For most of us, memorizing is not a "fun" task. It can be tedious, repetitive, and sometimes, just plain boring. However, we all know that memorizing music is an important part of singing in a choir and making music, in general. Rather than just singing through a piece over and over again, here are a few hands-on, engaging activities that are so fun, your choir won't even know they're memorizing their music! (Bonus points if you try any of these with your adult choir!)
1. Fill in the Blank
This is a quick, easy way to scaffold memorizing at the beginning. See how much of the text the children remember by speaking the first few words of each line and having them finish.
2. Word Scramble
A fun, active way to memorize lots of words! Type the text in large font (at least 30 pt.) and print on heavyweight paper. Cut each word apart, creating a series of word cards and scramble. Have children work together to put the text back in order.
3. Minus One
A fun, game-like activity that keeps everyone singing. Begin singing the anthem with full text displayed. Use word cards (see above) in a pocket chart, pinned to a bulletin board, or taped to the wall. After each repetition. Ask for a volunteer (or two) to take away one word (or more, depending on how long the piece is). Repetition is key to singing an anthem from memory!
4. Musical Puzzle
A great way to see how much music children can read (with no sound present)! Enlarge the melodic line of a piece and cut into phrases (or measures). Have children work (as a large group or in smaller groups) to put the melody back together.
5. Phrase by phrase
A semi-competitive activity that keeps everyone on their toes! Divide the choir into two groups. Sing through the anthem together from memory, having groups alternate singing phrase by phrase. Once you've sung through the piece (or a targeted section), have groups switch so they can sing the opposite set of phrases!
What are your favorite memorization activities for young singers?