There are endless ways to encourage our singers to explore and warm up their voices using the theme of the spooky season. Here is my 45-minute lesson plan for my Online Singing Class Club (5 singers, 8 to 10 years of age) Note: You can use these activities with in-person lessons too.
I welcomed everyone into the zoom room - asking (yet again) for them not to be sitting on a bed while participating. I need my singers to be able to sit/stand/write and MOVE in the lesson. I give them time to find books, pencils, and music. (It takes a while to get them into the routine and set up properly, you can make it fun by playing some music on your end of the call and telling them they have to be ready before the music stops!)
I started with my favorite ear-training game, where I play triads and dominant 7 chords.
If they identify the chord as:
There are many Halloween tongue twisters. I always ask students if they have any favourite tongue twisters they would like to share. My student Sofia gave me this one, and it is by far one of the most challenging:
So, this is the sushi chef!
You can take ANY vocal exercise and turn it into an exploration of vocal modification. Playing with vowel sounds is important for our young singers. It helps them to understand how the vocal instrument works and how vowels can change our sounds.
Ask students to use their scariest OOOO vowel, their witchy-est EEEEE vowels, and sing MEEEEOOOOW on simple exercises. Bonus points for letting them sing WITHOUT the piano.
We have fabulous seasonal songs in our library. Because single-song downloads are reproducible, I sent the music to my families so they could enjoy it at home and (hopefully) perform it for families!
Learning new repertoire is more than just notes and rhythms!
Active listening activities are essential for the young singing student.
I played the orchestrated backing track (included in the download) and asked:
This spooky story was inspired by students in our vocal class. They asked if Donna could put their idea to music (and, Donna was thrilled to do so!) Thank you to Esther and Leah for this fabulous song.
Teacher Tip: I like to tell all my students that Esther and Leah helped to create this song. Many young students are interested in writing their own songs, which can inspire future composers!
Instead of just saying goodbye and logging off, I play a game called Sing-off to sign off. It is fun and simple. One by one, I sing a “riff” (I make them pretty silly). They have to sing it back to me, and then they can log out of the Zoom room. That way, I get to thank each student personally and congratulate them on a job well done.