Warm-ups for choirs are like stretches for athletes: they help prepare the muscles and engage the mind for focused, active work.
But more than simply warming up the voice and preparing to sing, choral warm-ups are a practical way to prepare and introduce new musical skills and concepts before singing them in the context of a piece of music. This not only saves you time in rehearsal, but it also creates a more cohesive learning experience for your choir members.
The secret is thinking strategically about your warm-ups and being intentional about choosing exercises that are tailored to your group (and the skills you want to address) and the music you're working on.
Looking to up your warm-up game in the next few months? Here are a few curated resources I would recommend, organized by age group:
15 Go-To Warm-Up Resources for Busy Choir Directors
Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you decide to purchase through any of them, I will earn a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue creating free content. Thank you for your support!
Children’s Choir Warm-Ups
1. Choir Builders for Growing Voices
(Emily Crocker & Rollo Dilworth)
This collection features 18 vocal warm-ups intended for children in 3rd-8th grade. Includes free access to audio demonstrations and accompaniment recordings. Learn more and purchase.
2. Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2
(Emily Crocker & Rollo Dilworth)
Two dozen more vocal warm-ups written from children in 4th-8th grade. Each exercise is designed to help young singers develop their voices and musicianship skills: singing in head voice, phrasing, breath support and control, dynamic expression, and rhythmic reading.
Twelve of the exercises feature Orff and percussion accompaniment parts, for those of you that have those instruments available. Learn more and purchase.
3. Singing Tongue Twisters A-Z (Brian Kane)
Featuring 50 silly, tongue-twisting warm-ups your children will love. Includes a sing-along CD. Learn more and purchase.
4. 115 Tang Tungling Tongue Twisters from A to Z! (Greg Gilpin)
A go-to collection for fun, engaging tongue twisters using all the letters of the alphabet! These tongue twisters are designed to warm up the voice, develop vocal technique, and reinvigorate diction and vocal articulation. Includes fully-notated piano accompaniments. Learn more and purchase.
5. Wander the World with Warm-Ups (Lynn Brinckmeyer)
A collection of 40 warm-up exercises using songs from 20 different countries. A perfect way to incorporate multicultural music into your choir’s repertoire and a great tie-in for an “around the world” theme! Learn more and purchase.
Youth Choir Warm-Ups
6. Warm-Ups for Changing Voices: Building Healthy Middle School Singers (Dan Andersen)
7. Rounds Plus: Traditional Rounds with Ostinatos for Changing Voices (Roger Emerson)
Featuring 10 well-known rounds with simple ostinatos written for changing male voices (intended for 6th-9th grades). Each round is presented in two keys so you can find the ideal fit for your singers. Learn more and purchase.
8. Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for Classroom and General Use (Rollo Dilworth)
Includes 54 creative warm-up exercises, starting with warm-ups for unison voices and building up to 2-part, 3-part, and 4-part exercises. Includes free access to audio demonstrations and accompaniment recordings. Learn more and purchase.
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Adult Choir Warm-Ups
9. Vocal Warm-Ups: 200 Exercises for Choral and Solo Singers (Klaus Heizmann)
Described by choral conductor Simon Carrington as "practical, varied, challenging, relaxing and stimulating,” this collection includes 200 vocal exercises designed not only to warm up the voice, but develop aural skills, build choral musicianship, and improve rhythmic accuracy. Learn more and purchase.
10. Voice Builders for Better Choirs: A Complete Resource for Choral Directors (Emily Crocker)
A collection of 140 vocal warm-ups and exercises organized by musical skill or concept. Includes notated piano accompaniments and a demonstration CD. Learn more and purchase.
11. The Complete Choral Warm-Up Sequences (James Jordan, Jesse Borower)
A set of 20 sequenced warm-up exercises designed to teach vocal technique and choral musicianship. Learn more and purchase.
12. The Choral Warm-Up: Choral Vocal Technique (Sabine Horstmann)
A set of 94 sequential warm-up exercises , plus strategies for teaching posture, breathing, and vocal resonance. Learn more and purchase.
13. The Choral Warm-Up Collection: A Sourcebook for 167 Choral Warm-Ups (ed. Sally K. Albrecht)
A range of warm-up exercises on a variety of vocal topics (breathing, vowels, diction, intervals, phrasing, blend, etc.), shared by 51 different choral directors. Learn more and purchase.
14. The Complete Choral Warm-Up Book (Russell L. Robinson & Jay Althouse)
Featuring 211 warm-up exercises with descriptions and photo illustrations. Learn more and purchase.
15. 50 Awesome Warm-Ups for Church Choirs (Ashley Danyew)
I’d be remiss if I didn't mention my own collection of choral warm-ups! This free eBook includes vocal exercises organized by topic: intervals, breath and articulation, triple and compound meter, resonance, vowels, part-singing, lyricism, and consonants. Download now.
What are your go-to warm-up resources? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!