I usually start on F major (high note F above middle C)
and go up to G major (high note G above soprano C)
One tip: it is easier to play this through the chromatic scale
if you think of finger movement rather than actual notes.
After playing the major chord, move the finger playing
the "third" down a semitone while moving the third and fourth
fingers to the notes one semitone below and one semitone
above the "fifth", with the left hand doubling the latter.
Play this leading chord (the dominant of the key you are moving to),
then simply move the octave up a semitone and play the major chord.
This is a much simpler concept than thinking through the notes,
and it works for every major key. Try it!
Rick Powers
Tenango@aol.com
Organist/Choirmaster
St. James Episcopal Church
New London, Connecticut 06320
on October 17, 2002 10:00pm
I work with middle schoolers who respond well to movement while using the voice. After teaching the major scale with numbers, sing it in this pattern: 1, 121, 12321, 1234321, 123454321, 12345654321, 1234567654321, 123456787654321. Work continually on staying in tune on the descending patterns. The movement and fun comes in when you clap only on "1" every time you sing that number. Sounds easy, but the first time through everyone is usually laughing. Pick up speed. Sing with piano or a capella. Then move to clapping on "5", "3" or other numbers. Have different sections clap on different numbers. The final trick is to leave out a number, no clap, just silence. Start with "3" first. Move on to others. Enjoy.

Rhonda Boettcher
Sunset Middle School
1300 S. Sunset
Longmont, CO 80501
boettcher_rhonda@stvrain.k12.co.us
on October 23, 2002 10:00pm
When I was in HS Choir, our Choir director had a set of warm-ups using words from the Dr. Suess books. They were fun and most were easy to remember, but that was 20+ years ago. I could really use them now. Does anyone know where I could find the words and music? Please email me and let me know.

Thanks,
Cathy
on November 15, 2002 10:00pm
Hinshaw Music has "Choral Warm-ups from A to Z: Singing Dr. Seuss" on sale through the end of 2002. Teacher edition HMB205 is $6.00, student edition HMB205A is $4.00. I'm guessing this is what you remember.
on January 30, 2003 10:00pm
I am looking for some chordal, choral warmups for women's voices, SSA or SSAA. Would like some interesting harmonies, voice lines, and warmups that are not too long and can be sung by rote.
Does such a thing exist?
Marilyn McLean
Broward Women's Chorus
on February 1, 2003 10:00pm
In response to Marilyn's request, I've found two rounds that are beautiful for female voices that are not taxing, but promote independence of line. One is Wm. Billings' "When Jesus Wept". The other is "White Coral Bells" author unknown. Sometimes I just have the girls sing a triad and, using a simple short lyric, adjust each part up or down to form interesting chords. The conductor and singers are both sometimes surprised at the results. Wring out those creative juices. I have also brought in a set of large wind chimes--the kind you have on your patio that drive the neighbors crazy-and had 4 to 6 girls just improvise with them. Good ear training. Good Luck. Philazel@aol.com
on February 10, 2003 10:00pm
In the last time, i had to practice much pieces with chromatic steps. So i take for warm up just a chromatic line of three steps down, once forte, once piano (as an "echo, but without breathing between the two versions). Of course you must take care that the singers not loose the pitch when they sing piano. Then i go chromatically up, and after that, i change the second and third note and advise them not to change the sound. I believe that my choirs become more and more sure with chromatic pieces (f. e. Rheinberger, mass f minor).
on February 19, 2003 10:00pm
I always use warm-ups at my rehearsals. They accomplish two important things to begin the process of "making music". First, it focuses the singers mind, voice and body on the "group effort" and on the director. Second, it allows me to "visually" check about placement of how the mouth is shaped, the shoulders, the rib-cage etc. I have found that many of my students (both teen-agers and adults in my church choir) enjoy body stretches (sp?). There was an article in Choral Journal not too long ago about the effects of upper-torso activity that helped in older singers not "woobling" so much and delayed that on-set. I always end this activity with back-rubs and light karate chops across the shoulder blades. The kids love it and my adults remind me if I forget to do them. One of my adults in church choir looks forward to coming to rehearsal just for the backrubs. I cauction you to be careful with this activity with students (I have used it grades 7-12) and monitor it so as to not make any of your clients uncomfortable. I allow those that are not comfortable with the back-rubs part of the activity to not-participate, but encourage them to be involved with the stretching activity up-to-that point.
on July 5, 2003 10:00pm
it is quite interesting to note that a male alto can, in time, improve singing in the choir by a very good warm-up. our choir director is a middle aged lady with a very powerful voice of a coloratura. we lack female altos and that a good wholehearted warm up really gets those head tones from the male really sound an honest to goodness true blue alto-sounding vocal tones. a diaphragm concentrated effort is done in this way. i believe there is is an existing male alto group in the west, i just forgot their group's name, but believe me they inspire us.
on August 19, 2003 10:00pm
I have enjoyed reading all the comments on warming-up choirs. I have just started working with an Intermediate School all 6th graders. I have divided the group up in sopranos, altos, and tenors. I am not a choral director by major but a instrumental major. I work with church choirs. Any songs that are good not high for these young voices I need. I have some music but need more for 2part voicing. My students have caught on fast to my method of teaching. I would like to help their voices improve. Can you help!
on August 22, 2003 10:00pm
Wanda, I find myself in a similar situation. I was a choral major, but focused on high school, but now find myself teaching 6-8 grade. I can give you the names of the pieces my 6-7 grade Intermediate Choir will be doing, you may just want to try them out, and see how they do. "African Noel" Dave & Jean Perry- Unison & 2 Part. "Freedom is Coming" Nyberg/ Leck- actually 3 part, but very simple and the kids LOVE it! "Riversong- A Celtic Celebration" Roger Emerson- 2 part. "Christmas Time is Here" (Charlie Brown Christmas) Teena Chinn- 2 part. "Holiday Favorites"- Emerson/ Lavender (Fairly Cheesy, but a medley of popular Christmas songs- Let it Snow! Rudolph. Jingle Bell Rock, etc.)- 2 part. These are just some suggestions of pieces they should be able to master with little training. Their success will depend mainly on their ranges. If they are good at singing in rounds, "Friendship Song" Doreen Rao is also really wonderful, 4 equal part round in English or Czech. Hope you may be able to use some of these.

Kimberly Eisenberg
Northwestern Middle School
5200 E. Central Ave.
Zachary, Louisiana 70791
kimberly.eisenberg@zacharyschools.org
on September 23, 2003 10:00pm
As a men's warm-up, I have found that the " I want My Baby Back Ribs" song done on Chili's commercials is very good for warming up tenors and basses before a performance or competition. In this warm-up, basses have a very low part while tenors have the higher part. It really helps to relieve the tension for all choir members because whenever I have them do this warm-up, I find giggles coming from the altos and soprenos. This really works!
~Joanne Harvey
on December 28, 2003 10:00pm
I usually start with humming 1-2-3-2-1, 1-2-3-4-3-4-3-2-1, 1-3-5-3-5-3-1.
If needed, I repeat the whole set with open mouth, in wintertime with pianissimo oooh-s instead of humming.
Then we do other easy vocalises with ma, me, mi, mo, mu.
The ha-ha-ha exercises engage the diaphragma, and open the throat.
I always do these basic exercises both ascending and descending, starting from the middle C. This way I clean the middle register of the ensemble.
Next is seeyah 1-3-5-3-1 with the "yah" on the 5th a bit aggressively, then the same thing on 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 - with the "yah" on the octavo of course.
Sometimes - if I feel the need - I do some more ha-ha-ha-s on different formulas (always start ascending) but carefully, this can be overdone, and it might harm the throats.
I prefer to do the 2 and 3 voices exercises at the end of the rehearsal, since I don't consider these as being part of the warmup.
The blending of the voices needs clean 5ths and octaves, so they start singing unisono, then A,B stay on the basic note, and S,T jump at the high pitch ( mostly 5 or 8: if these are clean, the rest will be clean too), then back. I always try to make them feel if the intervals are clean or not.
Three-voice vocalises are simple, I just ask them to sing the basic functions, both in major and harmonic minor keys.
For example, B will sing: do-do-do-si-do, A will sing: mi-fa-mi-re-mi, T and S: so-la-so-so-so. The result is an 1-4-1-5-1 chord progression.
Very important: two and three voice exercises must be sung a cappella, since the tempered piano can easily harm the choir's natural tuning (Kodaly-s idea !).

Ercsey Ferenc
Conductor of Visszhang student's choir
Cluj-Napoca, Romania
on January 13, 2004 10:00pm
I think that all of those warm ups are great! I am a middle school soprano singer in a chorus (TBCC) and the warm ups in our chorus are great, but the other six days of the week I have found it hard to warm myself up for all those G's. Now I have found my site. This will definetly improve my sound! Great ideas
on February 29, 2004 10:00pm
Maybe you need to make the warmups more interesting. Put silly words to them, for example. Switch to minor mode. Alternate going fast and slow on the same exercise (they have to watch you for this), or staccato/legato, or loud/soft. Warm up on a phrase from their repertoire, instead of a boring scale. Have a competition between sections to see who can do their warmups the most in tune, or the most together, or with the best tone.

Beyond all this, be sure you know what you're trying to accomplish with warmups. You can use them to teach specific singing techniques (e.g. breath control, resonance, vowels), musical skills (counting, intonation, scale degree awareness), stylistic skills (phrasing, word stresses, martellato, marcato), ear training (tuning chords, staying on pitch in sustained passages, hearing intervals), and so on. It's a terrific opportunity to focus on these skills without the distraction of learning the notes of specific pieces. Decide what your choir needs to work on considering their skill level and the needs of the repertoire you're working on, and tailor your exercises for that. Tell them what they're supposed to be learning; they'll be a lot less bored if they know the goal they're aiming for.

The drawback to the name "warmup" is that implies that the purpose is to get the voice started singing; if that's the only purpose, starting right off on the repertoire will work fine if its range is easy. But when you're sight-reading, you don't sing with the best technique, so it's easy to reinforce bad habits that way; whereas if you start with vocalises, you can get started on correct technique and start building new, good habits.
on February 29, 2004 10:00pm
Hi,

How do you deal with members that do not like warm ups? They know the benefit, and I try to make it a little bit different every time to avoid boredom, but they still want to skip the warm-up if the songs are in mid-range.

Oh, and they hate breathing exercise. Yup, they know the benefits, but they still hate it.
on March 6, 2004 10:00pm
Athalia,
Often times getting warm-ups going is just plain habit. My singers don't think about it any more as we "just do it!" I would also suggest taking a phrase or two from one of your pieces which you are working on and turning that phrase into a warm-up. If you do a neutral vowel or nonsense syllable with the correct rhythm (I would suggest unison to begin with no matter how many parts that piece is) and do descending or ascending work, the singers often enjoy trying to figure out what the piece is. Having the singers stand and warm-up as soon as the bell rings (or the clock hits a certain time) without fail every-single-time creates habit as well. Having 6 or 7 warm-ups ready to go prior to class also helps. I also let the singers know I am warming them up higher and down lower than the actual repertoire. If they get into the habit, they will come to the point of actually complaining if on the odd day you, for some reason, don't do warm-ups.
You may also want to engage the singers in what types of warm-ups would be beneficial for them in regards to the current repertoire. Setting ground rules of "we are doing warm-ups everyday so why don't we build them together built on your needs as singers". They may not have terminology yet (I don't know what age group you work with) but just verbalizing what is difficult for them in each song may help.
Again, habit with "this is not an option" while keeping that most important aspect: humor. Good luck!
S. Urquhart
Choral Specialist
Administrator of Music
Dixie School District
on March 10, 2004 10:00pm
I feel that all of those warm-ups are wonerful! I am an Alto-1, in 10th grade just hours before our District Choir festival...and my personal favorite warm-up is "999 nuns intern in an Indiana Nunery"...! oh, and wish my choir luck at the districts! Thanks!
on March 14, 2004 10:00pm
Thanks Guys,

I am going to try that. That does sound more interesting than repeated scales.
on March 23, 2004 10:00pm
HI ,i'm a junior seeking help form someone who cares.. I recently had to drop my regular chior class to fit in a math class. Now I practice while the band students are having band in a practice room all by myself I've had extensive training singing things accepella.. and I find myself singing warmups acepella. As a 1st soprano ( the only one out of the entire group) I'm qbligled to tryout for every descant part in any type of music that we have ( since i'm the only one that can hit the notes ) . should I sing my warmups all the way to a high G and then try to sing descant?? or should I use my descant parts as warmups for the high register?? .. I find that I warm up and then try to sing high ( accepella) I screech once I get to the descant parts .. I don't know what to do
our concert is quickly aproaching and I have no help form my director but solo tryouts are coming and I really wnat the parts..

on March 24, 2004 10:00pm
HS choir singer-

One primary purpose of warmups is to focus exclusively on good singing technique as you start your singing session. Whether you do that on a scale or a tune doesn't really matter, unless the notes are difficult enough that you are distracted from focusing on your voice production. Ideally you should work your way (very carefully and gradually) to about a third higher than the music you're going to sing, so if the music you're auditioning on goes up to G, you should warm up to a B if you can do it beautifully and without great strain (small strain is okay). The goal is to develop habits of healthy singing so that when you sing real music you won't be screechy. It's too bad your director isn't helpful; maybe a voice teacher?

on March 24, 2004 10:00pm
thanks,Allen .. I wish I had a vocie teacher but there is no one around my area that teaches .. my choir director is also a vocie teacher but has no time for me .. * frowns* .. thanks i'll try that though
on April 25, 2004 10:00pm
Hey allen I got that solo !!! thanks for the advice
on April 28, 2004 10:00pm
Hello, my name is Ntsikelelo Mbelle and i live in South Africa.

I was wondering if someone can help me. Particularly someone from the world youth choir. I am 15 turning 16 in august and i'd like to know if i can be a singer in the world youth choir.

I am a singer in the east rand youth choir from south africa and my choir master, Mr Richter Grimbreek was in the WYC a while back. He has given us some valuable tips on how to become a really good singer. However, i'd like to know if i'm good enough to be in the WYC.

I'd also like to know if there is anyone out there that can help me build up my terminology of music. I know that that plays a vital role in you being accepted or rejected from the world Youth choir. i am aware that you have to be able to sightread very well. I can sightread but i do not know if it'll be good enough.

if you are in the world Youth Choir and you are reading this message please mail back as i am really in need of some guidence.

my range is pretty goog and i can sing Tenor or Alto very well. thank you very much for your help.

my e-mail address is mbellea@mweb.co.za
bye.

P.S I have also got some warmup excersises but would like to knnow if you can get a warm up to help you reach the lowest notes your voice allows with the most ease and with good tonality and pitch.
on May 11, 2004 10:00pm
I'm an elementary chorus teacher doing a demonstration lesson for a 7th & 8th grade chorus. I could use some warmup suggestions that would work especially well with this age and get their attention. I humorous one would be great too!
on May 12, 2004 10:00pm
help me to organize a schedule of choral warmups to cover a week of working
on June 9, 2004 10:00pm
This is a message for cesarkelete@hotmail.com. You asked for help in organizing a schedule of choral warmpups to cover a week. You need to get a copy of a book previously mentioned on this site. "Successful Warmups" by Nancy Telfer (Neil Kjos). Her warm-ups are planned out over several lessons where each lesson builds on the previous one. You'll enjoy it I'm sure.
on June 25, 2004 10:00pm
Hi. I have experience teaching middle school, but am looking for resources for teaching elementary school music. I am starting to teach at a new school this fall and will be teaching k-8 music. Any ideas on warm-ups for elementary students, k-5, or any ideas on resources would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!!:)
on June 25, 2004 10:00pm
Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers=1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,3,5,3,1 (pickled peppers is the triad)

Can also be done with She sells seashells by the seashore and other tongue twisters. My high school teacher used to use these, and I will definitely be using them with the youth choir I am forming.
on July 21, 2004 10:00pm
Bonjour,
quels exercices pour un choeur d'hommes, surtout pour les t
on August 4, 2004 10:00pm
About a year ago Joanne Harvey suggested using the Chili's song, "I Want My Baby Back Ribs" as a warm-up for a men's group. I don't know the complete song and wondered if anyone could tell me where to find the words and music.

Thanks
on September 4, 2004 10:00pm
Hey
I am singing in a teenage choir , and we do not have a director now. We do not want to stop , and we continue practicing. I would be interested if you can tell me some warming up exercises for each voice , S A T and B. That would really help. You can send them to me to my email alegnutza@yahoo.com
Thank you
on September 5, 2004 10:00pm
Alegna:

There's a wealth of good advice listed above if you go through all of the warm-ups. You can apply each warm-up to each voice part, or work together as a whole group, which may be more beneficial to your group's sound in the long run. Also, where is this choir of yours located? It's important that you get someone who is knowledgeable of the voice and it's use to be the director of your group - perhaps you want to think about putting out an advertisement for the position?

on September 8, 2004 10:00pm
For anyone who has trouble with your choirs singing pure vowels and approaching pitches from under instead of over the top of the pitches I use alot of sirening with my choirs. Choirs start on and "oh" or "ah" and start at the lowest possible note of their range without strain and then send the breath and siren as high as they can and back down. I also have my choirs chant in a "yawny" (imagine pompus, arrogant english woman speaking) voice the rhythm of passages and then go back and sing. I find this to be very beneficial. As for ear training and vocalizing, consider doing solfege or numbers at the octave (men-lower octave and women-higher). do fa sol di mi fa re mi sol la sol sol do do ti do (1 4 5 1 3 4 2 3 5 6 5 5 8 8 7 8). Once your choir understands, do it as a round. sopranos, altos, basses and then tenors. do any combination you want. start next section, after first section gets through 1, 4, 5, 1...then bring in next section. Kids will eat it up and really start training their ears and tuning better.

James Brown
Director of Choral Studies
Pinecrest High School
Southern Pines, NC
(910) 692-6554
jamebrown@mcs.k12.nc.us
on September 22, 2004 10:00pm
I love this web site my kids won't do some warm up so this web site helped me with so Ideas for warm ups I belive that children and high school students should do warm ups.
on September 25, 2004 10:00pm
I am a junior at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Dr. Paul Nesheim, who directs three choirs here, has a published book - "Building Beautiful Voices". It's a book ALL choir directors should own, as it is very meticulous and contains hundreds of vocalises! A great resource!
on October 4, 2004 10:00pm
How long? There's no cut-off point. A warm-up is always useful, even if it's hours earlier. Once warmed up, however, it's much easier to maintain the warmed-up status by little things like humming (talking doesn't count). This is something individuals can do backstage, or while getting into costume or makeup.
on October 4, 2004 10:00pm
How long do people think a warm-up is good for? I'm an MD for amateur musicals, and with everything else that's going on it's very difficult to find time for company warm-ups before a show. What's the maximum time before the start of the show that a warm-up is useful? An added problem is that in some shows some people may not get to sing till well in to Act 1...
on October 11, 2004 10:00pm
I am looking for creative attention grabbers to start the rehearasal off by singing and might promote good posture and/or breathing... any suggestions?
on October 18, 2005 10:00pm
Attention grabbers ...
I have taken over as choir director of an adult church choir. At first I was having trouble with:
1. getting everyone ready to start rehearsals on time
2. getting some of the choir to do warm-ups
3. getting choir members' attention when it was time to start.
One day, frustrated by this, I told everyone to take a copy of the church hymn book and turn to a lively hymn. I said, "This hymn is a warm-up that will teach you breathing. You can only breathe where there is punctuation -- comma, period, semicolon, colon. If there is a lot of punctuation, try to sing four bars instead of two without breathing."
They all enjoyed singing the hymn and the instructions on breathing kept their attention throughout.
Next week I started with a similar lively hymn and gave them tips about counting notes and beats.
Since then they are nearly always ready to start on time, and they actually ask which hymn we are going to sing for the warm-up. I try to find lively hymns I know they will like and concentrate on one thing for them to learn while singing each hymn -- breathing, harmony, the meaning of music symbols, counting beats, and so on. I always get them to sing all verses of the hymn, and at least one or two verses without accompaniment.
It has really helped.
on November 17, 2005 10:00pm
Hello,
My name is Titus a male from Nigeria.I have been in the choir of a community church here in Nigeria (Christ Apostolic Church) since my childhood age and up to this moment.I started with the church junior choir group and later graduated to the senior also known as the church main choir.
Ever since I have been in the main choir ,I noticed that there has never been a time we were taught voice training or taken through warmup exercises.We have been staging concerts but majority of us noticed that our collective voice quality is still far from what we used to hear on CDs.
Please I want you to assist us with books and CDs that will teach us voice training and warmup exercises.
Apart from the books and CDs,I would like to know web sites where I could get these trainings on line for free of charge.
I would be very happy to hear from you soon.
Yours Faithfully,
Titus
titusviola@yahoo.com
on October 7, 2008 10:00pm

"These are not your Greatgrandfather's vocalises"......"fabulous synthesized accompaniment tracks that make it easy to feel and respond to each particular style