10 Rounds for the Choral Classroom
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Rounds are an amazing way to get students of all ages to start singing in tune, build part independence, and improve aural skills. Below you will find 10 rounds that can be used for warm-ups in choirs from elementary age to high school. In the elementary setting rounds can be used in the general music classrooms to help prepare students for two part music. Additionally rounds in middle school and high school can be used to focus on intonation or other key concepts. Plus students highly enjoy them! The following rounds could be used as daily warm-ups or even during concerts.
Individual PDFs for each round can be obtained HERE
Ah Poor Bird is a great round to practice the "Ah" vowel as well as how to correctly sing the letter "R". When students start to really feel comfortable with this round have them stop and hold specific notes to tune up certain chords. This helps with student's focus as well as listening across the choir to additional vocal parts.
Choirs from elementary to high school love this round as a warm-up! Here is an honor choir that ended up adding a few elements and performing the round at a concert.
Belle Mama is great round to sing in a circle with your choir. Once they can sing in unison with proper vowels, split them into two circles and start the round. They can eventually be split into 4 circles. The video below adds audience participation for a neat effect.
One of my all time favorite rounds! I found motions to this round via the Barbershop Harmony Society's youtube page. One of their "Harmony University Warm-Up Series" had great motions for this round. I love how the presenter slowly adds more and more motions to the round. It gets a little crazy but so much fun! He starts teaching Scotland's Burning at around minute 3:45. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9tDhL6Chp4&t=243s
"Row Row Row Your Boat" is the first round I ever teach to a choir. This round can be taught as early as third grade. This piece can also be used as an audition piece for choir to test part independence.
I typically do this round around Halloween time. If you add really simple chords on the piano this round it goes a long way. Try to make it as creepy as possible. I use this one a lot with men's choir and they love it! This round can be used to work on diction and saying every word distinctly.
While technically not a round, these three mini partner songs can be sung together to help with part independence. To make it more engaging, add motions to each part and split the class into three sections. This will provide a way for your students to get out of their comfort zone and be expressive.
Little Tommy Tinker is a great round to work on diction and the "ah" vowel. Students may slide from the D to the A in the word "Mama" to make it more dramatic. Talk to student about what a clinker is and why the little boy is crying. Telling stories with rounds helps students connect to the piece.
The round "Music Along Shall Live" can be used to help teach word stress and phrasing. Many students will want to cut off the word "live" listen for that while teaching the round.
The round "I Love the Mountains" is a fun round that will easily get stuck in your student's head.
Frere Jacques is a great round to teach to a beginning choir. The English version of this round is titled "Are You Sleeping" or "Brother John". Either round will help your students learn how to sing multiple parts.