Teaching Children to "Sing the Story"

This came today from a music mentor. Her inspired idea of how to teach children to sing tunes for the stories they have written was truly remarkable. It could be used by every teacher of young children before their music mentor arrives to help prepare the class for creating melodies of their own.

Dear Susan, I had such a neat experience this week as I started doing my Music Visits! I was walking into Cindy S’s class, precious, very small people, when a great idea suddenly came to me. In the youngest classes, I have felt like they didn’t really understand exactly how they will sing their opera. I suddenly realized that K-2 usually have several “Big Books” in their classroom, which they read aloud together. After they had sung for me, (recorded, of course), listened to their singing, heard about composers with a few music examples, done a call & response song, and talked about what an opera is, I asked to borrow a Big Book. We clapped & read aloud together for several pages, then I asked who could sing the first page. They sang several pages & were just tickled pink! I always suggest that, since they are an “Opera Class,” they should have days where they sing instead of speak, and I have them sing something like, “Miss Kuhn, may I please get a drink? etc. etc. They always get a kick out of that, but of course our teachers are on board & start singing answers right away, so they seem to really like it. This Big Book idea, though . . . I’m not smart enough to figure that out on my own, but I have used it in every class I have visited this year, and I feel like it’s making a difference in their understanding. Now they have sung a book, so they know how to sing their libretto. You know we get LOTS of help as we do this work, and i just wanted to share my most recent guidance. God loves the children in Weber & Davis Counties! ‘Night, Dana

Susan Ames
Education Director, Utah Festival Opera


One Comment Add yours

  1. Pamela says:

    I love that Dana. You know, libretto means “little book” in Italian. Once a class has sung their big book they can move to their “little book” they are the authors of and sing it! What a fun connection.


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