How To Teach A Song Without Teaching The Song

How do you choose and rehearse a song with an entire grade when you don’t get to teach any of the classes? This is the challenge I was issued this year. Thanks to advances in technology and the collaboration of my colleagues I believe I found a way to meet the challenge!

Due to a scheduling issue I taught my grade 7 music classes on a semester system this year. I saw two of the classes for the first half of the year and I saw the third class for the second half of the year. Add to this many lost classes for special events and I had very few actual lessons with each group. This complicated things when it was time to choose and rehearse a song for the entire grade to sing at their grad.

I chose to survey the class using Google forms. I sent this form to the entire grade a few weeks ago and gave them a week to respond. A number of students sent song suggestions and a few even emailed me rewritten lyrics.

Once I had a list of songs from the students I shared a Google Doc with all of the song suggestions including links to each original song on Grooveshark and the rewritten lyrics. The students had a few days to listen to the choices and read through the lyrics. Then I sent the students this form to collect their votes and ask for volunteer musicians.

Finally we had a student selected song and a group of students who will play the accompaniment on piano, bass and drums. I’ve shared the song lyrics with a link to a karaoke track to each student and to the other grade 7 teachers. I’m lucky to have a great group of colleagues who have been taking time from their lessons to sing through the song with each class. I’ve been meeting with the “band” during lunch breaks to rehearse. I will be recording them and posting the sound file to SoundCloud so the students have a better backing track with which to practice.

In a couple weeks the entire grade will get together to rehearse the song before performing it at their grad. I hope that with all of the prep my colleagues and I have done they will need very little help once they can sing it as an ensemble. I can’t wait to hear the final results! The future is awesome!!

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2 Responses to How To Teach A Song Without Teaching The Song

  1. As the music teacher in a small but very busy school, I’ve used some of these same tools in similar ways. Sounds like you have a good group of supportive colleagues!

  2. My colleagues are fantastic! I will miss them next year. 🙂

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