Singing as a viable teaching method

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Home Forums Pedagogy Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips Singing as a viable teaching method

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    Darlene Vandewater

    like I said, Neville– they are probably embarrassed!

    David J. Bell

    Silly me– I thought everyone had to sing (and clap in time) their etudes: “if you can’t sing/clap it, you probably can’t play it”. Of course, this over 40 years ago with an “Old School” teacher…

    David Bell
    Alexandria, VA


    What struck me immediately that I’ve yet to see mentioned, is that this was the *first* lesson. As a teacher of pre-college age kids, one needs to assess the student’s temperament. Once someone has made the commitment to become a music major,that’s a different story. Then they can be treated as adults from the first lesson.

    Singing is without a doubt 100% necessary, but give the younger students time to get to know you a bit. Don’t think you are going to completely change their way of playing in one lesson. That’s quite egotistical as a teacher. I let the student play quite a bit at the first lesson. I insist that they play things they are comfortable with. I then give my “opening day” lecture, which starts at the lower abdomen and goes upwards and outwards to the tips of the fingers. With a big general statement they don’t feel you are “picking” on his/her personal faults. Depending on the reaction I’m getting, I will usually mention which topic of my lecture we are going to work on first and recap that part of the lecture.

    Don’t forget, a 14-year old (or younger) has lots of time to learn and improve. Take it slowly!

    Phil Feather

    Lynn Hansen

    As a 30-year teacher of 7th, 8th and 9th grade band students I have to concur that singing aloud alone is one of the most intimidating, embarrassing tasks for early teens who are not in choir. I think Phil hit it on the head–it was the first lesson. There was no established relationship. Modeling for your students for a month or more would go a long way toward building trust and rapport before asking each one to expose their own vocal vulnerability. Singing is a great teaching technique. I wouldn’t give up on it, just modify when and how you introduce it. As for the young lady who quit after one lesson, with her parents’ permission I would have a follow-up conversation to apologize for making her uncomfortable and ask her to try lessons again without the pressure of singing aloud. Appeal to her love of making music on her bassoon and ask for a new beginning. And if this particular student comes back to lessons, I would continue to model the singing technique for her but I would never ask her to sing alone. Perhaps she would consider singing along with you–after months of building a trusting relationship. Don’t rush it or you’ll lose her again. Best of luck.

    Lori Olson-Putz

    I often use singing as the example for air production. If I want my oboists or bassoonists to play in the upper register, I use singing high as the example. The shift in the air flow to higher in the throat and roof of the mouth give the younger player a picture they can relate to. I assure them I am not asking them to sing in public or necessarily in tune, but at least I can see those eyebrows go up! I was raised with the “Sing, Drum, and Play” method by Froseth (sp?), so singing and beating patterns were fundamental.


Viewing 5 posts - 16 through 20 (of 20 total)

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