30/100 Learning Show Songs

It’s the less fun, less interesting part of music – when you are teaching the songs for a music performance.

To children who are used to music lessons being a variety of activities – singing, pulse and rhythm games, listening, playing instruments, a whole lesson spent on learning the songs for “the show” can be less appealing. But still necessary, if you are going to get 9 songs learned in just four or five lessons.

Last week I kept the interest going with year 5 and 6 by issuing each child with pen and paper, and getting them to self-assess various random elements as we sang our way through about five songs. We were picking up on details – hissing snakes at the ends of words, or remembering the first line of verses, or whatever.

So, having picked on something, like the snakes, or “t” at the right place on the ends of “bright”, “night”, for example, I would get them to award themselves points out of 5 or 10 or some other score. Once or twice I asked them to asses how well they knew the words, or even how committed they were to singing a song as best as they could.

We started with some fun warmups (I like the Funky Warm-up and Stretch and Singing Zone ones from www.singup.org, or else a CD called

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For some reason, they were fascinated by the idea of self-assessment, and far more engaged with the lesson than they might have been. At the end, we worked out what the maximum score would be, and found out who had scored the most (“Stand up if you have scored 10 or more” – secure in the knowledge that everybody must have got at least 10). We worked our way up to – I think it was out of 55 – until there was just one person standing at 52. Everyone agreed that she deserved her score. Time up, lesson over, home time.

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