Rehearsal time is the most important time you can have as a group or as an individual. You need to make the most of it every single time. Here are a few vocal warmups you can remember when heading to rehearsal with your chorus or quartet.
Vocal warmups happen before you get to rehearsal
First, warm up before you get to rehearsal. The warmups during rehearsal are to get your group singing together and listening, not to get you individually vocally ready to go for the night. When you are on the way, run through songs on your part AND on the melody. This will give you a sense of how the song is supposed to go and will make it easier for you to sing your part melodically, even if you don’t sing the melody.
Practice other voice parts
Second, don’t only warm up your voice part. If you sing Bass, warm up your tenor voice and vice versa. You should never sing a note that is 100% percent chest voice or falsetto. Every note should be a combination of the two. Even your lowest note should be 1% head voice to keep it light. Even things that aren’t barbershop (I know, gasp!) can held you with this. Sing a little Queen right along with Freddy Mercury and see f you can do it without straining. That will let you know you are controlling the change between the two placements the correct way. Remember, put the highs in the lows and the lows in the highs.
Vocal Warmups for your lungs
Third, make sure to warm up your breathing as well as your voice. Many of the problems we encounter during rehearsal and performance are from lack of proper breath support. Practice making your phrases going longer before needing a breathe. Take a four count breathe in and let it out on an “S” for twelve, then repeat but let it out for sixteen. Make sure you don’t run out of air before the number that is your goal and don’t have air left after that numbers. Imagine treating it like a garden hose, only let out as much as you need to to make it but make sure to get the water to the other side of the lawn. …And always remember, your goal at the end of each phrase is never the last word of the phrase but the breathe after it. Also, make sure you are breathing the correct way – stomach out when you breathe in and in when you breathe out – just like a baby…
Try these vocal warmup suggestions out for yourself and look for other tips in the coming months. Till then, keep singing!
Joe is an Elementary Music teacher, Jacobs School of music graduate, a private voice and instrument instructor, Assistant Director of the Sounds of Indiana, Cardinal District Director of Music Education, Cardinal District Harmony Foundation Director, MAD Quartet Quarterfinalist, Cardinal District Novice Quartet Champion, Youth Chorus Contest competitor with Capital Force, performer with No Borders Chorus at Carnegie Hall, AHSOW member, arranger, and Lifetime Member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.