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Singing and vocal work

Singing as a way to help us to read and write musical notation

Although sometimes considered a contentious subject, the written language of music is an important and valid part of developing as a musician. Singing can really help to develop children’s musical understanding in many ways – helping them to think about how music works, and also how their musical understanding is supported by meaningful use of notations. Whilst most of the teaching of singing that you lead will probably be by ear, there are opportunities to support musical learning later in the process so that the shape of the music can be followed which helps children to realise that notation can have a useful purpose in supporting musical learning. We need to keep the purpose in mind when using notation for any purpose. As Swanwick (1999: 45)1 laments, ‘if we get fixated by the notation, we may find ourselves barking at the print … with little idea of meaning’, which completely negates the purpose of using it in the first place.

This article from Sing Up gives practical ways in which singing can help us to crack the musical code2.

1Swanwick, K. (1999) Teaching Music Musically. London: Routledge.

2Ally Daubney's article on cracking the code in the 2017 Sing Up magazine: Cracking the code.