I'm back for post 2 in my 4 part series on the Kodaly In the Choral Classroom Workshop I took with Dr. Laszlo Norbert Nemes at Capital University from July 12-14.
First I will share a few tips and tricks from Dr. Nemes that can be applied to ALL warm-ups, then I will share some of my favorites he taught us!
1. There are 3 parts of a warm-up. A physical warm-up should
A. warm-up the voice
B. warm-up musicianship
C. warm-up concentration
2. Change it up. Even within one exercise, change up the vowels. Warm-ups should not be predictable. (I really need to work on this one!)
3. Incorporate part-singing into the warm-up (examples below)
4. Give the pitch with your voice- even if you are using the piano, be sure to reinforce with your voice.
5. Select the warm-ups based on the repertoire your students will be singing. It can relate to the tonality, the tone-set, similar rhythm patterns, be a simpler version of the song, have the same harmonic progression, etc.
6. Teach articulation and breathing super exaggerated and make it into a game
7. Use solfa, handsigns, and hand-staff for warm-ups and throughout the rehearsal.
8. Don't always go up and down by half-steps, use whole tones or skip around.
9. Walk to the beat when reading rhythms- ALWAYS!
10. End with something JOYFUL!
Now onto some of my favorite things we did as warm-ups during the work-shop! It was so fun!
To warm-up our voices we did many things, some similar to what I typically have done as warm-ups in the past. For example we sang d-r-m-r-d-r-m-r-d moving up and down (not always by half-steps though). We also inverted the pattern (m-r-d-r-m...) and sang it in two parts. There was oblique harmony- where one group sang the pattern and another held do or mi, parallel harmony- where we sang the pattern in cannon, and contrary motion where one group sang d-r-m-... while the other sang m-r-d-... You could even sing the same solfege pattern on neutral syllables to practice correct vowels. There was so much we did with just the one exercise!
One of my favorite things we did to warm-up musicianship was "step, step, sing sing" (I gave it that awesome name...). The teacher plays a short solfege pattern on the piano while the chorus is stepping and then the student sing the pattern on the singing beats! We started with two beats of step, two of sing and added more and more (step, step, step, sing, sing, sing, etc.). Of course, the solfa played was in the same key, and using the same tone-set as the song we would be working next!
Another way to warm-up musicianship is just by sight-reading. I will be doing a "Daily 5" in both chorus and upper elementary general music where students read an example for Kodaly's 333 (get the book HERE) or a new folk song, or an example extracted from the choral piece itself and then we will play with it. There are so many ways you can play with an example:
-Show the form through movement
-Sing it in cannon (be sure cannons you choose have different harmonic structures!)
-Perform it in cannon with yourself (singing and clapping, etc)
-Clap/ snap on different rests (we did this with Hotaru Koi- snapped on eighth rests and clapped on quarter rests with singing and without).
The warming-up the concentration was my favorite part because it got us moving! A few of my favorite concentration warm-ups were:
Let's put the Rooster in the Stew: We sang the song first. Then we added in snapping. This song is in 4/4 time so we added snaps on different eighth notes of the song. For the 1st phrase it was no snap, the 2nd was on the 1st eighth note, the 3rd phrase had a snap on the 2nd eighth note, etc. If you sing the song through twice, the final snap will be on the last word of the song.
Hey Ho, Nobody Home: This was similar to the rooster but it was more than just snapping- and hard! We first sang the song and then added a poly-rhythm body percussion ostinato. The pattern was clap, rt shoulder tap, lft shoulder tap, rt leg tap, leg tap ending with a clap -snap to finish it off after the pattern is completed 6 times. This in itself was not too tricky for most of the music teachers in the room, but would definitely be tricky for some students. Eventually we put it with a partner (clap replaced with a 2 hand partner "high five"). Then it got really tricky- and more similar to Rooster. We were asked to replace a beat of the ostinato with a snap. Just like rooster it started with no replacement, then we replaced the clap for the next time through the pattern, then the rt shoulder, then then lft shoulder, etc. If you do it correctly, each beat gets replaced once before the final clap-snap! I hope to make a video of this soon- but I have to practice!
Land of the Silver Birch: For this one we added a cup game that uses 2 cups! Check out this blog post I wrote in march that explains it in detail- there is even a video! It is the same directions as Ludaim. Hint: Use cups of 2 different colors because the cup that starts in your left hand will NEVER leave you the whole game!
My Paddle Keen and Bright: For this warm-up we added a handclap game that can be done in cannon. It is super fun. I actually learned this one in Hungary in 2013 from Lucinda Geogohan but kind of forgot about it so I am excited to bring it back to my students- they love this song. The pattern is basically: tap rt shoulder, tap left shoulder, tap rt leg, tap left leg (all eighth notes) then Clap, Hit right hands with partner (or person to your left if doing in a round), Clap, Hit both hands with partner (across from you in round), Clap, Hit left hands with partner (or person to your right if doing it in a round). All claps and hits are to the quarter note pulse. The round sung at 2 beats (My paddle, my paddle).
Note: Hey Ho, Land of the Silver Birch, and My Paddle can all be sung at the same time! Super fun challenge for younger kids and it would be awesome in a folk-song program-games and all.
We also did some fun physical dance like warm-ups. 2 of my favorites are explained below. One involves singing, one is just to get the students up and moving.
Gypsy Rover: We did the dance as a warm-up with the basic song before we went into
learning a more complicated choral arrangement of the piece. I LOVE
this idea! This one is a super fun folk-dance type movement that is done in a circle with every other person being labeled a 1 or a 2. It is pretty advanced so don't make it the first folk dance you ever teach! I will try to explain the best I can because it was awesome.
I will refer to partner 1 and partner 2 throughout. Partner one is the person to a 1s right or 2s left. Partner is the opposite.
The Gypsy Rover came over the hill- 1s: Walk forward 4 beats then wait 4
2s: Wait 4 beats then walk forward 4
Down through the valley so shady- 1s: Walk backward 4 beats then wait 4
2s: Wait 4 beats then walk back 4 (all should be back to start)
He whistled and he sang: All Clap, pat partner 1, clap, pat partner 2 (on beat)
'Til the green woods rang: Clap, snap, clap, pat both partners (on beat)
And he won the heart of a lady: Swing partner 1 for 4 beats, then swing partner 2 for 4 beats.
*Ladeo, Ladeo, O-a-day: Walk forward 4 beats bent forward
*Ladeo, O-a-day-dee: Connect arms to make arches and walk backwards
He whistled and he sang... (til end of song): Grand R+L switching every 4 beats. You end on the 5th person you meet as your new partner 1.
*Note: If the Ladeo part is sung in cannon (1s first then 2s) The actions form a sort of basket weave where 2s are going forward under 1s arched armed as they move back. Adds a really fun visual element!
Russian Dance from The Nutcracker Suite: This one didn't involve singing but I will definitely be using it in general music (or asking the sub to since I will probably be out most of December). It was very simple and FUN!
Formation: Standing in circle
A Section: Moving to the right: step, step, hop, walk 4 beats then repeat to the left (x2)
B Section: Walk around self to the right 8 beats then run in place for 4 beats repeat to the left
C Section: Pat the accents on your legs (1, 1, 1-3, 1-2-3-4)
A Section- Just once!
Coda- Count to 12 then clap!
(Want other Nutcracker Ideas- check out this post!)
Here are some other fun gems I learned from Dr. Nemes in Hungary a few years ago:
All warm-up the voice, musicianship, AND concentration :)
Physical Sing Counting:
Sing count the following pattern: d'-s-m-d
Start by singing each note 8 times (d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-'d-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-, etc.)
Then sing each 4, then each 2, then each 1
Motions: On d'- touch toe, s-touch knees, m-touch stomach, d-touch shoulders
Body Percussion Patterns:
Make patterns with the following motions (relate them to songs in your rep!)
Ta-quarter note- Jump
Titi-beamed eighth notes- 2 claps
Tika-tika- 4 beamed sixteenth notes- patsch
Ti-tika [eighth beamed with 2 sixteenths]- hit chest then snap 2x (or opposite for tika-ti)
quarter rest- tap head
Follow Along Partwork:
Play two parts on the piano and then have students sing along with their own part (make as easy or hard as your chorus can handle)
d d-r-d d-r-m-r-d d-r-m-s-m-r-d d-r-m-s-l-s-m-r-d
Sing pattern as written above
To challenge students have them clap on mi (or pat re, or touch shoulders on so)- inner hear mi instead of singing it
Add another inner hearing note as they master (clap on mi AND touch shoulders on so, etc.)
Eventually students should be inner hearing r-m-s while doing actions and only singing do and la
I hope you got some new ideas for warm-ups! I know I plan on being really intentional with all warm-ups chosen this year! Don't forget to check out part 1- Auditions and the first rehearsal HERE! Part 3 is on teaching repertoire is also up. See that one HERE. Part 4 is on picking and preparing music for your rehearsal and you can read that one HERE.