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Singing and vocal work

Singing as a fundamental part of the composing process

One of the aspirations of the National Curriculum is for children to improvise and compose their own music – essentially to develop and grow their own musical ideas. Singing and vocalising are central to this. Its usefulness goes far beyond composing songs, although clearly there is a great deal of mileage in this, and it can be very inspiring. We can encourage children’s natural playfulness with sounds and lyrics and help them to tell stories and explore characters through song writing. Some ideas to help with this – starting from taking songs children know already and using this to help them move towards developing their own material - can be viewed here in this article by Jackie Schneider1.

Beyond this, singing has a very important role in helping to get musical ideas ‘out of children’s heads’. When thinking about composing, we are trying to understand the creative intention behind the ideas. This is difficult, as we do not always have the technical ability to play on other instruments the ideas that are in our heads, and so by singing the ideas, we can help children to realise their ideas in other ways.