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 singing different intervals. First octaves, thirds, fourths and fifths. This week I am continuing the theme and offering a warm-up to sing sixths. I decided to include two different lyrics for these warm-ups, in case you wanted to sing on something other than non-syllables. Enjoy!
IPA:[sIŋ-i, sIŋ-o, sIŋ-a-i], [a:I sIŋ tu ma:I lɔrd, a:I prez hIz nem, a:I sIŋ alɛluja]
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 1: Sing-ee, Sing-oh, Sing-ah-ee
Pronunciation 2 & 3: I sing to my Lord, I praise His name, I sing Alleluia
Note pattern: 534321, 645432, 75654321
Solfège:sol mi fa mi re do, la fa sol fa mi re, ti sol la sol fa mi re do
***** Download Printable Warm-Up HERE
Option 1: Sing-ee, Sing-oh, Sing-ah-ee
Option 2: Words –with glottal stop before “Alleluia”
Option 3: Words without glottal stop before “Alleluia”
WHAT KEY OR NOTE SHOULD I START ON?
I would start in the Key of F.
WHEN DO I USE THIS?
- This is a great exercise to learn how to sing the interval of a sixth.
- Use for ear training when your choir or small group is struggling to sing a sixth
- Use as a general warm-up.
- Use to increase vocal flexibility
- Use to teach a glottal stop, put a small glottal before the word Alleluia (listen to audio Option 2)
- Use to teach diphthongs in the words “my”, and “I”.
- Learn at a slower tempo. As the accuracy of the pitches improve, pick up tempo similar to audio
- Careful your singer(s) does not grab the [ng] in ‘sing’ too soon
- There is no diphthong in “praise” – listen to make sure your singer doesn’t change alter the vowel with the passing notes.
- If you choose to teach the glottal – it takes time and subtlety is key, especially when working with a large group.
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.