Claps and Snaps

Warm-up the body, the voice, and the ensemble. That's my motto when it comes to structuring my vocal technique time. My go to body warm-up guaranteed to start class off on the right foot? Claps and Snaps.

This is always one of the first exercises I teach at the beginning of the year to hook my students right away. To teach, I follow a sequence of "my turn, your turn," and have everyone echo my snaps/ claps in groups of two. Once I've gone through the entire thing, I'll repeat in larger chunks until they can go all the way through slowly. 

Then, we add the accompaniment. 

I start off by explaining what to listen for so everyone knows the cue to start, and sing the accompaniment as I model claps and snaps all the way through. We do it together while I sing so they can watch me for a model, and then I let them try it with the piano.

Once your students get the basic sequence down, you can add the variations:

  • first partner

  • second partner

  • both sides

This is great for engaging students with the steady beat, and getting them to FEEL tempo. In this video, you can notice that I adjust the tempo each time.

Some additional variations that are fun to add:

  • accelerando

  • ritardando

  • crescendo

  • decrescendo

  • call out dynamics (pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, etc.)

If you're brave enough, you could even add a scramble option, and have them walk around the room until they hear the cue, and partner up with who they are closest to!

Edit: Here is the world's quickest transcription of what I'm playing on the piano as accompaniment. Click here for a word doc. version of this music. In between each round, you just repeat the first measure as many times as you want. Teach your students to listen for the bass line in the second measure, which cues them to start on the downbeat of measure 3. Play with tempos, and feel free to transpose up/down in between rounds (I'm lazy on this one, and usually just stay in C Major...but you do you!)

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