Physical and Vocal Exercises


These simple exercises are great to use at the beginning of the session, or as a break between activities. Kids particularly love sighing and making faces!

  1. Breathe in slowly through the nose. sigh, louder and louder on each out-breath. Add shoulders (hunched on the in-breath, dropped on the out-breath) then knees (bend them on the out-breath).
  2. Massage your scalp and face with your fingertips. Grin widely, stick out your  tongue, then finish with a big yawn.
  3. With softly-closed fists, gently ‘pummel’ your chest (preferably with an accompanying ‘Tarzan’ noise!), shoulders, tummy, thighs and anything else you can reach.


Pick two or three of these vocal exercises to warm up your student’s voices before singing.

  1. A classic ‘Do Re Mi’ choir warm up from www.thechoircoach.comDo Re Mi Choir Warmup
  2. Hum a major scale to the fifth, using the pattern 1-2-1-3-1-4-1-5-1-4-1-3-1-2-1, and sliding between the notes. Move the starting note up or down by a semitone and repeat. Sing an arpeggio using the pattern 1-3-5-4-2-(7)-1. Sing the pattern twice, first to a legato ‘oo’ then a staccato ‘ah’. Move the starting note up or down by a semitone and repeat.
  3. Pick a fricative consonant such a ‘v’ and pulse five times on it. Start loud and get softer, or vice versa. Work through other fricative consonants: ‘j’ (as in “vision”), ‘z’, ‘th’ (as in “there”).
  4. Sing a descending major scale to ‘ninga ninga, ninga ninga, ninga ninga, ning …’ (Breathing halfway through). Move the starting note up or down by a semitone and repeat. Focus on getting plenty of tone in the ‘ng’ sound and keeping the halfway breath quick and silent.
  5. Start on a single held note to “ah”. Moving only your lips (not your tongue), change the vowel sound to “oh” then “oo” then back again. Then start on “ah” again and, moving only your tongue, change the vowel sound to “eh” then “ee” then back again. Focus on keeping the “ah” space in the mouth and throat and not “pinching” the sound when you change vowels.
  6. “Hoo – oh – oo” is a great singing warm-up exercise to get children’s voices to bridge an octave. The “Hoo” is high and open, the “oh” is big and low. Dropping a whole octave really gives you the feeling of the different voice registers.Hoo oh oo

Rhythm Game

This is a great way to refresh and refocus between musical activities.

Start by clapping to a steady pulse. Change by: padding thighs, clapping hands and click each finger. E.g: pad, pad, clap, clap, clap, click, click. Once this is mastered, on the clicks student’s can say their name and a word that starts with the same letter (there could be a theme e.g. animals/ something from nature). Keep it going by varying the rhythm and order of pads, claps and clicks!