17 Cumulative Songs for Children's Choir

17 Cumulative Songs for Children's Choir

Do you remember those songs we used to sing as kids that went on and on and on? That had what felt like a hundred verses, each one longer and sillier than the one before it?

This is the joy of a cumulative song.

From music class to road trips, playgrounds to choir rehearsal, cumulative songs are fun to sing, engaging for children of all ages, and an effective teaching tool.

For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, a cumulative song is a song that adds a new phrase of text with each repetition.

Usually, the lyrics are a list of some kind, getting progressively longer as the song goes on.

A Mighty Fortress & Other Favorites: New Anthems for Fall

A Mighty Fortress & Other Favorites: New Anthems for Fall

I love discovering new anthems, don’t you?

I love seeing how composers come up with new ideas or reuse existing material - creating something new from an old hymn tune or setting a hymn text to an original melody.

Over the summer, I shared my “Reading Session Picks” for adult choirs, youth choirs, and children’s choir - new (or new-ish) anthems I encountered in choral reading sessions at Music and Worship Arts Week and liked enough to recommend to you here.

Today, I want to share a few more recommendations, perhaps well-suited for an adult or youth ensemble or an intergenerational group of some kind.

The anthems on this list would be perfect for Fall, either Thanksgiving season or during Advent.

Life Lately: Summer Edition

Life Lately: Summer Edition

Summer has been sweet and full. We’ve traveled to new and familiar places, stretched our creative muscles in new ways, and reaped the rewards of gardening and old house projects. We’ve tried new recipes, read new books, and took time to rest and unwind.

This is life lately:

Classic Anthems Every Church Choir Should Sing

Classic Anthems Every Church Choir Should Sing

Some anthems are just classics.

They’re timeless - not bound by a particular era, not tied to a particular movement or trend in choral literature or church history, not limited to a particular style or context. Some anthems are able to transcend those things and fit equally well in a worship service today as they did 30 years ago.

So, I started taking notes.

The anthems on this list are drawn from my own choir experiences in Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches. These are titles that have shown up in multiple church music libraries through the years - the ones that bring you back to all the times and places you’ve sung it before.

4 Strategies to Help Your Adult Choir Improve Their Sight-Reading Skills

4 Strategies to Help Your Adult Choir Improve Their Sight-Reading Skills

It's one the greatest musical skills you can help your choir develop: singing and reading music for themselves with musical understanding.

Just like learning to read language, music-reading comes after listening and interacting with music aurally and developing a musical vocabulary of tonal and rhythm patterns (these are like words in language).

Think of how you learned to read: You probably spent a lot of time following along in a book as you listened to someone else read to you.

Eventually, you started finishing the sentences and pointing to the words as you went along.

You learned simple words like, go and dog and started being able to identify them in the context of other books.

Learning to read music is no different. We learn to recognize tonal and rhythm patterns like familiar words in books.

Ways to Praise: Words that Inspire, Encourage, and Motivate

Ways to Praise: Words that Inspire, Encourage, and Motivate

Have you ever thought about how you give praise and offer encouraging words? Is there a way to do this that promotes learning?

How can we use our words to foster the development of intrinsic motivation and a positive self-image in those we teach?

Think of a time when someone praised you for something you achieved or shared a word of encouragement. How did it make you feel? What do you remember about those moments?

Maybe you remember feeling appreciated or valued.
Maybe those words inspired you to keep going, to learn more, to challenge yourself to achieve greater things.
Maybe you remember feeling special and proud of yourself.

Praise is a powerful tool and one that we as educators can use to equip and empower those we teach to be the best they can be.

10 Icebreakers Your Adult Choir Will Love

10 Icebreakers Your Adult Choir Will Love

Looking for a fun, creative way to start the choir year? Consider hosting a kick-off party or retreat.

This is a time to celebrate the start of a new season, welcome both returning and new members, and get a head start on all the music you have picked out for the months ahead (P.S. Christmas is only 19 weeks away!).

Whether you’re hosting a full-day retreat, a Saturday morning workshop, or extending your first midweek rehearsal (perhaps with dinner beforehand), make sure to plan a few hours of dedicated rehearsal time (including warm-ups!) plus some time for fellowship.

Six Practice Steps for Beginning Piano Students

Six Practice Steps for Beginning Piano Students

I love working with young, beginning piano students.

Our lessons are always full of imagination and creative exploration—their eyes wide with excitement and wonder when they make a connection or discover something new—and I always learn so much about myself as a teacher as we walk those first steps in their musical journey together.

That being said, we all know that when learning a new instrument, productive practice time at home is essential to learning and developing as a musician. 

Most of us see our beginning students for only 30 minutes a week, so time spent at the keyboard in between lessons can really make or break a student’s progress and the fulfillment they find in music-making.

The Back-to-Choir Guide for Church Musicians

The Back-to-Choir Guide for Church Musicians

It’s the most wonderful time of the year - back-to-school season, that is!

Even though I’m not a student anymore, as a teacher, I love the fresh-start feeling that comes with a new academic year (including new school supplies!).

And the same is true in church settings when choir and ensembles start back up.

But getting back into that weekly rehearsal routine after a long summer hiatus can be challenging, and making sure you’re prepared and ready for that first week back can be a daunting task, particularly if you procrastinated on some of those things on your summer to-do list:

2019 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

2019 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

This month, after attending eight reading sessions and reviewing stacks of new anthems, I’m sharing my choral “Reading Session Picks” for 2019. So far, I’ve published 18 adult choir anthems and 10 children’s choir anthems.

Next in the series is youth choir anthems.

Now, depending on the size of your group and the ages you're working with (middle school singers vs. senior high singers), choosing music can be a little tricky.

Because of this, I tried to include a variety of anthems on this list: SATB, SAB or Three-Part Mixed, and even an SA anthem for those of you with smaller or younger groups (or not a lot of guys at the moment!).

Here are my 13 anthem picks for this year: