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.
The last couple of weeks I have shared exercises on how to learn to sing different intervals. First octaves, thirds, and then fourths. This week we are continuing the theme of learning how to sing intervals by offering an exercise on how to sing fifths. I’ve created what could be the beginning of a song or verse to make this interval more memorable. I hope you like it!
IPA: [sIŋ jɔ:ifəli, sIŋ jɔ:ifəli] – the [:] indicates a diphthong.
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: Sing joyfully, sing joyfully
Note pattern: 1543, rest, 4878
Solfège: do sol fa mi, fa do ti do
***** Download Printable Warm-Up HERE
WHAT KEY OR NOTE SHOULD I START ON?
I would start in the Key of C if working with a group or mezzos/basses. I would start in the Key of D for sopranos and tenors.
WHEN DO I USE THIS?
- This is a great exercise to learn how to sing the interval of a fifth.
- Use for ear training when your choir or small group is struggling to sing a fifth
- It can also be used to hone in on the fourth note of a scale (‘fa’).
- Use as a general warm-up.
- The closed [i] sound at the end of ‘joyfully’ is very helpful in training tenors and basses to close as they ascend. Use up to E4/F4.
- Teach the open o [ɔ] vowel.
- Finding the note after the rest may be tricky for some – be patient. If they are struggling to find it accurately, use solfège, stop and hold it (‘fa’) until it is more accurate, then continue to end of warm-up.
- Sing on lip trill/lip buzz to teach the balance of air/energy required.
- Sing in solfège – You may learn the interval even faster when using solfège.
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.