Exercises for Beginners: Tongue Twisters

Tongue TwisterOne of my favourite kinds of warming up and technical exercises is tongue twisters. They’re great for warming up all of the muscles needed to form words when singing and help singers practice good diction and articulation (i.e. the ability to sing words so that the audience understands what they are).

If you’re new to tongue twisters, or new to singing, start by saying one slowly. Try this one:

How many boards could the Mongols hoard, If the Mongol hordes got bored?

Once you’ve mastered repeating it slowly, speed up gradually. Each repetition should be fractionally faster than the one before. As it gets faster, you’ll need to exaggerate the movements in your face to keep the words clear. Don’t do this where you can see yourself – you’ll end up laughing too much! Stop when the words become too muddled, and then have another go.

Once you’ve got the hang of saying them, the next challenge is to sing them. Pick a comfortable note and sing this one all on the same pitch:

Black background, brown background

Again, keep getting faster until the words become muddled. Repeat a few times before trying the last exercise.

The final way to use tongue twisters is to sing them over a pattern. For example, try singing this tongue twister

Seventy seven benevolent elephants

On a slightly higher note each time you repeat it, so you’re singing it once on each note in the pattern below:

Pentascale in G

Again, keep getting faster and repeating the words and the pattern in a circle until you can’t say the words clearly anymore!

You can use tongue twisters on any warm up pattern – scales, arpeggios, pentascales, pentatonic scales, anything you like!

If you need more ideas for tongue twisters, or want a list for sharing with students, you can grab my free tongue twisters printable by clicking this link: [purchase_link id=”1316″ style=”button” color=”inherit” text=”Purchase”]

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