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Create A Vocal Workout For The Articulators

Ontario teachers Claire Broome, Colin Oliver, and Carmelina Martin put together this awesome exercise that gets students to create their own vocal workout. Thank you so much for letting us share it here!

What is an Articulator?

Articulation is the act of vocal expression. Making sound, the volume of that sound, pronouncing words. The tone, quality, and pitch of those words. To speak articulately is to speak clearly. Articulators include the lips, teeth, tongue, jaw and palate.

Fixed articulators remain still during speech- for example, the teeth. Active articulators move to produce sound- for example, the tongue. There are other factors to speaking clearly, such as posture. Good posture increases breath capacity and sustainability, both of which are needed to make sound.

Exercise: Articulator Warm-Up

Having a clear voice is important for any actor. If an audience is to understand a play, they need to understand the actor. Warming up the voice by exercising the articulators will help actors to speak clearly. In this exercise, students will create their own articulator warm-up. They will put together a song using lines that exercise different articulators. Remind students that articulation is not just about making sound- they must think about their volume, the variety of sound (loud, soft), the clarity of their speech, and good posture.

Performance Tasks

1. Choose 2 or 3 lines from each category below and arrange the lines into a simple jingle or song that everyone can sing. (Note: Camp songs work well.)
2. You can repeat the lines as many times as you need to. For example, if your song has a chorus, your lines will be repeated.
3. Write out a copy of your song.
4. Memorize the song.
5. You will perform the memorized articulation warm-up for an evaluation.


Lip Exercises

  • Bubble, babble, pebble
  • Rub-a-dub-dub
  • A big brown bear
  • Hip hop, tip top, tip top, popcorn
  • Puh-tuh-kuh-buh-duh-huh
  • Plum pie
  • Lonely man in the moon
  • Roo-roe-rah-ray-ree

Tongue and Teeth Exercises

  • Five fifths
  • Give gifts
  • Vicious villain
  • Tay tee tie toe too
  • Day dee die do doo
  • Loo low law lah lie lay lee
  • Thigh thin thick thud thumb thank
  • Though thou thy they there
  • See say sigh sew soo
  • Zoo zone zest zinc zeal
  • Ooh ohy ahy ayj eej
  • Ooth ohth ahth ayth eeth
  • Oosth ohsth ahsth aysth eesth
  • Oosths ohsths ahsths aysths eesths

Palate Exercises

  • Cut cubes in quarters
  • Ook ohk ahk ayk eek
  • Going ga-ga at the go-go
  • Kay key kar kur koo
  • Going out, coming in, yell ye, young men

Tongue Twisters

  • A bitter, British blizzard
  • Dimpled dolly dwelt with dappled deer
  • The frothing filly frisketh frantically
  • Six gray geese grazing on green grass
  • Horace’s horse was hampered by the hillock
  • Jolly Jimmy Jupiter jumpin in the gym
  • Cather cooked coffee in the coffee pot
  • Loitering along a long lonely lane
  • Peter picked pickled peppers
  • Tom peeped through three thick trees

Sample Articulator Warm-Up Song

(Sung to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it”)

Bubble, babble, pebble, rub a dub dub (clap, clap)

Bubble, babble, pebble, rub a dub dub (clap, clap)

Lonely man in the moon, five fifths, give gifts,

Loitering along a long lonely lane (clap, clap)

Click here for a PDF handout of this exercise including a rubric!
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