There are many understandable reasons why a student may not be able to participate in their lesson with their singing voice. Illness or injury is apparent; however, a mindful teacher may consider anxiousness and fatigue. Furthermore, while the pandemic helped many of us to become experts in facilitating online lessons, even our remote learners may need a non-singing lesson plan.
Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking a productive singing lesson requires endless song. Before I list the many no-singing activities, It is helpful to remind students and families that comprehensive vocal lessons are MORE than just singing*.
Non-singing activities are essential to help our singers develop musicianship skills. I have a reminder in my lesson policies, and I encourage teachers to communicate this to families to avoid unnecessary cancellations.
Productive and comprehensive lessons include non-singing activities such as music theory, rhythm reading and lyric and score discovery. Discovering new music or discussing performances is an essential part of learning to sing. Lessons may be facilitated online if students are unwell, but still able to learn ~ from the FULL VOICE Studio Lesson Policy
(*Edited to add - Endless lecturing is not a recommended teaching strategy. More singing, less talking whenever possible!)
Students who are new to lessons may not be ready for singing activities. Be patient and kind. Allowing students to enjoy some music-related games and no singing music-related activities to get them started will help them feel safe and welcome in your studio. Here are some simple activities to get them going
Students who are recovering from illness or injury may be eager to return to singing activities, but after a few bars of vocalization it may be obvious to the voice professional that further rest is needed. Here is an opportunity to teach students about vocal care and hygiene, and to encourage them to explore non-singing activities. This is when I like to:
Do you always feel like singing? I certainly don't. Sometimes a different lesson can shake things up and help a student refresh and regroup. If you have a student who is emotionally or physically fatigued a non-singing lesson might save the day (and prevent them from dropping out of lessons!)
In sickness and in health, having a large teaching toolbox with musically challenging activities will service you and your students well.
HAPPY NO SINGING!
Need some no singing activities? Check out \The NO SINGING Lesson plan and worksheets below!