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Composing Choral Warm-ups Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-MUS0001
Author: Deborah Elaine Stephens
School or Affiliation: Pine Knot Middle School, Pine Knot, Kentucky
Endorsed By: Kwabena D. Ofori-Attah, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky Date: 1994

Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8


  • Arts/Music

Overview: The students will compose their own warm-ups for chorus, using basic musical skills and awareness of the voice as an instrument.


1. The students will be able to compose sixteen (16) measures of a melody for warm-up purposes.
2. The students will be able to write their melodies on staff paper with correct pitch, rhythm, dynamics, etc.
3. The students will be able to sing the melodies by reading the notation.
4. The melodies will have value as a learning tool in the chorus class.

Materials: staff paper, pencil, keyboard instruments, pitch pipe or other instruments to help determine staff position and pitch

Activities/Teaching Strategy:

1. Hum your melody. Remember to keep your melody within a comfortable range for singing. Warm-ups are a technique to extend the range and resonance of voices. Your melody may emphasize an interval used frequently in singing or even an interval you or your section have problems with. It may go stepwise ascending or descending or you may want various vocal sections to hold specific tones to form a chord at the end. You may also consider a very simple melody that uses a difficult or challenging rhythmic pattern. Various musical techniques such as staccato, legato, changing dynamics, etc. may also be incorporated.
2. Write down the pitch names of your melody and then put the pitches on staff paper using correct rhythms and note position.
3. Choose a vowel sound/s for your melody. (ee, ih, en, ay, aah, aw, oh, oo, uh) You may want to add a consonant beginning and/or ending.


1. Each student will have written at least sixteen (16) measures of a simple melody for warm-ups.
2. The pitch, rhythm, and range are correct.
3. The melody is singable.
4. The student is able to explain the purpose of the warm-up – rhythmic, melodic, specific vowel or consonant sound, legato, staccato, dynamics, etc.

Tying It All Together:

1. Sing your melody from the notation. Have a friend, the entire class, or your section sing your melodic warm-up.
2. Choose a different student warm-up each week that utilizes a concept to be taught in the chorus class. The warm-up should be presented by the composer and an explanation should be presented by the student composer as to the concepts covered in the warm-up.