Technical studies are a hard pill to swallow for most music students - no matter the age or instrument. For some vocal students, technical exercises can be quite mysterious. What is up with those lip trills? For shy students, some vocal warm ups can be embarrassing. "I love when my voice cracks!" said no one ever…
Regardless of your personal approach to technical exercises, I think we can agree that our singers need to be relaxed and comfortable. With a fresh approach and small “tweaks” we can make this important part of the vocal lesson more fun and effective.
Here are some quick fixes:
1. Don’t call them “exercises”
Try “warm up games” or “wake up your voice” or just announce “Let’s start singing!” (I use “voice yoga” for my adult students) Believe it or not – avoiding the word “exercise” with younger singers alleviates some stress.
2. Explain the purpose of the exercise
This is important for singers of all ages. If they know the reason(focus) for the exercise they are more likely to relax. Most importantly, they will be focused on the result of the exercise now that they “get it” instead of just “getting it over with”.
3. Challenge them!
Playfully ask: ”Do you want easy, medium, hard or super-duper-hard exercises today?” Some may choose easy – but watch some faces light up as they choose super-hard. You can challenge them, but make sure to give them the opportunity to succeed or they will get discouraged.
4. Use a different position or station
If you have space in your teaching studio, have your singers move around. Standing still is difficult for all singers, so have them try some breathing/singing exercises sitting down, lying down or with their back against the wall. Let your students try singing while standing on one foot... with one eye closed…
5. Use a familiar, favourite song as a technical study
Sometimes ditching the arpeggio for a favourite song can help the student relax. Teachers can use this well rehearsed repertoire for addressing posture, breathing, voice production, jaw tension, vowel shaping…
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…
Please Comment below:
voice/piano teachers - how do you make technical exercises more enjoyable in your teaching studio?
Many young singers are visual learners.
This is why we created the Vocal Warm-Ups and Technical exercises for Kids!
This resource includes 20 Activity pages that guide singers through fun exercises allowing them to SEE and hear the musical concepts. Kid and teacher tested.
download FREE sample pages