What are some quick and easy drama warm-ups I can use to motivate my drama students.

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Answered by: Pamela, An Expert in the Drama Activities and Drills Category
Shuffling into your classroom at the end of the day, drama students can look like more like cattle at a stockyard than animated actors. Coax them back out of that passive attitude with some interesting, engaging and easy drama warm-ups. Start immediately as soon as the bell rings. Gather your students in a circle. Have them extend their arms out to their sides so that their fingertips touch one another. Students may need to take a step back in order to have enough space. Now have them drop their hands. They should now have plenty of space to do their easy drama warm-ups without leaning or chatting excessively.

Stretching - Start with the old-fashioned toe touch. Gets that blood rushing to their heads! Next have them roll up to a standing position, slowly, one vertebrae at a time. Once they are standing straight, instruct them to have their feet shoulder-width apart. Together, have them roll their shoulders in a backwards, circular motion. Posture should be perfect. Take a look around the circle. Correct slackers with a sense of humor.

Vocal Warm-ups – Next you train the voice. Work on projection. First, make sure they are breathing properly. Have them place their hands on their stomachs; then, they should take a deep breath in. As they breathe in, they should be able to see their hands rise on their stomachs. This motion means that they are lowering their diaphragms getting the maximum amount of air needed for diction and projection. Have them push out the air through clenched teeth so that they make a hissing sound. Challenge them to see how long they can hiss. This exercise teaches them how to control their breath. Now that they are breathing properly do the following vocal warm ups.

1.Yawn – Students should yawn while reciting the alphabet “a,e,i,o,u.” This exercise opens up the back of the throat.

2.Lip stretches - Students inhale and say “eee” as long as they can. Next, students inhale and say “Oh” as long as they can. You can repeat this exercise adding consonant sounds as you go “Bee-Bo,” “Vee-Vo” and so on. Teach them to open those mouths wide.

3.Tongue Twisters – Have students recite 4 or 5 tongue twisters such as, “Odd birds always gobble green apples in the autumn.” Tongue twisters are abundant. Pick your favorites. Challenge you students to find new one. Always end with the same tongue twister because goofy traditions such as this one seem to promote a “team spirit” with your acting students.

Concentration and Focus – End the easy drama warm-up session with a concentration exercise. My favorite is “Bing, Bang, Bong.” Students should still be standing in their circle. Pick a student to start. This student will point to another student in the circle and say, “Bing.” That student in turn points at another and says, “Bang.” Then that students points at another and says, “Bong.” This “Bing, Bang, Bong” process continues until someone freezes or makes a mistake. The student who makes a mistake is out. Continue the game eliminating students until you have a winner.

Begin drama class every day with these easy drama warm-ups. Eventually you will come up with your own variations to this template, finding new exercises for breathing, diction and concentration. Once the class learns the pattern, have students take turns leading warm-ups. Student lead warm-ups free you up to prepare for the lesson or to observe weak students and correct them. Easy drama warm-ups will train your young actors’ body, voice and mind for that next big performance.

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