Here’s an easy little vocalize that can help your singers work on engaging the diaphragm, connectedness, and smoothing their break.
The arpeggio is of a broken major triad, with the root as the highest and the lowest note.
“Hi Hi Hi” is supposed to be pronounced like the vowel in “heat”, not like “Hi, how are you.” You could have them sing on the “Hi, how are you” type “hi”, but that vowel is not a pure vowel. It’s made up up of the sounds “ah” as in “father” and “i” as in “heat”. So, it’s not the best vowel to use when trying to encourage the production of pure resonant vowels.
When singing on “hi” as in “heat” the goal should be to sing the notes staccato or disconnected. The action should come from the diaphragm, so make sure to inform your singers of this. The stops should not come from the throat because that creates unwanted tension.
You can also have your singers work on singing legato or connected. For this I suggest singing on “Ah.” This will expose the break in the voice because the phrase covers a fairly wide range… an entire octave. In order to work on smoothing the break tell your choir to try to not change the way any notes are sung within the phrase. Try to stay in either the lower or upper register. At the same time don’t use a lot of force to do it because you don’t want to create any undue muscle tension.
The exercise can also be used to work on dynamics. You can have your choir crescendo up to the fourth note and the decrescendo down to the last note. You can also vary the level of dynamic change with each repetition. Some could start really soft (pp) to really loud (ff), others medium loud (mf) to really loud (ff). You get the idea. Dynamics can be incorporated into either the staccato or legato variations.
You could also mix the legato and staccato components. Legato on the way up and staccato and the way down or vice versa. Or you could do the entire exercise in marcato, where each note is accented but there isn’t a break in the sound.
The exercise can move up or down the keyboard. It’s up to you.
As you can see, there are lots of options for this basic vocalize. Enjoy!