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Buzzing chords

Practise your vocal skills by doing these easy and interactive vocal warm-ups.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Device to play music
Instrument instructions
PDF – 84.3KB

Part 1

  • Ensure that anyone who plays an instrument outside Scouts brings it in to share what exercises they play on it. Make time for them to share these during the session.
  • Explain to everyone that the voice is an instrument, and just like playing the piano or guitar, anyone can use their voice to make music.
  • Ask if anyone has ever shouted or screamed for a long time? How did their voice feel afterwards? (Sore throat, couldn’t talk).
  • Explain that it’s important to look after the voice. Shouting can strain it and so can singing for a long time. To help avoid hurting your voice, it is important to warm up before doing a lot of singing. Vocal warm-ups are gentle exercises to start using your voice to help prepare you for singing.
  • Ask everyone to join in (and follow these instructions showing how to do the exercises):
    1. Imagine there is a bee buzzing around on the other side of the room. What sound would the bee make? Remember that it is on the other side of the room, so it will be quiet buzzing.
      • The group should start making a quiet buzzing sound.
    2. The bee is getting closer to them.
      • The buzzing sound should start getting louder.
    3. The bee starts flying up and down in front of them.
      • As on a scale, the buzzing sounds low, when the ‘bee’ is closer to the ground.
      • The buzzing gets higher when the ‘bee’ goes up.
    4. They see the bee in front of them and catch it in their hands. What would the bee sound like?
      • They cup their hands together and start making a low buzzing sound.
    5. The bee escapes, so they all have to open their hands while loudly doing a surprised/confused noise: ‘HUUUUH?’
    6. Then they realise the bee is happy and safe buzzing away, so they all say (relieved with a relaxed open mouth): ‘Aaaaahhh…’

Part 2

  • Explain: when we speak, different tones and noises come out of our mouths. Music tries to convert these tones into symbols (musical notes) so that everyone can understand and play them (that’s why music is studied). Using this system, humans can repeat series of notes and combine them in specific ways, making up songs. Now the group is going to do a tone scale warm-up.
    1. (Optional) Using a music-playing device, you could play the audio (see assets) and everyone can imitate the tones.
    2. If you don’t have a music-playing device, demonstrate the exercises. Participants can be your ‘echo’, imitating your pitch and tone. Sing a phrase that combines long vowel sounds with consonants: ‘MAAA, MEEE, MYYY, MOOO, MUUU,’ for example.
    3. Travel one step up or down the scale as you repeat the phrase of vowels, changing the consonant you use for each new step of the scale. If you are not confident to lead this, maybe someone in the group who is learning an instrument could lead or a parent or helper with some experience. ‘MAAA, MEEE, MYYY, MOOO, MUUU’ might become ‘TAAA, TEEE, TYYY, TOOO, TUUUU’.

Reflection

Congratulations on your efforts on practising your musical skills! Did you experience how practising made you better? How did this make you feel? (Emphasise the importance of practicing things – we won’t always be good at things to start with.) Do you play any instrument? If so, how do you warm up?

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.