Teaching little children to sing (K-1st grade)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,299
    At the Cafe.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Mary Ann
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,911
    A few thoughts:

    1. I agree. There is so much you can teach this age group, and it is a key age where foundations of singing can be laid that will last a lifetime.

    2. Imagery is good, but so are appropriate technical terminology. For example, at this age, you want the children to match pitch (INTONATION), and to stand up straight (POSTURE), and to remember to use their breath to sing (BREATHING). Even when discussing "a beautiful silver cloud right here above our heads," (HEAD REGISTER), you could simply use the term with an appropriate model of what it means. It’s better that they learn the right terms for things sooner rather than later, it’s just important to remember that they’re not going to be holding back the breath (APPOGGIO) just yet, etc. so it’s not necessary to delve into those topics, and therefore the terminology.

    3. That can be effective, depending on individual teaching style. Sometime, a teacher can find it difficult to get the students back to order after allowing the “free play,” as some students won’t want to relinquish it. I personally do not allow this type of thing in the classroom, but again it mainly depends on personality and individual teaching style.

    4. Yes.

    5. Solfeggio is one of the integral building blocks to singing technique and should be studied at the earliest opportunity. I agree with the article on this point. I begin solfeggio training in Kindergarten and it continues well into middle school. By the end of Kindergarten, the students should be able to sing the entire scale DO-DO. End of first grade, they should be able to sing the entire scale, but with the addition of low SI and high RE, possibly MI. (I use fixed DO for this).

    6. I disagree with this point: I know many 5 and 6 year olds that can find the correct page, but whether they can read anything on it or not is another story. Mostly when teaching singing to this age group (5-7 years of age), it is not necessary to have a book in the hands of the students. They can memorize just fine. (OH NO! I USED THE BAD “M” WORD!!!) My technique is to start by having them memorize just the text first, without the music. When they can recite the words, then I put the music with it. They’re more likely to stumble over the words than the pitches at this point, so the text is key. I deliberately skip the step of teaching the music using solfeggio first, because the solfeggio syllables are like a second layer of text and represents a further stumbling block for children of this age. It is good for them to study songs using just the solfeggio, and the ideal of teaching text and tune separately using solfeggio for the tune is still valid and will still work. However, it is also important to realize that it is not worth confusing the students further, especially if they have limited experience.

    7. Again, another good observation. Kyries also tend to be easier, melodically, and therefore more approachable for students of less experience and less ability. They are good gateways into the world of chant. The part about standout singers intoning a Kyrie in Kindergarten or first grade is not feasible in most places, unless you have a child who is particularly gifted in music and can demonstrate the ability to do the job. Most children in this age group will be either not experienced enough or too shy to sing by themselves. It would be more feasible for a group of standout singers to sing the intonation of a Kyrie by themselves.

    8. Yes, this is called rote teaching and is a particularly effective method of teaching music to this age group, or any group of singers who have not had much experience.

    9. Correct, as the students will be able to mimic another human voice better than a piano anyway. To provide myself with a pitch reference should it be necessary, I usually use the piano, but when I don’t want to have that between myself and the students (yes, a piano creates a physical barrier between you and the students: try teaching without using the piano, and see how differently the group responds to you), I just use a recorder as a pitch pipe.

    If anyone has any other specific questions on teaching music, please feel free to PM me, as I am a professional music teacher in a Catholic school.
    Thanked by 3Kathy CCooze Mary Ann