It is especially important now to warm up for singing, because we have much less time in rehearsals and we are not singing as much as we did prior to our pandemic-era requirements for social distancing.
On this page, you will find a variety of warm ups and voice building exercises. Sing them, change them to suit your mood and vocal health for the day, and improvise your own.
Hydrate, sleep, eat sensibly; think about how you typically use your voice, and avoid yelling and talking too much.
Find balance, support, and mobility, head aligned and bobbling over the spine, not reaching or stretched.
Fill the lungs with fresh air, spend all of it. Work to increase your lung capacity, first by trying to.
Hum, a lot. Think about your vocal onset (practice with vowels), and strive for a coordinated onset that incorporates a healthy balance of air flow and resistance. Strive to maintain that balance throughout your singing. The result is a clear, colorful tone that you can sustain for a reasonably long note or phrase without expending all of your breath too quickly and without feeling tense or coughing.
Sing so that the sound fills your mouth, fills your head, fills the room. Listen to the space around you and think about how that feels when you make vocal sound. Avoid holding the sound in the throat or nose to an extreme.
Practice articulate speech habits. Think about how sounds feel, and experience. Read texts of choral music as elements of diction, rather than with a conversational approach or sound. Spend extra time on the details of texts for singing, as that is the basis for rhythm, clarity, is integrated with air flow, and often supports pitch (voiced consonants).
These exercises are relatively simple and emphasize fundamental stepwise motion and arpeggios. Repeat with the recording, or on your own. Use the recording for part of the time at least, to exercise listening and pitch. You may vary vowels or voiced consonants as you wish!
Steps 1: listen to the example, then join with humming, then moving through vowels [i, e, a, o] as the pitch rises.
Thirds 1: listen to the example (do-mi-mi-sol sol-fa-mi-re do). Sing "i- e- a----" (you'll understand). You may choose to use one vowels as well.
Intervals 1: listen to the example, then join with humming, then moving through vowels [i, e, a, o] as the pitch rises. This exercise includes intervals of 2nds, 3rds, a scale, and 5th. Listen carefully to these intervals and work to sing them accurately. Practice to be able to sing two bars, perhaps even all four bars in one breath. Molto legato.
Harmony: Warm Up 1
Listen for pitch and tempo and sing along. Each voice part SATB will be played before the exercises begins.
Listen carefully to tune your singing to the recording (a digitally sampled organ). As you get comfortable doing so, you should vary vowels, articulation, and change in dynamics. Sing expressively! You can sing these together (outside, masked, distanced - 12 feet!).
Printed music examples coming soon
Warm Up 1: Unison and Authentic cadence (all parts played first - S-A-T-B)
Warm Up 1: Deceptive cadence (all parts are played first)
Warm Up 1: IV6add9 "pretty" cadence
Warm Up 1: Whole tone scale - first unison, then in canon! Sing the second part, or add a third canon by yourself.