Conducting a children’s choral group can be both energizing and exhausting at the same time. On one hand, your students LOVE to sing! On the other hand, it can be hard to get them to focus when it’s rehearsal time.
Leading a children’s choir successfully requires you to get creative in the way you keep your students motivated, so here are three tips and tools to get your group excited about music.
3 Ways to Motivate Your K-12 Choir
Add Creativity to Your Warm Ups
Don’t just stick to the old-fashioned scales and triads when warming up young voices. Turn that major scale into some phrases with words – don’t be afraid to get silly. Better still, encourage your students to create their own and share with the rest of the group.
A good book to find more inspiration is Vocalize! by choral director Andy Beck. A playful warm up will always set the tone for a productive rehearsal.
Get Students Moving
It goes without saying that children have short attention spans and easily get bored. But this isn’t math class – so get them moving! Have a break mid-rehearsal where you incorporate a simple theatre game or two. There are countless books that offer simple games that your singers will beg to do in future rehearsals!
These games are centered around valuable performance skills, such as listening, focus, and improvisation. One excellent resource that many students enjoy is 101 Improv Games for Children and Adults by Bob Bedore.
Take Advantage of Technology
It’s important that music instructors take advantage of the latest technologies to make learning more fun in rehearsals. Try an app such as Loopy to find new ways to spice up your usual repertoire.
Another excellent way to get your older students inspired is to watch a motivational TED talk together. Check out choral conductor Eric Whitacre’s TED talk on YouTube. His ideas are taking choral performances to the next level, especially with his virtual choirs!
Make good use of these resources with your group of young singers, and you’re bound to get them excited about coming to choir. Thinking outside the box will not only encourage their creativity, but it will also make your job much more rewarding.
Do you have any more ideas of ways to keep your choir students motivated? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article was contributed by Molly McLinden from TakeLessons, a platform for local and online singing lessons. Molly is a choir, opera, and classical singing teacher. She’s been an instructor since 2002 and thoroughly enjoys working with students of all ages and backgrounds.