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Primary children singing a song too low?

Discussion in 'Music' started by JennyMus, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. I've found that as a female teacher, a few inexperienced male singers (e.g. those who at 16 have never sung or been used to their instrument since it rather dramatically changed) have occasionally found it difficult to pitch from me, because when I sing their line/harmony at pitch it sounds low on me so they automatically drop an octave. I often use other experienced males to sing their starting note and this helps them to pitch it in the right octave and use the stronger singers in my group to support them. Having your female colleague in the room may well help. The range that you talk about sounds fine for primary singers. Are they using their belt voice? It may be that they have picked up the habit from listening to commercial music and if so you need to stop them doing this and straining. It might be that they are trying to belt their way through it and cannot reach the higher end as their chest belt does not go up to the D. You certainly wouldn't want them to be encouraging them to try and reach a top D in their chest at primary age!
     
  2. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    Lots of children do this if no one has got them to do anything else. The pop music they imitate is far too low for their voices, as is an awful lot of music produced for children these days. In addition lots of teachers aren't confident singers and sing very low because it feels safe. Persevere. Get them to sing up scales and so on. They'll soon get the hang of it. And don't let them do the low stuff. They'll wreck their voices.
     
  3. Thanks for some great feedback! I had a feeling the song should be in their ideal range so was reluctant to transpose etc. It's reassuring to hear your responses and to know that what I'm doing is along the right lines; I guess it's one of those things that is just going to require my determination to get them to break previous habits learnt. On this issue, I don't suppose there are any books / guides on teaching singing that I shouldn't be without? I am a fully qualified music teacher and would really like to develop my skills in this area. Alternatively, if anyone knows of any training courses aimed at singing direction that I may be able to book as CPD that would be great. If not, thanks so much for the advice already given. : )
     
  4. HI,
    I'm a Kodaly instructor in primary schools and I have to say I am with "doiforfree" on the issue of children singing too low. The wee daft exercises encouraging the children to sing up sound good. There is no substitute for practice and playful learning to pitch-match and them not being afraid to use their singing voices. Often kids growl low beciase no one has worked with them to produce any better sound. Good luck. I would definitely recommend Kodaly courses run by BKA (or NYCoS if you fancy doing it in Scotland). It revolutionised the way I got children and adults singing. All the best. M
     
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    Weirdly I got a new child in my choir this week and she is the second one I've had who sings everything at a very high pitch. I had never come across this until last year. The children are used to growlers but this is really something else and the others tend to stare at her. But we do the same things as for the growlers, doing sirening, getting everyone started on the right note (they all get there if you keep at it)stopping and starting when things go awry and so on. The first child I had like this has more or less stoped doing it and sings nicely in tune on her own, less so in the choir so i think she has trouble when surrounded by the others. I hope the new one will be fixed as easily!
    You could make sure that you warm up starting with something lowish (but I wouldn't go below middle C for this age) and gradually go higher, for example, sing up and down five notes slowly then go up a semitone and do it again. Theire voices are lifted without them really thinking about it.
    Yje other thing, of course, is to be confident yourself and not say that things are high, which will put the wrong idea in their heads. And i DO point out notes that are too low in a song and say how stupid (or whatever, as appropriate - you know your children) the composer or arranger was for putting those notes in a children's song.
     

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