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.
Last week we had an exercise to learn how to sing octaves. This week we are continuing the theme of learning how to sing intervals by offering an exercise on how to sing thirds. While it is one of the most common intervals, it can be tricky. I have found this to be especially true in a choir where you have unseasoned singers that are not accustomed to singing harmony. This thirds warm-up will help you lock in the interval. If sung in a round, it will help train the ear, tuning to those around you. Enjoy!
IPA: [bi ba, bi ba, etc.; ba bi, ba bi, etc.]
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: bee-bah-bee-bah, etc.; bah-bee, bah-bee, etc.
Note pattern: 132435465768798;1089786756453421
Solfège: do mi re fa mi sol fa la sol ti la do ti re do; mi do re ti do la ti sol la fa sol mi fa re do
***** Download Printable Warm-Up HERE
WHAT KEY OR NOTE SHOULD I START ON?
I would start in the Key of C, beginning note is middle C.
WHEN DO I USE THIS?
- This is a great exercise to learn how to sing the interval of a third.
- Use for ear training when your choir or small group is struggling to sing in thirds. Sing as a round. The second group would start when the first group is on the 2nd ‘mi’ or ‘3’.
- Use as an exercise to promote flexibility in singing patterns.
- The [b] is a ‘voiced’ consonant so it has pitch. Make sure your singer is not sliding into the pitch, but singing it dead-on.
- The vowels and consonants can be changed. Use what works best for your group or your singer.
- Consider singing in solfège. If you do, it may be helpful to write the solfège on a white board or piece of paper so the singer can refer to it. There are just a FEW syllables! lol.
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.