Vocal warm-ups are exercises that prepare the voice for specific activities such as singing or acting.
Though the scientific data doesn't really convince one of the benefits of it, vocal warm-up exercises are still performed by many as a way of warming up their voice before use. Personally, we feel the difference when we warm up our voices before we sing or even teach a class.
In the world of acting, a vocal warm-up can help with line memorization, speech, pronunciation, enunciation and even accents and dialects.
A singer may use vocal warm-ups to help with moving through the different singing registers needed to perform their material. Warm-ups can also help with breath awareness and in some cases can help release the tension nervousness can create. There are many other reasons why they work and why people rely on them and if you think you'd need to read up on this topic; a quick google search will point you in the right direction.
Since we are just beginning to cruise through our rain themed activities, we looked to the weather for some more activity ideas. Inspired by a "stormy day" we created an activity which combines some characteristics of a vocal warm-up with specific body and vocal tasks; each representing different elements of a storm. This activity also draws inspiration from a conventional vocal warm-up which usually involves some sort of body warm-up, breathing activities and vocal exercises. Because we are dealing with children, we simplified it and pulled from certain aspects of a conventional vocal warm-up more than others. We wanted to ensure that the body of the activity would be more lighthearted and fun but still comprise of an educational backbone.
How did it go?
Well, our students did very well with this one. They loved the different sounds this activity allowed them to make and though for some of our students one or two activities posed to be a challenge, the overall enthusiasm toward this activity was still high! For us, it was great to be able to teach our students something foundational with a different twist. Our students managed to find the fun in the difficulties they faced and really found themselves within the activity. They found a way to make it work for them and as educators, we think allowing them the opportunity to do that encouraged them to appreciate this activity even more.
Some suggestions we have in order to make this a more focused activity would be to ask your students to stand still with their legs hip-width apart and if possible place their hands by their sides and relax their shoulders. Another suggestion to would be to try this activity at varying speeds and sound levels.
One last thing. We did this activity with our older students. If you are doing it with very young students make it more of a storytelling activity as they won't be able to do most of the tasks but will definitely respond to you in other ways. If adults are in the class with you then asking them to join in would be a great idea!
Take a look!
If you are looking for a rain themed, vocal warm-up activity, then watch our video. You will be able to see what we came up with and how it was executed.
Tiva & Randa