music education

38 Ways to Sing it Again: Silly Ideas for Your Children's Choir

38 Ways to Sing it Again: Silly Ideas for Your Children's Choir

“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 Value of Teaching Vowels to Your Children's Choir

The Value of Teaching Vowels to Your Children's Choir

For most choir directors, singing with pure, rounded vowels is one of the primary things you teach to your choirs. It's especially important to teach this to children's choirs and instill good vowel-singing in your singers from a young age.

There are numerous benefits to focusing on this with your children's choirs throughout the year; here are a few worth noting:

A Fun Way to Incorporate Composing and Musical Creativity Into Your Teaching

A Fun Way to Incorporate Composing and Musical Creativity Into Your Teaching

Raise your hand if you tend to leave composing to those required college classes and the professionals who do it for a living.

Why is this? I think the biggest reason may be our own insecurity. I mean, how many of us grew up writing our own musical compositions? How many of us include this as a musical activity in our lives and work today?

If you had classical music training growing up, you probably didn’t spend much time composing or creating. Instead, the focus was likely on learning how to read and interpret what’s on the page (speaking from my own experience here).

6 Strategies for Helping a Child Discover Their Singing Voice

6 Strategies for Helping a Child Discover Their Singing Voice

Everyone is born with some level of music aptitude, or potential to succeed in music (source).

According to music researcher Edwin Gordon, this aptitude can increase or decrease between birth and age 7, based on musical exposure and experience.

"The vocal range is remarkably wide from birth,” music education professor Lili Levinowitz wrote. "Infants can imitate and experiment with their vocal instruments: and even match pitch as early as three to four months of age. Purposeful singing can begin at around twelve months. At this time, adults can recognize snippets of songs to which youngsters have been exposed. Through continued exposure to spoken chant, songs, and vocal play, young children can develop the use of their singing voices during the remaining early childhood years.” (source)

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

As teachers, we’re never really done learning (and that’s a good thing!). 

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

So true, right? The world is constantly changing and evolving and we need to be constantly changing, adapting, learning, and evolving along with it to be the best teachers we can be.

What do you want to learn this year? What kind of teacher do you want to become? 

I shared my answers to these questions on Facebook Live a few weeks ago. Watch the replay here, in case you missed it!

10 Ways to Develop Musicianship in Children's Choir

10 Ways to Develop Musicianship in Children's Choir

I believe church music programs are a wonderful way to teach children about God and their faith and music and singing.

I believe we can do both. And being intentional about planning specific ways to develop musicianship little by little throughout the year is a great place to start.

This post is geared toward children’s choir directors looking for inspiration, ideas, and practical suggestions for teaching children about music and developing musicianship week by week. 

I’ll talk about what musicianship is and 10 practical ways to develop it little by little in your rehearsals each week.

Sing & Play: How to Use Instruments with Your Children's Choir

Sing & Play: How to Use Instruments with Your Children's Choir

Do you use instruments with your children's choir?

Playing an instrument - even if it's just a few jingle bells on a pipe cleaner - is a great way to foster musical development in your young singers.

Here are a few of the primary benefits:

1. It helps children be actively involved in the music-making process.

Children learn by doing, by moving, by experimenting. Music is a form of play, for young children, especially, and interacting with it through playing instruments and singing only deepens their experience.

How to Write Your Own Children's Choir Curriculum

How to Write Your Own Children's Choir Curriculum

For some people, the word “curriculum” may denote academic rigor, standardized tests, detailed lesson plans, and lack of freedom and flexibility. Do we really need this level of planning and detail in our church choirs?

To a certain extent, yes. Here’s why: 

Curriculum can be defined a few different ways. My favorite definition is that curriculum is “the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process” (Kelly, 2009). 

Think of curriculum like a guide: a plan to help you do your best teaching and help promote meaningful learning experiences. Like I tell my students in Directing a Church Children's Choir 101, a curriculum is your basic framework for all the teaching and learning you hope will take place in your choir this year.

34 Meaningful Quotes for Music Educators

34 Meaningful Quotes for Music Educators

Sometimes, it's important to remember why we started.

Indulge me for a moment and ask yourself the following:

What first drew you to music?
When did you know you wanted to teach?
What are the pivotal moments that stand out in your memory - those particular students or experiences or revelations that propelled you forward, that fed your soul, that inspired you to keep going?

We all have our own answers and a whole collection of stories we could tell. This is one of the things I love most about teaching.

It's the heart behind what we do and the reasons why we do it that make teaching such a wonderful, life-giving profession (but maybe I'm a little biased?).

Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

We all get into ruts in our teaching from time to time.

With all the planning and preparation that goes into teaching week to week, choosing repertoire, dealing with the administrative responsibilities, and all the other things that come across our plate on a given day, there’s only so much time you can spend planning, crafting, and creating innovative lesson plans and teaching strategies.

The struggle is real, y’all.

A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of planning my first studio class for my piano students and searching for a fun game/musical activity that would get everyone up and moving and work for students at different grade levels.

Enter the Decide Now! app.