Friday, May 20, 2016

Good Warm-Ups for Middle School Choir

Warming up a middle-school choir will provide you with time to work on intonation and balance using simple chorales that are easy to sing. Basic and advanced choirs need a structured schedule for warming up. This will help prepare the students mentally and physically for the rehearsal.

Long Tones


Create an exercise where the entire choir sings long tones. Start with a G above middle C and have the students sing sets of three notes without taking a breath. For example, the choir could sing G – A – B or G – A – G. As long as they hold each pitch out for four beats and play the complete phrase without taking a breath, the warm-up will work. This will help students do two things: develop breath support and improve their intonation. Tell the students to listen carefully to each other and adjust their pitch as necessary.

Scales


Have the choir sing the same major and minor scale each day in rehearsal. When they are capable of singing major and minor scales without singing out of tune, add a 12-note chromatic scale to the warm-up routine. Choose a vowel sound to sing the scales on, or use solfege to help teach them about the relationships between notes. Aim to sing the scales a third higher than the highest note in the concert music. This will make it possible to sing high pitches with ease in a concert.

Cadences


Provide students with piano support by playing I – iii – V – IV – V – iii – I progressions. The students should each sing a different member of the chord depending on their voice classification. This exercise repeats a half-step higher each time until students reach the upper part of the middle-school choir’s range. Additionally, this exercise is useful for practicing balancing harmonies. Have the choir hold each note and adjust the individual parts to get a full, balanced sound.

Chorales


Select a set of no more than five Bach chorales to alternate each day of the week. The chorales should stay consistent from week to week to provide structure for the students. This way, they will know that every Monday they will sing a specific chorale. Throughout the year, they will become very proficient at singing these chorales, which will help you to develop an ensemble sound and improve their tone and balance.