This post was written at the pandemic's beginning when I moved my small group class online. I continue to (willingly) teach online and still use these lesson strategies for fun and engaging introductory singing lessons.
Hi friends and colleagues.
Yesterday I had my first Singing Club Class online using zoom. It went very well, and I wanted to share some cool things that the kids enjoyed. This is a small group (only 5 girls) for 45 minutes.
First, I welcomed everyone into my zoom room and helped parents get set up. We had to fix little problems, but parents were happy to help. It was nice to say hi to moms and dads! (They are missing friends too.)
Once we got started, I let the kiddos know that we were going to have some fun getting used to singing online. I told them not to worry if the video gets stuck or if they can't always hear well. We were going to go slowly and figure things out!
The first thing that I did was to give everyone a moment to say hi and tell everyone what they have been doing at home. They were happy to share!
Then I muted all the kids and led them in simple stretches and a fun warm-up of the Pizza Hut Song. I couldn't hear them, but I could see the smiles and giggles as they sang along!
We then reviewed singing the major scale using the tonic sol-fa hand signs. I only gave them the starting note, and we sang acapella. (I don't use the piano in the class, so this is nothing new for them.) Then I asked for volunteers to try it by themselves. They all put up their hands, so everyone sang and signed the scale. (I unmuted the mics as their turn came up!) It was a GREAT review because they don't have the hand sign cards on the wall like in my studio.
Then we played our ear-training game. They needed a chair, I play the chords on the piano twice. They stand up when they hear major, sit down when they hear minor, cover their eyes when they hear diminished...lots of smiles and giggles.
I then introduced The Cactus Song.
I asked if they had any succulents or cacti in their houses and shared some cool fun facts about cactus. (Seriously, Cacti are BADASS plants! Like, some cacti are so heavy, if they fell on you, you would DIE.)
I taught the melody in very short phrases by rote, no piano needed. I went SUPER SLOOOOOW.
I used hand signs for more challenging bars and asked the kiddos to clap the rests. Yes, there was lag, it did not matter.
Kids are going to color the cactus page and show everyone next week.
Then I played the super fun backing track and asked them to listen (active listening) to the different instruments (piano, oboe, shaker, ukulele, and bass) I asked them to tap to the beat. Lots of smiles and bopping around to the music! I have emailed the track to parents for more fun at home.
Then at the end of the class, they all grabbed their pets for a show and tell. (hilarious, poor cats and hampsters being thrust into the camera. One student doesn't have a pet, but she has a baby sister, so she was shared with the group. LOL! )
I have received emails and texts from parents thanking me for making their kids sing and smile. They appreciate the effort and the opportunity to see their friends and continue to learn and sing during this stressful time. One parent said, "I actually was able to sit alone with a cup of coffee for 15 minutes of peace."
On my end...the sound was not the best. Actually, it was bloody awful. I could hear some kids more than others, background noise was an issue. One kiddo turned off her video by accident. Siblings talking and crying in the background was a drag. Remembering to mute and unmute was annoying and frustrating, I am freaking tired. But none of that matters. The kids had fun, and parents are appreciative.
I hope this helps. We have incredible opportunities to help families right now. Happy (online) Singing! ❤️ ~ Nikki
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