This last weekend was my young singers’ summer recital and they were breathtaking as usual.
Despite my dog barking at a squirrel in the garden during a couple of the songs and my graduating star of the evening calling an hour before the show, sick in bed with sore throat and swollen glands, it was still totally and completely fabulous.
I will never cease to be amazed by the courage and growth shown by my young students. But it’s no surprise really, when you think that all this good stuff comes with learning to sing and perform, on your own and with others.
Well, let’s see, what skills DO you develop?
Collaboration –Working together on the group songs and duets is about understanding that we can play together and support each other. When we focus on making our partner look good, we both win.
Empathy – Learning about the stories you are singing about…”this one is about an orphan who wishes he had a mother”. Oliver “Where is Love”
Flexibility – Well, we thought we were going to be doing it this way, but so and so is sick, or couldn’t be here, so this is how we’re going to work together to fill their role.
Imagination – Writing your own verse to an existing melody is a great way to get started song writing! I even got a painting of a Red Fox inspired by the verse one student wrote.
Emotional Outlet – Life can be stressful, especially for kids in school, so to have a place to go where all you are going to do for the next 30 or 45 minutes is sing…well, it goes without saying you’re going to feel better when you leave than when you arrived.
Concentration & Memory – Learning all those words and different parts of the melody and staying focused enough during the performance so you don’t lose your way!
Communication – You have a story to tell, so you need to be in it and articulate it clearly and sing it out, so we can be in it with you!
Confidence – This one is probably the one that parents tell me they have noticed the most. To feel like you not only have permission to take the space and share your story, but to really feel like the audience and your fellow singers are right there with you, builds confidence like nothing else. For so many people singing and public speaking are fraught with terror, these kids however are getting to recognize their pre-performance nerves not as something to be feared and shut out, but more as an energy to ride. Just like before you get on a roller coaster!
Fun – Last but not least, singing just makes you feel better! Especially if you are laughing and having fun along the way! I am a stickler for my students developing great technique, not because I’m looking for perfection, but because I want their voices to be reliable, strong and flexible so they can sing their whole lives with minimal risk of injury. But if they don’t have fun and love coming to se me every week, it’s just not going to work, for any of us.
These are all priceless skills, not only for children and teens, but for anyone.
I challenge you to look through this list and not see how that skill might also be useful for you?
OK, here are a few little tongue twisters for you to try in the shower or when you’re walking the dog or whatever:
Bertie the big brown bear bites buns.
Lennie the lion, loves licking lollipops.
I’m not a thistle sifter I’m a thistle sifter’s son and I’m only sifting thistles ‘till the thistle sifter comes
And if you’re feeling much braver…
She sat upon the balcony
Inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping
And amicably welcoming him in.
See… I bet you’re smiling already?
Let me know if I can help you on your journey to discovering the joys of singing!!
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