Monday, January 26, 2015

The singers who didn’t like warm ups (and what became of them)

Once upon a time there were two singers: Olga and Little Erik. They  did not like choir warm ups. Olga always came late so she could avoid them. Little Erik did them in a half-hearted way with a scowl on his face.

boy and girl

What became of these two reckless singers? Read on to find out.

Olga had never liked warm ups. She didn’t see the point. Why couldn’t they just get on with the singing?

She hated the choir warm up so much that every week she came late so she could miss it.
Little Erik wasn’t quite as naughty. He came on time every week like he was supposed to and joined in with the warm ups. But he really didn’t like them.

He didn’t stretch quite as much as he could, he refused to make silly faces, and he did the humming very quietly. And he always had a dark scowl on his face.

One week the choir leader sprang a surprise.

She didn’t begin the session with a warm up, but started off with a gentle song instead. Little Erik was confused, but he was very happy that there was no warm up.

When Olga arrived, they were already half way through the song, but she managed to catch up any way. Then to her horror, the choir leader started to do the warm up exercises. She had been tricked!

Little Erik just started to scowl and got on with it. There was no escape for Olga so she had to join in too.

After the warm up, they began the gentle song again.

To their amazement, both Olga and Little Erik found it much easier to sing the song. Their voices felt richer and more resonant and they reached the high notes with ease. They didn’t get as confused with the harmonies and (despite themselves) they even found themselves smiling. What was happening?

Their choir leader had many years experience of leading choirs and working with singers. Every week she carefully planned a series of exercises that helped the singers in her choir prepare to sing.

These exercises included warming up the voice, getting in touch with the breath, making a transition from the everyday world, reducing stress and tension in the body and helping singers to listen more carefully. All so they could have fun and make beautiful music together.

Every exercise had a clear reason and was very carefully thought out.

Even though Olga and Little Erik thought some of the exercises were stupid (sometimes they had to make silly faces which made them look a bit ugly was embarrassing) or a waste of time (like speaking in made-up languages, or clapping in a circle, or running around the rehearsal room), each one had a very specific purpose.

Ever since their choir leader had surprised them that day, Olga and Little Erik realised that the warm ups did make a difference and helped them as singers.

Olga began to turn up on time each week and even began to look forward to the warm ups (she even had fun!). Little Erik began to do the warm ups with more enthusiasm and stopped scowling so much (although he did scowl sometimes each time he started to learn a new song).

Over time, the choir just got better and better and the warm ups became more exciting and more adventurous. The choir’s concerts became better attended and the singers began to smile all the time when they were singing.

And everybody lived (and sang) happily ever after.


Chris Rowbury




Chris Rowbury


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