movement

10 Movement Activities for Children's Choir

10 Movement Activities for Children's Choir

When was the last time you saw a child really excited about something? They jump up and down and wave their arms and run around. Movement is a natural response for children (source). After all, we learn by doing, acting, observing, experimenting, and feeling. This is especially important to remember when teaching children to sing. Singing is a full-body activity (source) and movement invites children to connect and engage with music in a whole new way.

Use movement activities in your choir rehearsal to help develop critical listening skills, that all-important sense of steady beat, responsiveness, discernment, sensitivity to phrase-shaping and other elements of music expression, inner hearing, understanding of harmony and tension-release, and musicality. Movement also helps children develop coordination skills and connects eye and ear and body and mind.

Using American Sign Language in Children's Choir

Using American Sign Language in Children's Choir

Singing is a full-body activity (source). And movement (especially for younger singers) is a valuable tool to helping children understand and engage with music. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual form of communication among Deaf communities. ASL signs may use one or both hands/arms. Signs are comprised of certain hand shapes, orientations, and positions on the body, and many involve movement (source). This is unique because it brings the word to life in a way, pairing language with visual art. It's almost like a form of dance.

ASL works well with music, bringing new meaning to the text and giving children a tangible, physical way to interact with the music. Having motions to do while they sing also helps children stay focused in rehearsal and memorize the music more quickly.

Looking to include ASL in your children's choir? Here are a few helpful resources for getting started:

The Ultimate Guide to Children's Choir Warm-Ups

The Ultimate Guide to Children's Choir Warm-Ups

Warm-ups are an important part of the choral-singing experience. Just like in sports, the voice is a muscle that must be stretched and "warmed-up" before active use, but warm-ups also provide an opportunity to focus at the beginning of rehearsal and concentrate on breath support, tone production, and resonance. Choral warm-ups are a great way to prepare new musical concepts (intervals, phrasing, melodic patterns, etc.), support vocal development, and foster the development of individual and collective musicianship.

"Warm-ups are where you teach your choir how to sing." Josh Pedde, Indianapolis Children's Choir

Today, I'm sharing a comprehensive warm-up sequence geared toward young singers with tons of exercises and ideas for movement, breath, vocal exploration, tone production, vowels, energy and breath support, and diction. Happy singing!

Clap Your Hands: 16 Clapping Games for Children's Choir

Clap Your Hands: 16 Clapping Games for Children's Choir

Remember those clapping games we used to play as kids? Between the silly (or nonsense) lyrics and the fast-paced sequence of claps, taps, snaps, and crosses, clapping games provided hours of entertainment. It might seem like just fun and games, but there's actually more to it than that. Clapping games can be beneficial to children's development.

Dr. Idit Sulkin has conducted research on the topic of children's hand-clapping games, noting:

"These activities serve as a developmental platform to enhance children’s needs — emotional, sociological, physiological, and cognitive. It’s a transition stage that leads them to the next phases of growing up.” (source

Clapping games are a great way to incorporate rhythm and movement into your choir rehearsals while reinforcing gross motor skills, rhythmic concepts (such as steady beat and subdivision), coordination skills, and the concept of sequencing (source). If you're working with a younger group, try modifying the clapping sequence to fit their ability level (scroll down to the bottom of this article for a few helpful tips).

15 Singing Games for Children's Choir

15 Singing Games for Children's Choir

Singing games are a great way to teach musical concepts, incorporate movement, and give children an opportunity to sing alone and with others. They're perfect as gathering activities, ice-breakers, or a quick change-of-pace in the middle of rehearsal. 

A few months ago, I shared seven fun musical games for children's choir. As a follow-up to that post, I'm rounding up fifteen singing games - some, more suitable for younger singers; others for older elementary; and even a few that your youth choir would love. Most of these are sung in unison, without accompaniment. Also, since movement activities are difficult to describe in writing, I've included video demonstrations for most of these. 

Enjoy!