Why do we learn music in school
Self-efficacy : Singing in class is easy and powerful
In the last few years, singing in everyday life and in schools has decreased so much that experts have carried out studies on the dubious effects on the vocal expression of the singing and speaking voice in children. The range is sometimes reduced to a fourth, and the children and young people have difficulty singing in high pitches or using the head voice. But if you also know what importance singing has for the formation of a developed psyche, the development of your own identity and for learning in general, this development is downright frightening.
Many adults believe they cannot sing
Many families no longer sing because adults often believe they cannot sing and find singing embarrassing. When I asked around in my class, only three children said that a birthday song would help them for their birthday. Even in the evening for good night, on hikes or celebrations like Christmas, there is no singing.
There are probably several reasons for the fact that very little is sung in schools. On the one hand, as is so often the case, there is time pressure due to too much content that has to be proven in too little time in all departments. On the other hand, music lessons are a fixed hour in the timetable, instead of singing and making music as a daily basis for living together. And even in schools there are fewer and fewer teachers who enjoy singing and play an instrument. Some of them turn on the CD player and the children should sing along - it is obvious that this is not very fun and that the children tend to feel ashamed of singing.
Singing creates community, makes you happy - and learning is easier
Singing is a lot of fun! Singing puts you in the so-called alpha state, in which you can learn more easily and cope with challenges. Singing creates a sense of community. Singing gives everyone the opportunity to express themselves and contribute to the community. Singing enables you to perceive yourself and to experience self-efficacy. Singing strengthens concentration and memory. At some point, singing brings a smile to all children and makes them happy.
What does it take to do this? Let's assume that someone still makes little or no music and sings because they don't know how. Because those who like to sing and make music will have recognized the value anyway and make music with the children every day. And of course this also applies to the home.
I accompany my children on a guitar. And how often do I hear how great I can play the guitar. But that's not true at all. All I can do is do three grips. Honest! Well, now six, three for minor and three for major. That is enough to be able to accompany most of the songs in elementary school. So my tip is: buy a guitar, either treat yourself to a few lessons or sit down for a few hours and learn to play these three chords D, G and A. In my opinion, this should be an obligation in teacher training. You don't even have to be able to read notes. And it's easy and quick to learn.
If you play an instrument yourself, you will ensure the children's attention
Anyone who plays an instrument themselves - even if it is only these three chords - ensures a completely different kind of attention from the children. Children love it when the teacher plays themselves. It's worth trying it out. If I don't know a song myself, I first teach myself it with the help of CD or YouTube, or I sometimes play it a little laboriously on the piano. I recommend canons, especially for the beginning. They have little text, the melody is simple, and they have an amazing effect on children - they have to learn to focus on themselves in order to be able to keep their voice in the canon, and that is something very valuable.
We sing every morning after the greeting, not that long, ten minutes maybe, but every day. That is enough to create a good atmosphere and prepare for the day of learning. When we sing, we stand so that we can breathe properly. And then it starts. So today an easy canon, for example “Hejo, start the car”. At first I only sing the melody on la, accompanying it with the guitar. After each round, I change the syllable, sometimes to na, mi, lo or po. When the word “po” hits, all the children laugh. And they usually sing along by themselves anyway. If you play an instrument with it, it's simply contagious and, thanks to the pure syllables, also easy.
The advantage: We can sing the song a lot without it getting boring. And it doesn't take long for the children to suggest syllables themselves, often animal sounds or the first syllable of a classmate's name. That's enough for the day. Children learn much more easily if you give them some time. They often learn rather unconsciously, take in and expand on what is known. And the power of the night can be used specifically with children, a lot internalizes by the next day.
What easily leads to success strengthens self-confidence
The next day, continue with the syllables until the children are comfortable with the melody. At the same time it is voice training, all the syllables also want to be modulated. The main thing is that the children learn with ease. And everything that easily leads to success gives them joy and strengthens them in their being, gives self-confidence and strengthens the feeling of self-efficacy.
When it seems appropriate to me, I say and sing the lyrics at some point, and especially with such simple canons it doesn't take two or three times for the children to sing along. Sometimes we also come up with movements to the text that make it easier to memorize.
And now it's getting funny: If the children are quite sure what goes quickly with such a simple song, I first let them sing alone as a group. Then I tell them that I'm singing nonsense now, but that they can't be taken out. They love that! Now at the latest, everyone is concentrating on singing the song, being with themselves and hearing the people singing along, but ignoring me as much as possible. How valuable to the ability to concentrate and focus!
So I'll sing some other song or tell a joke or whatever I can think of while the kids sing the song together. Sure they come out sometimes, but that's the funny thing. If you can then hold your voice, I first sing the second voice very softly, sometimes falling silent until your voice is solidified again. Then explain to them what a canon is and how it works with the different inserts.
For many days the children sing the first voice as a group and I the second, although children are allowed to sing with me from time to time. Later on, I divide the children into groups that sing the different voices so that the canon can be sung with even more voices. This is quite demanding for me because I always sing along with every group and therefore have to change voices very flexibly. But you will find that out over time, and it is quite easy if you give the groups in the order in which they are placed.
How nice it is for the children to sing in a group and to experience themselves as an important part! It gets even nicer with polyphonic pieces such as "Zwei kleine Wölfe", which can be accompanied by two groovy accompanying voices. The secret is to combine a lot of very simple and easy to learn things into a togetherness that conveys community and belonging and becomes a great, impressive whole that you can enjoy.
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