LESSON PLAN: Vocal Warm Ups From Our Favorite Songs


Students will be able to use actual phrases, licks, and intervals that come from the music they love most as a vocal warm up to challenge and expand their range. This will help illuminate things they hear in the music the love.


Recordings of the songs your class is working on.

Vocabulary and Terms


  1. Listen in advance to a recording of a song you are working on with your class. Find an element of that song, a phrase or a couple of notes that happen over and over that you can use to make a vocal warm up.
  2. Play the recording for your class and point out the moment you have chosen to use as a vocal warm up. For this example we’ll use “Diamonds” by Rihanna. She sings: “Shine bright like a diamond” up and down the interval of a 5th at a pretty rapid tempo, not an easy thing for a singer to do. Even though it’s not the easiest vocal trick to do, students will have no problem because they already know how it sounds, coming from a song many are already familiar with.
  3. Take this “vocal lick” and move it up chromatically using a guitar or a keyboard. Repeat moving up the scale until the vocal range of your students has been sufficiently challenged. You could also decide to move the vocal lick you choose down chromatically helping students become aware of using their lower registers.
  4. Encourage your students to find vocal warm ups in the songs they like or other songs you’re working on. Incorporate these ideas into your classes when you can. Honoring students this way increases buy in, validates their musical identity and gives them confidence!

National Core Arts Standards (Music)

Anchor Standard #4: Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation. Anchor Standard #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work. Anchor Standard #9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.