“Good! Now, sing it again.”
How many times do you hear yourself saying these words in rehearsal? We all know the importance of repetition. This is how we learn - by trying, experiencing, and doing it again and again.
The problem is, often, this becomes something we do mindlessly. When we hear someone say, “Good! Now, sing it again,” we go into auto-pilot mode and repeat whatever we just did without really thinking about it.
Did you catch that last part?
The key to good repetition is that we think about it as we’re experiencing it; we’re constantly reflecting and comparing and tweaking each time. This is where true learning takes place.
Disconnecting and going into auto-pilot mode isn’t helpful for anyone. So instead of simply asking your choir to “sing it again,” give them a challenge - something to think about or change as they sing it again.
By the way, this is also true for youth choirs and adult choirs, too! Look for specific things you heard or saw or would like them to think about or focus on as you sing through something again.
Inspired by Andrea Dow’s post, 22 Creative Ways to “Play it Again”; Turning Piano Teaching Repetition On Its Head, here are 38 silly, but effective ways to sing it again (P.S. Be sure to download the free printable version of this list at the end!):
38 Ways to Sing it Again
1. Standing up when you’re singing, sitting down when you’re not
2. While standing on one foot
3. While nodding your head to the beat
4. With your eyes closed
5. While facing your neighbor
6. Starting from the middle and singing to the end, then starting from the beginning and singing to the middle
7. While stepping the steady beat
8. With a silly voice (dog, cat, baby, Queen of England, country singer, opera singer)
9. Clapping on every rest
10. With the biggest smiles you can make
11. With a clap after every 8 beats
12. While making a silly face
13. Turning around at the end of every verse
14. Without singing the word _______ (B-I-N-G-O style)
15. With opposite dynamics (e.g. piano when it’s marked forte)
16. Clapping the rhythm of the melody instead of singing it
17. With jazz hands every time you sing the word _______
18. Singing on a neutral syllable (e.g. doo, loo, moo)
19. While tracing the phrase shapes in the air
20. Tapping the rhythm of your part with rhythm sticks
21. Singing your part silently in your head
22. Following the director’s (dramatic) tempo changes
23. With front row turning around to face the back row
24. While standing in a circle
25. While tapping the steady beat lightly over your heart
26. With hand motions or sign language for certain words
27. Without looking at the words or music
28. While using a body scale to show dynamics (hand around waist for piano, hand at top of head for forte)
29. Singing with terriblevowels, then singing with beautifulvowels
30. With half the group singing and half listening and giving feedback, then switch
31. With good (deep, low) breaths before each entrance
32. With strong ending consonants (watch for cut-offs!)
33. Turning around every time you sing the word ______
34. Standing up when you sing the chorus, sitting down when you sing the verses
35. Following the director’s (dramatic) dynamic changes
36. Without the accompaniment
37. With terribleposture, then with wonderfulposture
38. Striking a pose and freezing every time the music stops
Want to keep this list of ideas handy in rehearsal? Download this free PDF printable and follow the directions for printing and cutting. Sign up below:
How to Use this List
Download the PDF document shown above, print and cut into strips, and place in a bag or bowl.
Next time you want to have your children’s choir sing something again, choose (or have a child choose) one or two challenges to try as a group. This will keep everyone engaged, listening, and focused on the music as you build those all-important repetitions into the learning process.
What are your favorite ways to sing it again? What strategies have you found to be most effective for building repetition into the learning process?