Friday, March 1, 2013

Choir Builders by Rollo Dilworth

Sometimes I feel like a get in a rut with warm-ups for my choruses.  I often end up doing the same ones over and over every week.  I really wanted to get into making the warm-ups really applicable to the songs we would be practicing that day so I decided to go shopping for a warm-up book.  The teachers in my district suggested Choir Builders- Fundamental Vocal Techniques for Classroom and General Use by Rollo Dilworth and it is one of the best warm-up books I have come across so far.  It is published by Hal Leonard and comes with a CD of examples.  This book is split up into 5 Chapters: 1) Preparation, 2) Unison Building Songs and Exercises, 3) Unison (Opt. 2-Part) Building Songs and Exercises, 4) 2-Part Treble or Mixed Building Songs and Exercises and 5) 3 or 4 part Mixed Building Songs and Exercises.  Each example has a piano accompaniment in the back and there are also appendices including pictures of curwin handsigns, national standards, conducting patterns and more.

I typically use the 1st 3 chapters with my 5th and 6th grade chorus.

Above each of the 54 examples there are Focal Points listed,  an Explanation and performance notes, Expansion ideas or other ways to sing the examples, and Extension suggestions that can connect the examples to other subjects to make the warm-ups cross-curricular, or make them slightly harder.

Each of the singing warm-ups in this book have both lyrics written for them as well as the solfegge printed.  I love using solfegge with my choruses so it is a great warm-up before we work on our sight-reading piece.  Many of the examples have lyrics that give the students information on a musical concept- such as syncopation, a minor third, or diction.  

Many of these examples are really fun and my students ask for them again and again.  Favorites include: Soda Pop Cans, Hippety Hop, and Two Tigers Tango.  I also love the Rhythm Calisthenics which help with diction and getting those lips, teeth, and tongue moving.   They also warm-up the body with body-percussion examples.  There are examples in many time signatures, using many sounds and sirens to really get the students ready to sing.  I love doing these while setting up my keyboard in the gym for 5th chorus, because they can repeat after me and I don't need the piano just yet.

Rollo Dilworth has also published a shorter Choir Builders for Growing Voices with many more fun examples to warm-up young voices.  This one has more rounds and cannons and other Unison or 2-part exercises.

If you are in the market for warm-up ideas check them out!

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