VATW says 'Don't forget the parents!' + The power of vocal warm-ups

Don 't forget the parents
Parental involvement and especially parental permission are areas that vary enormously from school to school around the world. For VATW work, the most important of these two area is undoubtedly parental permission. We have been amazed by some countries we have visited where parental permission is generally taken for granted and seen as 'no problem.' However, in the vast majority of countries parental permission is needed before sending photos or video clips of young people to different organisations where the material may be circulated onto the Internet or used in publications. 

With a deadline such as our submission date looming, parental permission could easily be an area that gets forgotten. VATW strongly advises that you do not submit any media to us unless you are sure you have approval of the parents/guardians of the young people involved.

The power of vocal warm-ups
Firstly to say, any professional singer who is serious about what they do, would never ever dream of going on stage and performing without doing a significant amount of vocal warm-up. Some of the top professionals actually have vocal coaches on hand to help them with this. So equally it is just as important to provide vocal warm-up sessions for choir and student solo singers before they perform. This is DOUBLY true for preparing for vocal recordings where of course the tiniest vocal blip is likely to get fully magnified by the microphone. You can guarantee that in doing a good quality vocal warm-up, you will probably improve the singing quality and note accuracy by at least 50%. The vocal chords are one of the most amazing, delicate and sensitive parts of the human body. You will have probably realised or experienced that students get nervous before a performance and this causes a tightening up of the vocal chords. This will mean that without warm-up, they are likely to sing with a head voice/throat voice rather than invoking the power of the diaphragm to help the process. This will often lead to harsh sounding vocals that do not always hit notes accurately. The 'nerves' factor is often significantly increased when a recording session takes place -as this is something that may be new and unfamiliar - and exacerbates the tension in the vocal chords.

OK ...we get it! Warm-up is necessary. But which warm-up techniques????? Many books are written on the subject and you will find a mass of material on the internet.

Properly done, vocal warm-ups are fun and also serve to relax students and get them into the 'music is fun zone,' where you will undoubtedly find the best singing.  Here is an example of Dominic Peckham working with some headteachers at a conference.  You can see his techniques, gradually working towards getting the relaxed vocal performance. It also underlines the need to use the body as part of the vocal warm-up.

If you are not so familiar or confident about vocal warm-up techniques, check out these ones: 
Here is one on traditional choir singing lines However, one of the best we prefer is from Eric Arceneaux - he has a series of videos on YouTube here is the first one  Its a shame he tends to talk too much on his videos!!! But what he demonstrates is well worth the wait!  There are loads of good examples you will find just by googling 'vocal warm-ups.'  However, whichever ones you choose don't forget the importance of using the body.