Vocal Warm Ups

Goooooooooood morning!  Happy Wednesday, May 4, 2011.  :0)

I’ve been recording some of my classes doing their opening vocal warm ups, so that hopefully I’ll be able to include some recordings in this post.  I feel that warm ups are important for several reasons.

1.  They signal the students that class has begun.

2.  My students warm up from first through fifth grade.  The first and second graders use one set of warm ups, third through fifth use a different set, mostly for the sake of variety.  When students hear and sing the same thing every class period for years,  those who have trouble matching pitch get a bit of reinforcement

3.  I specifically ask for pitch matching and head voice.  Warm ups are great for working on posture and vocal production.  My everyday and always learning targets, written on the board are:  Sit up straight.  (I often demonstrate what I mean.)  Open your mouth.  (Have them stick 3 fingers in their mouth to get an idea about how far open it should be.)  Match pitch.  Use your head voice.  Sing loudly enough to be heard.

The first thing we sing in either building, at all grade levels is our school pledge.  A few years back all of our district elementary buildings created their own school pledge, as part of a character building/anti bullying curriculum.  The kids were expected to eventually have it memorized, so I set each building’s pledge to music.

School A.Pledge 2ab  I will show respect to others.  I will show respect to our school.  I will practice good safety rules.  I will practice good learning habits.  We all know what’s right.  We all know what’s good.  We will do the things that we know we should.

School B. Memo  I pledge to respect myself, respect others and respect our school.  I will give my best effort to learn, to be a friend and to follow school rules.

Intermediate warmup:  I am posting each warm up separately, but when we do them we just run them one right into another.

“Mama made me mash my m&ms.”  Memo

“Red leather, yellow leather”Memo

“A proper cup of coffee in a copper coffee cup.”Memo

“A proper cup of coffee in a copper coffee cup” chromatic. ” Chromatic scale chromatic scale chromatic scale chromatic scale”Memo

“A proper cup of coffee in a copper coffee cup” minor.  “A minor scale a minor scale a minor minor scale.”Memo

We finish up with “Warm Up in Gee” from MusicK-8 magazine, Vol. 11 #1

Primary warmup: Again, I am posting them separately, but we do them as one unit, without stopping in between.

“What shall we do today?”Memo

“Do mi sol mi do.”Memo

Primaries finish out their warm ups with  a simplified version of “Warm Up” from MusicK-8 Magazine Vol 4#5.

I think you can hear from the primary recordings to the intermediate recordings that their pitch does indeed improve.  Of course, that isn’t solely because of repeated warm up exercises, but I strongly believe that they help a lot.


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jean M. Shields
    May 04, 2011 @ 01:50:15

    Thank you for so many good warm-ups! I find that students enjoy funny ones! They can be tongue twisters which encourages students to “open your mouth, move your lips, form the words!” What did you use to record your students and then how did you post it? I’m new at this technology!! I also find the warm-ups in Music K-8 very good!


  2. Write Every Day
    May 04, 2011 @ 03:31:05

    Hi Jean,
    Were you able to listen to all of the warmups? After I published the post I found that my computer would only play some of them back on the windows player, because they’re mp4s. If people can’t hear them I’ll need to convert them to mp3s and reload them. I recorded them with my iPhone, and then uploaded them using WordPress’s audio upload link. They love the tongue twisters. When I teach them in first and third grade I just add a new one each week, but once they’re all learned we do them all at the beginning of class. And I don’t know how I ever taught without MusicK-8! Thanks for reading!!


  3. Jen Smith
    May 09, 2011 @ 14:38:13

    Hi there!! I just loved reading your warmups and I plan on trying them with my classes! I like your “everyday and always” targets – I have one question. I’ve got some boys who don’t want to sing in their head voice and don’t want to sing loud. Anything I can do to persuade them to change their mind?
    Thanks for your great ideas!


    • Write Every Day
      May 09, 2011 @ 15:37:05

      Wait..I thought of one more thing you could try…..have a contest between them and you; challenge them to sing higher than you do. (But only if you think they can take the challenge without getting silly.


  4. Write Every Day
    May 09, 2011 @ 14:45:54

    Hi Jen,
    I’ve tried 2 things…sojetimes they work, sometimes not, but they’re worth a try.
    1. Explain to them that until their voices change, that’s how it’s supposed to sound. It’s not a girl voice…it’s a child voice.
    2. Play some Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, BeeGees….maybe even Michael Jackson. Tell them that even men use their head voice, it’s just called “falsetto” after their voices change. Then, maybe you can find a Beach Boys song or something for them. The Musick-8 Warm up that I do with the primaries would do just fine for them, and has some of that doowop style falsetto in it.
    Good luck, Jen!


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  11. Heather Zeigler
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 09:32:16


    I finally got the files to play! I really like the music you set for School B’s pledge. Can you send me your chord progression or anything you wrote to go along with it? I would like to use this in my own classroom. 🙂



  12. Carla
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:36:46

    I’ve just found this and am hoping you still use this site. I would love the chord progressions you use and anything else that could help me as a homeschool Mom trying to teach music. We all sing and I play since we pastor a small church but I don’t have the resources that I feel I need in areas such as music. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!


    • Jane
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 06:10:29

      Hi Carla,

      If you use this link, it will take you to the beginning of a school year. After that, if you keep using the “next” arrow, the lessons will be in sequence. If there is something specific that you’re looking for, use the search option, or select category. I will email you a few things as well, including the chord structure of the warmups, once I get a chance to look at them and see which ones they are. Blessings! :0). Jane



  13. Larry
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 13:37:09

    Reblogged this on Larry Shudra.


  14. new songs coming out 2014
    Aug 31, 2014 @ 01:29:52

    First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting
    my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?

    Thank you!


    • Jane
      Aug 31, 2014 @ 07:00:05

      well, I guess I should give more thought to the writing process….I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants. But here’s what I do:
      * because I don’t like to be interrupted, I don’t even start until I know I have plenty of time to work. (That also renders the 1st 10 minutes part of the process. You know that’s how you work, so just spend the first 10 minutes writing down what randomly enters your thoughts and organize it later.)
      * I write in a notebook before blogging. That serves as a rough draft, helps me organize thoughts and can be further edited as I put it online. I also just like to put ink on paper. :0)
      * I need peace and quiet.
      * if something comes to mind while I’m not in writing mode I write it down immediately so I won’t forget about it.

      If anything else comes to mind I’ll add it to the list. Sorry I’m not more help with this!


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