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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Shaeffer

10 Engaging Choir Warm-ups/Brain Breaks for your Choir Rehearsal!

Updated: Feb 6

It's February and as everyone knows, February is the armpit of the school year. It's cold, there aren't many days off and it's an entire month until spring break. To break up the monotony, I wanted to provide some fun, engaging choir warm-ups to break up the usual routine and keep your singers energized and focused. Whether you're working with a beginning choir or an advanced ensemble, these warm-ups can be tailored to suit the needs of your group. I use all of these warm-ups in my music class and the students love them!


1. 4 Beats After Me

I start every rehearsal with 4 Beats After Me. This gets students focused on the director, keeping the beat, and on task. You can get very creative with the motions and have students lead the warm-up!




2. Scotland's Burning

Scotland's Burning is a great round to work on vowels, octave jumps, and diction. You can also add motions that make it a great team builder activity! The first video is my choir doing the activity together while the second is a 6th grade teacher and I attempting it with our eyes closed for an extra challenge! If you would like the pdf of this song, head on over to 10 Rounds for the Choral Classroom!




3. Dum Dum Song

This warm-up/brain break is a great activity for your choir to establish a steady beat. If your group is speeding up in songs, this kinesthetic activity will help. My students enjoy making up new motions to add to the Dum Dum Song. I originally saw this activity with the Minnesota Boys Choir.





4. Do-Mi-Sol-Do

This activity helps with skips and harmonic perception. It has many different variants and can be done in a round, pitches muted or at different speeds. I learned this warm-up at one of or MMEA sessions and have since fallen in love with it!




5. Alive Alert Awake Enthusiastic

This warm-up was brought to me from Bethany Main, an amazing elementary choir director in Kansas. Her classroom is so positive and this round helps reinforce what she wants her students to take from choir.




6. Throw Catch

I have seen this warm-up at many conferences but I didn't fall in love with it until I saw Lauren Vomund, one of our Jr. High Choir Directors, teach it to her choirs. She found it on the Musical Futures Youtube Channel. It's a great way to build harmonic perception and keep students focused.



7. Football Tires

Football times gives the students a second to have a brain break while also getting a lot of energy out in a short amount of time. The boys on the football team especially like this one. A great focus brain break!



8. Hey Burrito!

In college I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor for multiple summers. I learned dozens of camp cheers and have since started incorporating some of them in my warm-ups and brain breaks. The students love them!




9. Sevens

Students ask for 7's all the time! To teach the brain break, I split it up into 4 sections and then we put them all together at the end. Sometimes we will do races to see who can do 7's the fastest!



10. Eights

I remember learning 8's my freshman year of college. 8's is accessible for all age groups whether elementary, middle school or college and is a fun way to count together and get some energy out.



Incorporating these 10 fun and engaging warm-up exercises into your choir classroom can add a little energy into your rehearsals. Remember to adapt these warm-ups to suit the needs and skill level of your choir, and don't be afraid to get creative and add your own personal touch. By using engaging warm-ups, you can help foster a sense of camaraderie and unity among your singers. So go ahead, try out these warm-ups, and see which ones are your choirs favorites!


Looking for more choir rounds? Check out these 10 Rounds for the Choral Classroom!

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