It’s a love-hate relationship. The vocal warm-up is necessary but time-consuming! We directors only have so much time with our choirs each week, you know?

The vocal warm-up is so important, though!

The warm-up is where we teach our choirs to sing.

Too often we neglect the warm-up routine just to save a few minutes in rehearsal. These extra minutes are spent rehearsing notes. This is especially true around busy church seasons such as Christmas and Easter!

But it doesn’t have to be this way. All we have to do is reimagine the warm-up routine.

What if I told you that you could still spend those precious extra minutes working on tough anthem passages and give your choir all of the benefits of the warm-up?

Would this excite you? Hopefully, so!

Consider the following suggestions –

Vocal Warm-up No .1

Rhythm is essential to music. Precise rhythm is crucial.

Many modern choral pieces and even spirituals have somewhat complex syncopated rhythms.

Isolating difficult passages and having your choir speak them on a “t,” “ch,” or “sh” syllable is a brilliant way to help choristers tighten diaphragm muscles and learn to sing from the “gut.”

Not to mention, you’re reinforcing the correct rhythm in these difficult passages.

Vocal Warm-up No. 2

Excellent choral blend is at the top of every director’s list. It’s difficult to achieve. Most choristers are too busy thinking about the notes and unable to listen to one another.

Consider using a relatively simple portion from a current anthem that lies low in the tessitura for this exercise.

Have your choir sing the passage using different syllables such as “ah” and “oh.” They will benefit from the repetition, and you’ll be reinforcing good blend and training them to listen to one another.

Two benefits for the price of one!

Vocal Warm-up No. 3

Extending vocal range is another important objective that we directors have for our choirs.

Isolating particularly high passages in current anthems and asking singers to sing these passages on open vowels such as “ah,” is one way to extend vocal range.

Make sure to stress the importance of relaxed facial gestures and vocal cords.

Have your choristers re-create the yawning sensation in their mouths. Relaxation is essential for singing high passages.

Time is a finite resource. Vocal warm-ups easily eat up 10-15 minutes of the rehearsal. This is why it’s important to get strategic about how you implement vocal exercises.

If implemented well, these three tips will help you get intentional about your vocal warm-up routine and allow you to bank some valuable rehearsal time!


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