The following ideas may be used to facilitate music instruction.
One of the easiest ways to teach 2 part choral singing is by using Partner Songs! A classic partner song has everyone singing melody number one, everyone singing melody number two, and then the third time, dividing into 2 parts singing both melodies together. Since all the singers will then be conversant with both melodies, they should find it much easier to maintain their parts when asked to divide into harmony. If you have a combination of very strong singers and ones that aren’t quite as confident, be sure to divide the parts up in a way that places your strong singers on both parts. Teaching these melodies in unison also provides excellent opportunities to fine tune intonation, dynamics and singing with expression.
Enjoy this complimentary PDF, Why partner songs. It provides a wealth of reasons and ideas of how to utilize these versatile chorals.
Using PD [ Part Dominant mp3s] to assist in part singing
PDs or Part Dominant mp3s are the recorded rehearsal tracks of each individual part for a choral piece. For instance, an SATB would have a separate rehearsal track for each of the voices [soprano, alto, tenor, and bass] so the singers can practice their specific melody or harmony parts. In most instances the others voices are muted on the track along with the Part Dominant voice. It provides a wonderful opportunity to assist choral directors in teaching and practicing the voice parts with their students. All of our Complete Choral Kits include PD mp3s as part of the Kit.
Incorporating music into Cross Curricular learning
Story Theater provides an excellent opportunity for you to incorporate other areas that can be found throughout the curriculum into your music program. There are a wealth of musical plays that address topics such as science and ecology [“The Green Team Machine”,] history [“The Castaways” “Johnny Appleseed” “United We Stand”], reading and literature [“Sing Me a Story”, ] “Shake it Up with Shakespeare”] character education “Bebop with Aesop”, “Let’s Pass it On”] etc. Once you’ve chosen a musical that corresponds to a topic being taught by classroom teachers, assign speaking parts and either teach the songs to all the students, or play the music for the students as a listening lesson. Be sure to encourage children to read their lines with expression and if appropriate, use gestures as well. For your classroom performance, have each student recite their part interspersed with the musical selections. Children can choose to dress up in costumes, or not and obviously no additional scenery, props or staging is required. It is a wonderful way for students to experience theatre in a safe and simple way.
Sing and Learn Series
“Our Sing and Learn” series is comprised of cross curricular subjects taught in an entertaining musical format. Dino Soaring, Singin’ in the Rainforest, Oceans of Fun and Sing and Play About the USA, all are collections of songs with simple rhyming scripts for performances. These collections contain puzzles, crosswords, fast fact sheets and supplemental materials that can be shared with the classroom teachers or distributed to the students as a do at home or classroom activity. The short linking script also provides a wonderful opportunity to stage these as easy but effective full-fledged productions.
Teaching and Utilizing Rhythm and Movement in your classroom
Teaching rhythm and movement to your students can be both a fun and educational experience. Many collections have musical games where all the directions are contained within the lyrics of the song or just require very simple explanation by the teacher. This is a wonderful time saver and also an excellent way to save your voice! Simply ask the students to be good listeners and listen to the words of the song. They will then know just what to do. Songs from collections such as “Strike Up the Rhythm Band”, and “The Rhythm Band Strikes Again”, have many games that teach rhythms, dynamics, etc through clapping, tapping, playing rhythm instruments and don’t require being in a group setting. Movement games such as “The Color Game” and “Hand Jivin” from “Rhythm, Rhyme and Move in Time” are great fun for students and work perfectly in remote or virtual classrooms.” A Hip Hop , a Skip and a Jump” has a host of these activities for the younger grades.
Adding Simple Choreography
You can add interest to your choral performances by choosing selections that have simple hand motions, signing, or choreography. Many chorals come with movement suggestions and if you are comfortable teaching the choreography, wonderful! If not, there are many videos on “YouTube” that have choral groups performing choreography that you can use as a guide. This is very adaptable to virtual teaching. We have several on our website , including “Mambo Italiano”, “Funga Alafia”, “Vela Sikubone”, etc. Musicals such as "Off Their Rockers" centers around dance though the ages and provides wonderful ideas for adding choreography to your play. You can find excellent examples on YouTube for additional ideas.
Let’s Have a Dance Party!
A wonderful way to end each class would be to have a 3-5 minute dance party. You could choose music selections from suggestions the students recommend [have a grab bag and choose a different selection each day that you have cued up in advance] or you can select from a wealth of great dance tunes. If using songs suggested by the students, be sure that you have previewed them in advance for appropriate content! It is a great way to end your classes in an energetic and inspiring way without worrying about getting them too energized!
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Shake Your Groove Thing - Peaches and Herb
2.Do Your Thing - Basement Jaxx
3. Conga - Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
4. Livin’ in America - James Brown
5. September, from Trolls - Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick
6. Rock and Roll Music - The Beatles
7. It’s Still Rock n Roll to Me - Billy Joel
8. Lovely Day, from The Secret Life of Pets 2 - Lunch Money Lewis
9. Happy - Pharrell Williams
10. Can’t Stop the Feeling, Trolls 2 - Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake
11. Get On Your Feet - Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
12. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing - Tori Kelly
13. Hip to Be Square - Huey Lewis and the News
14. The Heart of Rock n Roll- Huey Lewis and the News
15. Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
If you need more suggestions email us at:
The following videos are just a few of some excellent examples sent to us by teachers and music directors throughout the country. They are wonderful examples of traditional choral music and musical plays written for choir or theater education performed successfully and creatively many in traditional and remote settings
Heave Away Me Jollies
1.Traditional performance by the Harrison High School Chamber Singers, Harrison, AR, Michael Crouch Director:
2.Virtual Performance by the Children’s Chorus of Carroll County Rachel Morgan IM Director:
3. Virtual Performance by Eastwoods Arts Grade 12 Vocal Majors, Ontario, CA
In His Eyes
Virtual Performance by the Casper Children’s Chorale, Marcia Parron Director
Celebrate the Differences
Yongsan International School of Seoul, 8th Grade Girls Choir, Ms Sommer Page Director
Numi, Numi and Put On a Happy Face
Laurel Mountain Elementary School, Round Rock Texas, Katie Pyles, Music Teacher
Starts at 16:58 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34MV9UneWPk
Ode to Peace
Sing, The Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, CA Daniel Newman-Lessler Director
Begins at 20:30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFv9L8sHu7g&t=1220s
Ugly Christmas Sweater
1. Il Coro Della Bella Voce-Carroll County Children’s Chorus-Rachel Morgan Im, Director and Videographer
2. Columbus Middle School Vocal Tech Columbus Public Schools, Columbus, Nebraska
3. Fenton Community High School Swing Choir, Bensenville, IL
Singin’ in the Rainforest
French Elementary Schools, Colorado Springs, CO Christa Faires, Music Teacher:
Orangefield Elementary School ISD 1st Grade performance MS Bollich Music Teacher
Lehman Intermediate School, Dingmans Ferry, PA Hillary Stevens, Director
Virtual Performance A Home Within Our Heart
Performed by DMR Adventure directed by Ray Smith, Stania Shaw and video production by Nina Donville.
Bada Bing It’s Spring!
Rice Elementary School,Tyler Texas.
Oakdale Elementary School, Dedham Public Schools, MA, Christopher Molinaro, music teacher.
The following are a list of movies for teachers to watch. They are not meant for students, but meant to educate and inspire as many of them are based on true stories.
1. In The Heights - movie adaptation by Lin Manuel Miranda or the Broadway Musical
2. Newsies - original movie from which the Broadway play was based about the newsboy strike in NYC in 1899.
3. Fishermans’s Friends - a group of singing Fisherman in a small Cornish town revive the tradition of singing sea chanteys.
4. The Sapphires - True story of a family of Aboriginal natives who become famous pop stars.
5. The Clark Sisters, the First Ladies of Gospel - wonderful movie about the trials and struggles of these amazing sisters as they rise to stardom
6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - a look into the life and music of this blues legend.
7. The Music of Silence - based on the autobiography by Andrea Bocelli.
8. Searching for Sugarman - Academy Award winning film about Sixto Rodriguez, known as Sugarman, and what really happened to him and his music.
9. Sing Street - a boy from Dublin escapes his strained family life and forms a boy band.
Educational Videos and Documentaries and Movies
There is a wonderful wealth of educational music videos and documentaries. Before sharing them with your students carefully review their content to determine appropriate viewing based on age, grade level and maturity. Several would also work well for substitute plans.
Please be sure to review each one before sharing with your students! Here are just a few:
1. Never Too Late - the Doc Severinsen Story - Pbs 1 hr 24 minutes. Documentary about the legendary trumpeter.
2.Quincy - Documentary about the rise and success of the iconic musician and producer Quincy Jones 2 hours.
3. David Foster, Off the Record - music and story of one of the most successful composers and producers of our time. 1 ½ hours
4. The Bee Gees - How Do You Mend a Broken Heart- story of the rise and careers of these amazing brothers. 2 hours.
5. Blackpink: Light Up the Sky - documents the struggles and meteoric rise to success of phenom Korean girls Rock group Blackpink. 1 ½ hours.
6. How An Opera Gets Made: A behind the scenes look at a Philip Glass Opera at the Met - 10 minutes.
7. A Chorus Line: The History Behind the Line
8.Twenty Feet From Stardom: Academy award winning documentary about talented back-up singers for some of the greatest stars, who vocally were just as talented! Emphasis is on the contributions of black singers! 1: 40 minutes, Netflix
9. 20th anniversary of Broadway Annie Auditions: Behind the scenes look at the auditions for “Annie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zi6TnAdq7I 47 minutes
10. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened: [documentary about “Merrily We Roll Along”, the one musical written by Stephen Sondheim that flopped on Broadway.1 ½ hours, Amazon Prime, Netflix
11. The Wrecking Crew: Documentary about studio musicians who performed on the recordings of some of the most celebrated rock stars of the day.1 ½ hours, Amazon Prime
12. My Favorite Broadway, the Leading Ladies: Concert from Carnegie Hall featuring some of the greatest ladies of the stage including a performance by Anna Kendrick as a child star.
Pop Culture, Opera, and Broadway Videos
1. James Brown and Andrea Boccelli It’s a Man’s World
2. Freddie Mercury [Queen] and Montserrat Caballe singing Barcelona
3. 22 Musicals in 12 Minutes: James Corden, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Emily Blunt
If you’d like to hear about more, there are a wealth of additional suggestions, so please email us at:
Zoom in with the Gallinas!
Plan a free private Zoom or FaceTime session with Jill Gallina on any of the following topics:
1. Fine tuning your musical play. Doing one of our musicals? Specifics will be offered regarding staging, dramatization, costumes, creative interpretation, etc.
2. Compose Yourself! Guided by Jill Gallina your students will compose a finished piece in 30 -40 minutes!
3. 30 minute interview, question and answer session, with questions, designed by you and your students.
4. Topical area of your request for a 30 minute session.
5. Commissions: Commission Jill Gallina to write a choral piece designed to meet your special needs or requests.
In the event that you have used any of our materials please take a moment to share your approach or videos with us at email@example.com
We will be happy to post some of them in our next email newsletter!