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.

Problem-solving

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.
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3 comments

Victoria Hopkins Staff

You're welcome David. Thanks for commenting.
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Victoria Hopkins Staff

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

Hi Rebecca. What a great question. Every director is different, of course, and is entitled to their own views about warm-ups, but honestly, I don't understand leaders who don't do some sort of group warm-up. Even if you don't believe that they improve the group's vocal technique, they're great for getting everyone in the right mindset - relaxed, focused and ready to sing. In my experience, directors who don't value warming up as part of the rehearsal process are often not singers themselves so they don't necessarily understand how it feels to sing 'cold', particularly if you're singing challenging repertoire. In the case of your choir, I think you have to respect your director's approach. If you feel that this is a dealbreaker for you, start looking around for another group that will be a better fit. If you otherwise love being in this group, just let it go and find a way to warm up your own voice in a way that works for you. If there are other like-minded folk in your choir, perhaps you could meet up before the session and do some warming-up together.
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