If you’ve been here before you can skip these beginning paragraphs and jump to the warm-up. If it’s your first time, read on! Every Wednesday I will share a vocal tip or warm-up. After 17 years of teaching people how to sing I have so many things to share with you every week!
As a voice teacher I am frequently approached and asked for a vocal warm-up for use in a choir or as a soloist. I LOVE warm-ups and think it’s really crucial to use them whenever you are going to sing. It’s an easy step to skip when you are practicing (because who doesn’t want to get to the fun stuff like songs?), but it can also be THE tool that takes you or your choir from average to AHHHMAZING! The trick is knowing which warm-ups you or your choir needs, when to use it and why it works.
That’s A LOT of variables! It’s also the main reason why I don’t like giving a warm-up on the fly. They are most effective when used under the correct circumstances. It’s really difficult for me to explain all these crucial elements in a short amount of time. Hence, the Vocal Wednesdays! Woo-hoo!
Great warm-ups are passed down from teachers to students or teacher to teacher. It’s a lot like story-telling in that way. Teaching voice is both an art and science. Having exercises is one thing, but knowing how to use them is a whole other matter. You will get the most out of your warm-ups if you understand what sorts of techniques or skills it teaches and then use them accordingly. My hope is that Vocal Wednesdays can help you not only find warm-ups you like, but that you learn what skill each warm-up can teach and then be able to use it at the appropriate time.
I first used this warm-up when I was music director for Fiddler on the Roof a few summers ago. There were a lot of kids in the cast and I was trying to find fun ways to teach them to enunciate. Borrowing phrases from well-known songs is a great way to teach skills. Just FYI, I think the adults enjoyed it as much as the kids! Besides, who doesn’t love a little spell? 😉
IPA: [bIppIti bɑpIti bIppIti bɑpIti bu] – note the [ɑ] – it is the dark ‘a’ sound. Sounds like THIS.
IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet and is used by singers and teachers of singers to have a standardized guide to pronunciation. For future reference, I will always put IPA in brackets [ ]. I will also include a pronunciation guide of what it sounds like in non-word syllables.
Pronunciation: Bippity Boppity Bippity Boppity Boo
Note pattern(s): 565, 454, 343, 232, 1
Solfege: sol la sol, fa sol fa, mi fa mi, re mi re, do
WHAT NOTE OR KEY SHOULD I START ON?
For a group I would start in the key of C. For sopranos and tenors only, D Major.
WHEN DO I USE THIS?
- As I mentioned above, it’s a great exercise for children
- I would use this AFTER warming up a little bit. It requires some flexibility to sing triplets – you don’t want to do it cold.
- It’s a great exercise to teach triplet patterns. First, use the warm-up as it is written. Second, insert it into whatever music you are learning using the notes in your music, but with bippity words. Last, add text from music in and voila – you are singing triplets accurately! Partay!
- start the exercise slow – as you get comfortable with the text, challenge yourself and speed it up.
- it would be fun and a useful tool to perform this on a stage whisper. A stage whisper creates energy and makes the singers aware of both diction and breath and how they really must be married together. Listen to the audio to hear an example.
- adding gestures is another great way to engage the whole body.
- Imagine casting a spell – could look a bit like conducting, but again – this is a tool to create awareness whether it is physical or rhythmic, who cares, right?
- place your hand in front of your body, palm facing you. Move your hand/arm in a circular motion away from you in time with the triplets, then reverse it. This creates awareness of both rhythm and breath…and maybe a little coordination. 🙂
If you are a visual learner like me then you have probably been waiting for the day that I would share a VISUAL of the exercise. Insert trumpet sounds! Click on the link and you have yourself a free printable! (This may be a great time to pull out your 3-ring binder and get a whole slew of them at your fingertips so you have it when you need it most!)
Download the printable HERE.
What vocal warm-ups are you using this week? Are you struggling with a technical problem? Write in the comments or message me on Facebook and I’d be happy to help you.