Who doesn't love to sing while driving? These fun and simple games can fill your mobile-on-wheels with tunes as creative as your whole car load combined.
Once again, do you have to "practice" in your room with the door closed in order to improve your musical skills? Not always! Practical music skills are most often built through common use and joyful interaction. Why not turn the next car ride with family or friends into an opportunity to improve musically together?
The 9 game ideas below are listed in order of difficulty. On longer car rides, you could even try all the games one after the next for a full practice routine.
Section 1: Voice Strengthening Games
1. Be a Bee
Buzz like bees -- the louder the better! First fly ("bzzzzz") in a straight line on the same note, then change the pitch to fly upward then drift downward, smoothly back and forth. This is a gentle warm-up for vocal cords. As you warm up more and more, your bee swarm will be able to zoom up higher and swoop down lower. Hold each buzz for as long as you can, and even have contests for who can hold their buzz for the longest time.
Put your hands on your belly and laugh as hard and as deeply as you can. Maintain a steady beat with each burst of air, everyone together. Say "Ho, ho," and "Ha, ha," with strong movement. This is a diaphragm-strengthening exercise. Slight muscular soreness at first is a sign of good practice going on. The fun of this game is seeing who is the last person to "actually" laugh.
Choose a favorite tongue-twister to put to song. In singing it together, let the mouth open wide to help the words come out clearly. Start with a rhythmic chant on the same note, progressing to a simple melody if desired. This is an exercise for articulation. Control of the tongue allows for more resonance in the mouth and helps listeners better understand any words when they are sung. See how fast everyone can sing each tongue-twister without any tongues stumbling.
Section 2: Melodizing Games
4. Melody Memory
One person sings one note. The next player echoes it back, and adds one more new note after it. Thus the melody goes around, being built longer and longer until the whole melody can't be remembered anymore. Decide whether you use the same syllable for all the notes ("La," or "Da," etc.) or, for more of a challenge, if each new note gets a new syllable.
Take an existing poem and create a melody for it. Each new person sings the next line and gets to decide how their line's melody sounds. Keep a steady beat in the background with claps or taps or stomps so that every singer must keep in time. Think "popular song" and make it simple, using a similar melody to the line before yours with only slight variation.
6. Phone Numbers
Memorize people's phone numbers by singing them as pitches of the major scale. 1=Do(C), 2=Re(D), 3=Mi(E), 4=Fa(F), 5=So(G), 6=La(A), 7=Ti(B), 8=Do(highC), 9=Re[highD], 0=rest. (If you'd like help finding what note each note of the scale would sound like, you can download a free piano app or tuner app.) Some phone numbers are easy to sing, some are quite difficult. The more people in your car, the more everyone can help each other out!
Section 3: Harmonizing Games
7. Tuning (Harmonizing Level 1)
The first person sings one note (any note) and holds it. (Whenever they run out of breath, start the note again). One by one, each next singer adds in on the same note. The goal is that everyone is singing the same note in such perfect tune that no one's voice stands out -- it's as if it's all "one voice."
8. Chord Building (Harmonizing Level 2)
The first person sings one note (any note) and holds it. One by one, each next singer adds a different, harmonizing note. The goal is to find as many different notes as there are people and have them all build a chord that sounds pleasing to everyone.
9. Harmonic Rhythm Section (Harmonizing Level 3)
This game works the same as levels 1 & 2, only instead of singing long tones, sing fun syllables in rhythms (e.g. "Go," "Be," "Hey," etc.). Establish a steady beat with tapping feet or hands. Each singer can then use their own rhythm that fits in, or everyone can keep to the same, unified rhythm. Once you get the feel for it, this Harmonic Rhythm Section game can sound truly thrilling.
Questions or additional thoughts on the games above? Leave a comment!
An accomplished performer on over 20 instruments, Danika finds the greatest joy by sharing her love of music with others. She is a recording artist and trusted music mentor who writes and composes from her California country home.