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.
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.
Note pattern(s): 554321
Solfege: Sol Sol Fa Me Re Do
WHAT NOTE OR KEY SHOULD I START ON?
Start in the key of C which would make your first note G.
WHEN CAN I USE THIS?
This is appropriate for all ages. It’s a great exercise to use at EVERY rehearsal.
WHAT SKILL(S) DOES IT TEACH?
- This exercise will strengthen the soft palate muscles with the use of the [ŋ].
- The soft palate muscles play an important role in closing off the nasal passage. By lifting the soft palate we can minimize nasality, increase resonance and even make diction more clear. More on that in another post!
- The [z] consonant brings the vocal cords together firmly which will help create a clear tone.
- make sure the [ŋ] is held slightly before releasing to the [a]
- encourage your singer to feel the ‘lifted’ sensation of the palate all the way down the scale. It is easy for the palate to fall as the scale descends.
- add other consonants on the front to change things up such as [m], [r] or[k].