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I have an all school elementary/middle school choir grades 1-8 at one of my schools.  The kids sing in church pretty often, and perform a number of other times throughout the year.
They’ve been singing really nicely lately, their tone has really improved, and I’ve been very happy with the singing they have been doing.  Now that they’ve gotten more cohesive, I’ve really tried working with improving their technique.  A big area I’ve wanted to work on is their diction.  We’ve been doing quite a few warmups with diction lately.
1.  Repeated consonant warmups.
These are always a great way to start.  I always try to incorporate the consonants that are important in our lesson for the day, as well as T, and S.   A typical warm up might be
kkkkppppttttssssffffppppshhh   – Repeat.  No I didn’t lean on my keyboard!2.  Red Leather, Yellow Leather.
This tongue twister is perfect for y’s and l’s.  One of the pieces the kids are singing has several L’s in a row.  I I will have the kids sing this song a scale degree on one note at a time going up to 5 and back down.  It really helps limber up the lips and tongue.

3.  Many Mumbling Mice are Making Midnight Music in the Moonlight.  Mighty Nice.
If you don’t know this one it’s a good one.  This is also a great warm up for working with minor tonality.
The first 4 words are sung on Tonic, the next 6 on the Dominant.  Mighty Nice descends –  5, flatted 3rd, 1.

4. Any other variety of Tongue Twisters that work with the specific diction we are using that day.  

Now.  About these Carrots…..

So the last few times we’ve met, I’ve come up with a great analogy to help my students really remember to use good diction.

I describe two carrots for my students.
The first is a FRESH, right out of the ground and washed off carrot.  It is in season, and the most crunchy, juicy carrot you have ever tasted.

The second is an old carrot that was in the freezer too long.  It was then boiled, again too long.  And then mushed up into the consistency of baby food.

I ask the students which carrot they would prefer.  Of course, they would prefer the crunchy carrots.
I told them that their consonants need to be like the first carrot.  Mushy carrots are like mushy consonants when we sing.  It might be a carrot, but its a little bit uncertain because it’s too mushy!  It could be squash, or sweet potatoes, we just aren’t positive.  
This analogy really seemed to help them they last few times we’ve performed.  Before our last performance, I mimed the Bugs Bunny carrot chew to them before we started and I definitely noticed a difference!  


 

Melissa

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