In episode 21 of ChoralEd Dr. Rachel Carlson discusses techniques for developing sight-reading skills during the vocal warm-up. Suggested exercises include:
- Solfege Chart – Students sing solfège syllables as the teacher points to various pitches on a solfège chart.
- Curwen Hand Signs – Students sing solfège syllables as the teacher shows various Curwen hand signs. Extend this exercise by dividing the choir in half using both hands to provide each group with their own respective solfège syllable.
- Modified Round – In this modified round the teacher displays a series of solfège syllables to the first row of students. The first row then proceeds to pass this solfège series to the second row, who then in turn pass the pattern to the third row. This process continues until the pattern reaches the last row of singers. As the initial pattern is passed to the subsequent rows, the first row turns back to the teacher to receive the next solfège pattern (immediately after passing the initial pattern to the second row). The process then continues uninterrupted until the teacher does not provide the first row with a new pattern.
- Chromatic Scale – In this exercise students reinforce intervallic relationships singing the names of each interval. (e.g., minor 2nd, major 2nd, minor 3rd, major 3rd, etc.)
- Scales – Having students perform various scales can be greatly beneficial to their auditory development. Suggested scales include, major, minor (natural, harmonic, and melodic), modes, whole tone, chromatic, and octatonic. This exercise can be extended by having the ensemble perform these scales in contrary motion (i.e., half of the choir sings an ascending scale, while the other half sing a descending scale), or as a round.
- Interval Patterns – Asking students to perform vocal exercises that highlight various interval patterns can improve their familiarity with common intervals. One example includes reinforcing the interval of a third: Do Mi Re Fa Mi So Fa La So Ti La Do Ti Re Do.
- Solfège Games – Dr. Carlson suggests two lighter solfège activities that are enjoyable for students as they are mentally challenging. While performing various solfège patterns (to view suggested patterns click here: 15:13) ask students to stomp, clap, and/or snap on select syllables. In addition, students can be asked to audiate select syllables. This audiation of syllables is most enjoyable and challenging when the solfège pattern is either fast or involves skips.
To watch ChoralEd, Episode 21 on YouTube click HERE
To listen to ChoralEd, Episode 21 on Apple Podcasts click HERE