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Teaching special ed students to match pitch

I have never had much luck teaching special ed students to match pitch. In my new current situation, I have mainstreamed special ed students in my choirs (MS and HS) that do not match pitch. Their IEP's do not address this at all, of course.  Is there anything other than the standard slide-and-match, fire engine sounds, etc., that might help?
Thank you!

Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on November 29, 2012 4:42am
Dr. Carol Krueger once suggested making a "sound focusing tube" -- take two curved PVC pipes and join them together, to focus the sound from the voice to the ear.  You can use all kinds of directions... curve the pipes around to point at other strong singers. If you make a whole bunch of them, then lots of kids can practice, and the special ed students won't be singled out. 
on November 29, 2012 7:15am
Go to the above youtube address.  This choir always brings me to tears.  In case the youtube address doesn't work from here, go to youtube, search for High Five choir/New Trier.
Spectacular work!
Alison Vernon
on November 30, 2012 7:52am
What are the sound button or boxes that light up?  I think I could use it with one of my students.
on November 29, 2012 9:39am
At a summer workshop, I was introduced to pop tubes for pitch matching.  They are available for purchase on-line.  The most reasonably priced ones I've found are at:
They come in packs of 24.  These work like a charm for an individual to hear one's voice.  They expand just the correct length from mouth to ear, are light, and can be used for other activities, like rhythmic patterns and ascending and descending sounds.  Best thing I've used.
Barbara Conroy
Grosse Ile Township Schools
Grosse Ile, MI
on November 29, 2012 1:18pm
Elizabeth, I would love to see a picture or diagram of what you describe. My husband and I aren't particularly mechanical, but I know he would help me figure something out if there was a picture.
Barbara, I think I had something like that in my old elementary library. They were very skinny -- no more than 1/2" in diameter. Are these bigger in diameter?  I used them to demonstrate the proper breathing techniques (sipping through a straw, the round of the mouth for "ooh", and more). 
on November 29, 2012 3:05pm
The ends of a pop tube are about 1/2 inch in diameter.  The middle of a tube is 1 inch in diameter when crinkled.  Pop tubes can be seen on the aforementioned web site.  A pop tube works well for hearing one's voice.  Place one end by your ear and sing into the other end.  With young singers, they work well when teaching rounds.  One's voice is clearly differentiated yet the other parts can still be heard.  Another concept to demo with them is how length changes pitch.  Connect two tubes together.  The pitch produced by humming into the tubing is exactly one octave lower than that of one tube, when played like a kazoo.  A pop tube is much handier than PVC, particularly for younger children, but it works with older singers as well.  They can be used to demo melodic contour as well; connect them together as needed.  
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