5 great reasons to warm up your choir

Creating new and exciting warm-ups to inspire our singers is a crucial part of our rehearsal planning process. Sometimes, when we’re busy, it can be all too easy to throw in some old favourites without much thought. However, the warm-up session of your reherasal is the perfect opportunity to develop your choir. With careful planning, you can create confident, happy singers who thrive when learning repertoire. Here are five great reasons to remind you why warm-ups are so beneficial.

Focusing our singers

At the beginning of a rehearsal, there can be lots of buzz and chatter as singers come together and discuss their week. There might also the business of signing-in or paying and finding a seat, all of which can add to the general volume in the room. Carefully planned warm-ups are the perfect way to cut through this and focus the choir for their rehearsal. Starting off with some stretches will help to calm everything down and get people’s attention. If you were just to launch in to your repertoire practice, it may be hard to create the focus needed to learn the music. Warm-ups are the perfect bridge between the two.

Working as a team

Teamwork is essential for a choir and it’s important for each singer to feel part of the team. Fun warm-ups where singers work together on simple tasks are a great way of achieving this. We are all creatures of habit and often, when people arrive at a rehearsal, they sit in their ‘usual’ seat with their ‘usual’ friends. Mixing singers up in the warm-ups is a great way to change the dynamic, encourage people to greet new faces and hear new voices around them.

Creating relevant skills

Carefully chosen warm-ups can help to develop your singers by introducing them to a variety of techniques which will inevitably crop up during repertoire practice. These exercises might include scales, arpeggios, harmony and rounds and enable singers to work on techniques such as good posture, breathing, diction and pitch. By educating your singers about their singing techniques, you will help them to feel more confident about themselves as singers and their place in the choir. You will also be helping your choir as a whole develop the quality of their sound.


Warm-ups are a great and positive way of tackling problems that might occur when learning repertoire. Rather than simply telling your choir something isn’t right, by doing relevant warm-ups, you can refer back to these when learning repertoire to help your singers understand what is needed. For example, if you are learning a piece with lots of octave jumps, including an exercise on these at the beginning of the session can be beneficial. In doing this, when the octaves appear in the repertoire they will know just what to do.

Create fun and dynamic rehearsals

Above all else, warm-ups are a great way to connect with your singers and create a varied rehearsal which engages the choir from the beginning. They also allow you, the choir leader, to take care of your singers by gently warming them up before the more intense task of learning and singing repertoire. You will help them to protect and develop their voices, something which you can be super proud about.

Comments on 5 great reasons to warm up your choir

  1. Avatar Jeanette says:

    Hi ladies. To keep the first part of rehearsal interesting each week, I always try to switch around the warm ups, following stretches, using different forms of ‘lip trills’, ‘sirens’, breathing etc. I try to vary the rounds also. I use a lot of warm ups that you have offered us. Thank you.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Hi Jeanette, thanks for your message, some great ideas. I do exactly the same to keep things varied for my choir. Also it’s more interesting for you as the leader, you don’t want to be writing exactly the same plan every week! Great to hear you’ve used some of our warm-up suggestions.

  2. Avatar Jen says:

    I have used your 10 warm-ups package extensively over the past year, and they have really energized my choir and my vocal class! I have incorporated movement and had them face each other on different parts to work on confidently singing different pitches together. We also worked on expression and movement to emphasize the message of the pieces. I was amazed at how beautiful “Belle Mama” was in a 4 part round and am sorry that I didn’t try it earlier! We’ve had a lot of fun working on these, and warm-ups have really improved my choir’s sound, rather than made rehearsals tedious. I dedicate up to 1/3 of each rehearsal to warm up games, if I have the time; it makes them better singers on all repertoire.

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      You’re so right, Jen. A good warm-up session really helps the choir to gel and develop their voices.

  3. Avatar Dr. David W. Roe says:

    I think that the reason why many choirs and choir directors turn off warmup exercises is that they become too routine and meaningless and a chore. Making your warmups fun as well as beneficial adds interest and excitement to the beginning of a rehearsal and focuses the choir to working together and singing together. One hard part of warmup exercises is finding using exercises that connect to the music being rehearsed.
    Thank you for all your great ideas regarding choral music. I am happy to be connected with you.

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      You’re welcome David. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Avatar Vivien Ellis says:

    Thank you for these great resources, and thanks for sharing them. This helps us all, and is a great model for sharing good practice amongst choir leaders.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks for your comments Vivien, so pleased you enjoy Total Choir Resources.

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