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Warm-ups – GALA AD Discussion List

Hello All!
I was wondering how often you vary your warm-ups and if so, are there a "core" of warm-ups that you do with your choruses consistently? Thank you for your help and suggestions!

Matthew Butterfield
VOICES of Kentuckiana
Louisville, KY

Three conductors recommended this resource:

One of the very best, and most practical guides to not only a core of warm ups but WHY do them is Tim Seelig's book, "The Perfect Blend." The entire series is with purchasing. Just the best out there. Get them thru Hal Leonard or your favorite dealer.

John Quillin
Gay Men's Chorus of Charlotte

I plan my rehearsal first and while I'm reviewing issues from the previous rehearsal I make notes of the kinds of vocal (or rhythmic) issues that we encountered. Those issues inform my choice of warm-ups and often I'll create a new warm-up to address a particular issue. We rehearse in the evening so everyone's voice is “warm” from the day. I think more in terms of “focus”. One of the most important things I pay attention to is focusing their scattered brains and energy in addition to vocal issues.

Jane Ramseyer Miller
Artistic Director
One Voice Mixed Chorus: Minnesota's GLBTA Chorus


I agree wholeheartedly with Jane. In an ideal world we would have 30 minutes of teachable time for vocal technique. But our music and memorization load is so heavy, I also base my warm-ups on the challenges within the music that we are singing. I vary them up from week to week. I will always remember my high school teacher who led 4 years of the same vocal exercises 5 days a week. After a while singers tune out due to boredom.

I also challenge them to make this time their own personal learning time. We relax, we loosen our jaws, we do something physical, we get rid of tension and then we get to vocalize with each exercising serving a purpose usually related to the music we are doing. I also agree with Jane about using the time to get the singers focused. Our rehearsals are on Sunday night so they tend to be relaxed but they also want to be social and want to look around to see who is there.

We also encourage our singers to purchase a music stand (which we sell to them) so they do not have to hold music for 3 hours. It helps with their posture and energy level. We should require it, but we don't.

Jeff Buhrman
Artistic Director
Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC