To celebrate Music Education Solutions® 10th Birthday, we’re posting our top ten tips for different aspects of music education each month during 2018! This month’s Top Ten gives advice on leading singing in the classroom, and is written by Dr Elizabeth Stafford.
- It’s about THEIR singing not YOUR singing. You don’t have to be an amazing singer yourself to help your pupils sing better. (In fact some of the best known choral conductors are pretty average singers!)
- Confidence is key. Fake it till you make it – if you act like you know what you’re doing, your pupils won’t question you, even if you feel more Florence Foster Jenkins than Florence Welch!
- Singing is a physical activity. Get your class warmed up by doing some PE style starters to get them moving, and encourage them throughout your session to put real physical energy into their singing.
- Vocal warm ups don’t have to be scales. You can sing a simple song, play a singing game, make random noises, anything that gives your voice a little workout before singing.
- Invest in the best resources. Nothing makes a singing session fall flat like repertoire with twee words that your Granny used to sing when she was at school. Try Out of the Ark, Edgy Productions, and Sing Up, for some really exciting, up-to-the-minute repertoire.
- Careful of your posture. Your pupils don’t always have to stand up to sing, but if they do sit down, make sure they’re not tilting their heads up to see you or the whiteboard. Their chins should be at a natural level, not pointing upwards, so you need to make sure that any resources you use, including your own conducting, are at eye level.
- Use your hands. You don’t have to conduct like a maestro, but just showing where the tune goes up and down with your hands can be an enormous help to your pupils when they’re learning how a song goes.
- Take a deep breath. Almost every common singing problem can be headed off by taking a lovely relaxed deep breath before you start each line. Encourage your pupils to breath into their tummies (yes, we know this is biologically impossible!) rather than raising their shoulders when they breathe.
- Don’t be American! Unless you are American, in which case continue as you were! Encourage your pupils to use their own accent to sing (they don’t have to put a posh English one on either!), as this will keep them relaxed and result in a better overall sound
- Enjoy it! Singing is meant to be fun!
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