Monday, February 05, 2024

Looking for new warm up ideas? Don’t dismiss the old and familiar

I’m always looking for new ideas for the warm up start of my singing sessions.

But constant novelty is not necessarily a good thing. It can often lead to overlooking old, familiar, tried and tested exercises.

I admit I have a low boredom threshold. I like to try new things all the time.

Like many choir leaders, I worry that I need to entertain my singers and keep them interested with fun, new ideas and repertoire all the time. It’s a thankless task!

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of constantly chasing the new, focus on the things that work and that singers are familiar with.

Singers who come to choir every week like to sing lots of the old songs and start with familiar warm ups. Yes, it’s great to learn new songs and new warm ups, but that can be tiring and challenging. Singers like to be in their comfort zone from time to time.

If you feel that your warm ups are becoming a little stale, or that singers are simply going through the motions, then you can mix things up. For example:

  • do the warm up exercises in a different order;
  • run an exercise backwards;
  • combine physical and vocal exercises;
  • ask singers to focus on a specific area whilst doing a warm up, e.g. dynamics, listening, watching other singers;
  • go deeper and more accurately into a warm up;
  • split the choir into smaller groups during the warm up;
  • do everything in the dark.

And if all else fails, you can always delegate: divide the choir into smaller groups and get each group to choose their favourite warm up then lead the rest of the choir in it.

other posts

Here are some older posts you might find useful:

10 ideas to keep you going when you feel like giving up

What to do when you run out of ideas

Less is more: don’t feel you have to teach or learn new songs all the time (by Betsy Sansby)

Novelty vs. familiarity – how to keep things fresh without alienating your singers

Chris Rowbury


Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.


found this helpful?

I provide this content free of charge, because I like to be helpful. If you have found it useful, you may like to ...

... to say thank you.





Monthly Music Round-up: