Tuesday 6th September- Choir

A new part of the timetable for Tuesday mornings is singing with Paul, where if free, everyone is involved. When I sing, I sometimes neglect a vocal warm up, therefore an aim for me early on in the term is to be able to learn some new warm ups which I will be able to easily remember.

Because there were some in the group who do not have much experience singing, Paul taught us a few warm ups which for me, I can use when I am singing, for example, the season production ‘Our House’ where we will be learning and going over songs. Warm ups are important to prevent straining the voice which in the future, can cause damage and effect your singing voice by making it weaker. Although I was taught some of Paul’s warm ups during last years season production of ‘Spring Awakening’, I did not know all of the words and others we learned today was one I had not heard before.

The first warm up involved using our ‘creak voice’, I had never heard of this term before but I learned that a creek voice is the lowest you can go vocally, because it is so low, you go below your lowest singing voice so the sound you make is a creak. What happens when you se your creak voice is that the vocal folds clap together repeatedly and are good for a warm up as they can release any mucus around the throat. To conduct this, we started with out creak voice and slowly raise our pitch to create a tune, this would carry on until we raised the pitch, before singing down until we went back to our creak voice.

The next singing warm up involved singing “Zabadabadabdadab, zabadabada”,  this started off singing low, but as we continued signing, we raised our voices so we were signing higher and higher. My singing range is Alto so I find it more comfortable to sing mid-range, therefore, sometimes I will get worried if I have to sing high, I often think this because I don’t warm up properly. However, when I went through this exercise, although at first I struggled with high notes, gradually I started to feel more comfortable. This and the fact I felt more comfortable meant I did not struggle as much as I know the less relaxed you are when singing, the more strain you put on your voice.

Once we had finished this warm up, the next warm up involved singing at the same pitch but would be sped up and changed around. We started off by singing ‘Robin Hood’, followed by ‘Fria Tut’, then ‘Little John’ and finally ‘Marie Ann’, each one would be repeated a further three times. We were able to sing this with actions so we were able to move a little bit and also remember what name we were singing. It was then mixed up slightly so we chose an order to sing each name once the way through, for example, we sang through ‘Robin Hood’ once, followed by ‘Marie Ann’, ‘Little John’ and ‘Fria Tut’. Gradually we would speed these exercises up and switch the order round and this meant we really had to listen to the instructions and concentrate so we would not stop and get confused. This also involved helping others because if someone was confused, it was important to get them on the right track so they are not confused and can therefore continue.

The final warm up was a song which was gradually sung higher each time we sang it, the lyrics are:

My dog is a good dog, yes he is

My dog is a good dog, yes he is

For he sits and bends and he stands up tall

Shakes his tail all around the hall

My dog is a good dog, yes he is

While I was singing this, I noticed that at first, I was using my head voice the higher we sang, however, after a while, I was able to avoid using my head voice and I started to belt it. These exercises therefore taught me that I can expand on my voice and use it in ways I hadn’t always been able to do once it is properly warmed up.

After the warm up exercises we were then instructed to go into one of the four singing ranges, the females had a choice of soprano and alto, which I chose, and the males were either bass or tenor. We were then given the sheet music for ‘Ease of Down The Road’ from ‘The Wiz’ by Charlie Smalls. I had already been in a school production of ‘The Wiz’ in 2015 but because I was an alto, I would be singing the tune differently.

Harmony singing is something I have only started this year so there are times where I struggle and have to get help from others who pick it up quicker. As we were learning the first couple of pages, I found it quick to learn and ended up getting confident with it, however, one thing I need to learn with harmony singing is being able to sing with the other sections. This is because although I will have caught it quickly, I will sometimes get confused when the sopranos join in, despite this, I have been trying to learn to cut out the other harmonies and focus solely on the alto.

This was as far as we got in the lesson, before the next session I want to be able to go over the part we learned of the song so that next time, I will know it straight away without the sheet music and can move onto the next part. In conclusion, I was able to learn about the creak voice and some new enjoyable vocal warm ups, which was my aim and I can put those into practice to prevent damaging my voice in future.




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