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Your favorite vocal warm-ups

I will be incorporating some vocal warm-ups in our choir rehearsals. I'm looking for the most effective and most enjoyable warm-ups to begin with.
on January 7, 2016 10:19pm
This looks like a great thread... I look forward to hearing some answers from the seasoned pros.

Lately, I've been using trouble spots within repertoire as warm ups, Using a noo, loo, doo, etc helped to loosen things up. Also, we're able to kill two birds by learning a part as we warm up. It is also effective if you have "everyone sing the bass part" and you can even drop the key and work your way up by half steps until you read the actual key.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 8, 2016 6:15am
I'm replying as a retired member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.  I've sung with Robert Shaw, Vance George Robert Page, Gareth Morrell and Robert Porco to name a few.  Enjoyable warm-ups?  Maybe effective, but enjoyable?  In all cases with the pro names above, our warmups where rather simple with main focus on breathing, unifying vowels, relaxed soft palate and posture.  Robert Porco always begins with a simple sigh, high to low scooping, just to relax the throat.  Next, we would simply hum, maybe with low and high voices at the interval of a 4th.  Then, on 4ths, hum-E  hum-A  hum O etc, and whatever vowel order you choose.  Singing the reqested interval was of course a simple tonal challenge and the vowel change after the hum was to make sure all singers were forming vowels equally.  Robert Porco spent most of the 15 min warmup on those simple factors and briefly ended with a few scale runs.  At pro level me-me-me-me-me-ma-may-maw-mo-moo  - crash bang piano up a half-step and repeat ad nausium, is not the norm.  No director has the perfect approach so do what is appropriate for your situation.  If you are including emphasis on posture, breath support, vowels and blend, you are on the right track.  Then, carry those expectations to everything that is sung in your chosen repertoire.  That way, your "some" warm-ups become a thread to consitency in training and performance.
Applauded by an audience of 4
on January 8, 2016 3:12pm
I mostly work with children and young people aged between 7-18 and I agree with Michael finding that the simpliest exercises are the most effective. Sometimes I include a humming exercise whereby the singers, divided into 2 groups, begin on a 'central' note e.g. G (above middle C). The singers on  my right watch my right hand and the left, my left hand. They slide up or down according to my hand position and back to the middle. I also include tempo i.e. sliding at various speeds and dynamics. They are encouraged to breath - correctly- when they need to. Because my Secondary school choir rehearses from 7.30am, they come half asleep, so to wake them up, I usually finish with an up beat round or change the rhythm of a familiar standard round to mainly make them laugh. As a result, they are awake but sometimes takes a little while to calm them down to really get into the nitty gritty of the 45 minute rehearsal. Hope that helps.   
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 9, 2016 1:09pm
Such excellent suggestions! One nugget I gained from a workshop at Chicago ACDA was to include an a cappella chromatic scale in every warmup, at the beat, duplets, triplets and quadruplets, depending on expertise. It was quite a challenge at the beginning to be in tune, but now all adult and teen choirs can do it easily, as well as whole tone scales (even trickier at the start). These (in addition to some of James Jordan and Matthew Mehaffey's Choral Ensemble Intonation exercises when needed later in the rehearsal) have gone a long way to head off intonation problems in a cappella pieces. 
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 10, 2016 8:03am
I have this set of Vocal Warm-ups Available on my websites and am constantly editing and updating.  Please take and Look/Listen. If you purchase, I will be happy to make adaptions for You and your Ensemble. For instance, this version is based on my teaching in a middle school choral interim position last spring semester, so the examples are in Bass Clef/Baritione Range.  I will be happy to adapt for you.
David C. Woodard, Jr
Music Education Consultants, Inc.
Fairview, NC 28730

828-628-9550 ph.
on January 14, 2016 7:55am
Hi Melanie!
I like to use warm-ups to help prepare new concepts (e.g. melodic, rhythmic patterns from new pieces) and reinforce good singing habits (tall vowels, deep/low breaths, listening, etc.). Here are few of my favorite exercises (written for church choirs, but easily adapted for other ensembles!):
Hope this helps!
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