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.
You might think I’ve gone off my rocker on this one. I was in the car waiting to pick up my kids from school and I was trying to think of fun words to put into a 6 note scale. We don’t do enough six note scales, in my opinion. Students continue to struggle with hearing ‘la’ in the scale and when sight-reading. I wanted to use words to make learning this skill more fun -so here it is. Don’t judge, okay? The best part is it’s pretty memorable once you get the order down.
IPA: [fesbUk jutub twItər tUmblər Instagraem]
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: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram
Note pattern(s): 123456, 54321
Solfege: do re mi fa sol la sol fa 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?
- This is a great exercise to use at the beginning of warm-ups
- Use this as a tool to teach ‘la’. Switch it up and have your student(s) sing it with the words above and then with solfege.
- this is an awesome exercise to teach the [ə], which is held at the end of the word ‘twitter’.
- Begin with just learning the order of the words. Right them down if needed. Then,
- Work on diction. There are so many great consonants that get the breath moving [f] and lift the soft palate [k] and require buzziness in the cords and face [b, m, n]
- If your students are grabbing the [r] on twitter-try having them imagine a British accent (think Julie Andrews)- I find this usually gets rid of those who are loving the [r] too much. If they can’t do a British accent, tell them not to sing the [r] at all.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun! 🙂
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.