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Teaching singing to KS1/KS2 age children advice required

teaching children singing

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#1 musicalmalc

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 11:24

I have been asked if I would consider teaching singing in some capacity to a couple of sisters. This would be pro-bono as the parents are in no position to afford lessons. Without going into details, I would be prepared to give it a try.

 

My background is around 45 years of singing in choirs, some solo work and a couple of years of lessons plus organ and piano playing, I have done some choir training before but not with young voices.

 

I haven't spoken to the parents yet to see what their expectations are but for now I am wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of typical resources that are used for this age group.

I can source suitable songs and do things like breathing, warm-up and pitching exercises but if there are common resources in use it would be useful to know).

 

Do you normally introduce music theory and score reading early on?

 

Are there any other things I should include in lessons (e.g. learning games)

 

OR

Should I decline outright? (I would be loathe to do this as I think some lessons, even from a novice teacher would be better than none.)

 

Any advice/info welcome


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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 12:21

My inclination would be to say "Run! Save yourself!" But that's just me - teaching primary age kids is not my thing.

I'd suggest dropping Cyrilla a line (as she's not on here so much at the moment) and/or looking into her Jolly Music books. I think they are aimed at school classes, but I'm sure you would find them useful.
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#3 Banjogirl

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 12:51

Ordinarily I would suggest to the parents that they find a good children's choir for their girls. In the current situation Cyrilla is definitely your best bet!
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#4 musicalmalc

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 13:52

Ordinarily I would suggest to the parents that they find a good children's choir for their girls. In the current situation Cyrilla is definitely your best bet!

I am fairly sure there isn't one locally. I will ask someone who used to run the music at a local primary school which used to have a good choir if she knows of one, although as you imply even if there is, they are unlikely to be running at the moment. In fact, I have just thought where there may be one, but I am not sure if the family have a car to get there.

 

Edit. - there is a children's choir fairly local which possibly would be ideal - certainly a lot cheaper than individual lessons at £5 per child per session and appears to be run well by a professionally trained singer. I can suggest that to them, although if they don't have a car it would be impossible and I don't know if even that amount is affordable. Thankfully I can ask indirectly via the person who approached me.


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#5 Banjogirl

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 14:45

When there was no choir locally for my singing boy I ended up starting one. After not very long a really fabulous children's choir started in our nearest city, which he went to. I carried on with my choir for about ten years though. Singing with children is so lovely.
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#6 musicalmalc

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 14:55

When there was no choir locally for my singing boy I ended up starting one. After not very long a really fabulous children's choir started in our nearest city, which he went to. I carried on with my choir for about ten years though. Singing with children is so lovely.

The local choral society started a children's choir last year but that was really driven by the MD and others working for free and she has now left to teach abroad (plus Covid). I doubt it will be resurrected although the idea is tempting. 


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#7 tangerine

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 15:30

The Trinity Initial and Grade 1 exam books have some great songs in them as does The National Songbook (pub Novello)

 

Their initial sight singing book is a good introduction too.


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#8 Latin pianist

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 15:38

I think I’d find out what the parents are expecting. I’m not a trained singing teacher but I’m pretty sure I could help young singers to enjoy singing. I would know where they should breathe and basic diction plus what dynamics to add. I wouldn’t think the parents have aspirations for them to become professional singers and if they did show great promise, they could then think about moving to a properly trained singing teacher. In my experience from accompanying singing exams, a lot of singing teachers don’t teach much in the way of score reading but you could use exam sight singing tests to help them with this.


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#9 Aquarelle

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 15:46

I agree that Cyrilla is probably your best bet; However you could also look at the Out of the Ark catalogue. Their songs are primarily for infant and  junior school children. They have books of songs and also musicals and nativity plays. I have used  several of their song books for my classes of French children learning English. They have always loved them. the styles are varied, the range well within the range of young voices and they deal with things children experience at home and at school. Their site is worth a visit and you can listen to extracts form their songs. Most of the books have an accompanying CD which can be useful for practice at home.


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#10 Banjogirl

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 15:47

I think I’d find out what the parents are expecting. I’m not a trained singing teacher but I’m pretty sure I could help young singers to enjoy singing. I would know where they should breathe and basic diction plus what dynamics to add. I wouldn’t think the parents have aspirations for them to become professional singers and if they did show great promise, they could then think about moving to a properly trained singing teacher. In my experience from accompanying singing exams, a lot of singing teachers don’t teach much in the way of score reading but you could use exam sight singing tests to help them with this.


Teaching them to sight sing would be about the single most useful thing you could do!

The Boy's singing teacher used to do a 'fun' activity where he wrote all the notes on the stave on the whiteboard. The Boy added random accidentals and note values, then they made up some silly words. And then he had to sight sing the weird intervals that were the result, in the right rhythm with the silly words.
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#11 Jubilada

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 21:32

I would definitely recommend finding out the expectations of both the parents and children. There is a lot you could do to encourage good singing as well as developing musical skills, but it is important not to push or strain young voices. The NYCOS singing games and rhymes books for early and middle years are an excellent resource and fun - admittedly some songs are for groups, but not all are. They not only help develop good pitching but teach musical concepts and rhythm. Worth looking at. Kevin Mayhew has songbooks for this age range  (Eg Songs Children Love to Sing),or look on Musicroom.com. 


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#12 Cyrilla

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 22:30

Hi musicalmalc - teaching musicianship through the medium of singing is my specialism - I'm not a singing teacher, but we use the primary instrument - the voice - through which to learn musical concepts and skills.

 

Kodály musicianship develops the ability to 'see what you hear and hear what you see' - invaluable, and sadly real musical literacy is something not often taught (or taught well).

 

I know of many conservatoire tutors who say that it's well-known that the singers have the worst musicianship - argh!   There's really no need for this to happen...but it does, partly because so many singers learn their repertoire by ear and so are not as au fait with notation as other instrumentalists.

 

If you drop me a private message I'll give you my email and we can have a chat. 

 

I would absolutely go down the 'musicianship through singing' line, and supplement that with some singing technique and learning of further repertoire.

 

:) 


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