Pick 'n' mix warm-ups for choirs

Great ideas for your next choir rehearsal

Welcome to Total Choir Resources

If you're anything like us, you sometimes get to the day of your choir rehearsal frantic because you haven't had time to plan your warm-ups.

It's useful to have a toolkit of warm-ups for those occasions when you just feel totally uninspired and have no clue what you're going to do with your choir.

Hi, we're Victoria & Christine

We started Total Choir Resources because we know what's like to start out as a choir leader and feel completely at sea! We've created resources to help you do a great job for your choir, whether you're just starting out or you're looking for fresh ideas.

What are warm-ups for?

We like to start off with something that will wake our singers up a bit and encourage them to leave their worries and distractions at the door. We want to get them smiling and relaxed, but also feeling focused and ready to concentrate.

We've grouped the activities and exercises below into three sections: physical, vocal and musical. You can use them in any way you want, but we tend to stick to that order. They physical activities relax and energise the body, the vocal exercises warm up the voice gently and safety, and the rounds help to focus the choir on intonation, ensemble and tone.



Breathe in slowly through the nose. Blow out through the lips like a horse ('lip bubbles'). Do the same again, but with a rolled 'r'. Finally, try both together.

Chew one, then two, then three imaginary pieces of gum. Swallow the gum!

Massage your scalp and face with your fingertips. Grin widely, stick your tongue out, then finish with a big yawn.

With softly-closed fists, gently 'pummel' your chest (preferably with an accompanying 'Tarzan' noise!), shoulders, tummy, thighs and anything else you can reach.

Breathe in slowly through the nose. Sigh, louder and louder on each out-breath. Add shoulders (hunched on the in-breath, dropped on the out-breath, then knees (bend them on the out-breath).



Hum a major scale to the fifth, using a pattern 1-2-1-3-1-4 etc, and sliding between notes. Move the starting note up or a down a by a semitone and repeat.

Sing an arpeggio using the pattern 1-3-5-4-2-(7)-1. Sing the pattern twice, first to a legato 'oo' then a staccato 'ah'. Move the starting note up or down by a semitone and repeat.

Pick a fricative consonant such as 'v' and pulse five times on it. Start loud and get softer, or vice versa. Work through other fricative consonants: j (as is 'vision'), z, th (as in 'there'). 

Sing a descending major scale to 'ninga ninga, ninga ninga, ninga ninga, ning ...' (breathing halfway through). Move the starting note up or down by a semitone and repeat. Focus on getting plenty of tone in the 'ng' sound and keeping the halfway breath quick and silent.

Start on a single held note to 'ah'. Moving only your lips (not your tongue), change the vowel sound to 'oh' then 'oo', then back again. Then start on 'ah' again and, moving only your tongue, change the vowel sound to 'eh' then 'ee' then back again, so you end up with 'ah-oh-oo-oh-ah' moving only your lips, then 'ah-eh-ee-eh-ah' moving only your tongue. Focus on keeping the 'ah' space in the mouth and throat and not 'pinching' the sound when you change vowels.

Grab your bonus rounds bundle!

Get the great rounds featured on this page, plus a BONUS round, in a handy PDF, 
and download the audio mp3 tracks

Copyright 2017 Total Choir Resources all rights reserved

About Total Choir Resources

Total Choir Resources is a trading name of Total Voice Ltd, a UK company dedicated to helping choir leaders all over the world build their skills and confidence. Its directors are Victoria Hopkins and Christine Mulgrew

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