Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults
Jenevora Williams, Ph.D.
Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults is a well-balanced guide to vocal pedagogy. It explains the abilities and limitations of the young singer from both an educational and physical perspective. This is divided into several stages of learning, ranging from infant to undergraduate. Particular attention is given to the development of the voice during adolescence in both girls and boys.
Appropriate technique is outlined, with anatomical descriptions and sample exercises throughout. Approaches suitable for different musical styles are covered. Related topics are explained such as the teaching of children with special educational needs, vocal health, and the structuring of lessons, warm-ups and individual practice times.
Packed with illustrative case studies and illuminated with original cartoon art, the book reflects the extensive personal experience of the author.
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‘…will prove to be the new “Well-thumbed Book”, the indispensable bible for the teachers who work with children and young adults…. it is difficult to overemphasize the significance which I think this book has for the future of our young singers… a remarkable treatise’. Review in Singing Magazine (AOTOS)
Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults is an exciting new book which I am certain will become a really useful and comprehensive reference guide for all those wishing to lead singing. Howard Goodall CBE, Composer and Broadcaster
You have done something spectacularly good and I heartily congratulate you. Not only do you write such palpable sense throughout, but your style is eminently readable, and clear as crystal. Singing Teacher, Royal College of Music, London
Preface. Introduction. Using this book. Acknowledgements. Why sing and why teach it?: What is singing? Communication. Musicianship. Technique. Repertoire. Benefits of singing. Why do children need to learn vocal technique at all? High achievers in physical activities. Stages of learning. Motivation. Types of intelligence. What is ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’? Children aged 0-6 years: The musical experience of the foetus. Early singing, carer and infant. Musical development. Musical play. Educational development. Pitch-matching in singing. Gender differences. Physical Development. Singing technique: what can and can’t be done. The vocal structure of the infant. The vocal structure of the young child. Posture. Breathing. Pitch range and voice timbre. Children aged 7-12 years: Context. Physical development. Musical development. Reading musical notation. Singing technique: what can and can’t be done. Ethnic and gender differences. Repertoire. Adolescents: Context. Physical development. Singing technique: what can and can’t be done. Allocation of choral parts. Girls. Boys. Adolescent girls: Physical development. Technique: what the voice can and can’t do. Adolescent boys: Physical development. Technique: what the voice can and can’t do. Assess the voice. Should a boy continue to sing with his high pitch-range? Puberphonia. Repertoire. Historical background to singing during adolescent voice change. How the voice works and appropriate vocal exercises: Introduction. Posture and breathing. What is ‘support’? What is the role of the diaphragm? The primary sound source – the larynx. Chest and head registers. Falsetto. Vibrato. Creak. Constriction. Onset. Breathiness. Exploring and developing the upper pitch range. Register change. Belting. The vocal tract – the throat, mouth and nose. Swallowing. Yawning. The shape of the pharynx in singing. Jaw tension. The Tongue. Projected resonance. Nasality. Vowels. Vowel problems. Consonants. Consonant problems. The Lips and Facial Expression. From Mozart to Musical Theatre, Gospel to Pop: cross-training for the voice. Structuring lessons and practice: Lesson or rehearsal structure. Individual lesson structure. Physical and emotional empathy. Notebooks and recordings. Warm-ups – why are they necessary and how do we do them? Wake up and balance the body. Breathing. Release the throat. Warm-up the larynx. Explore resonance. Clarify articulation. Summary. Private practice. Motivation. Personal practice routine. Memorisation of music. Vocal health and ill-health: Why good voice use is important. Voice problems in children. Prevention of voice problems. Lifestyle issues affecting vocal health for all singers: teachers and pupils. Eating and drinking. Medications. What to do when the voice goes wrong. Voice first aid. Voice disorders in children. Organic voice disorders (not related to voice use). Functional voice disorders (related to voice use). Context or environmental factors. Why intensive training sometimes goes wrong. Professional adult musicians. Children who are trained to sing at a professional level. Performance expectations, anxieties and catastrophe theory. Strategies for anxiety management. Golden rules for healthy voice use. Children with specific individual needs: Base-line assessment. Encouragement and confidence. Dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Multisensory learning. Short-term memory. Long-term memory. Avoid distractions. Clear practice structure. Reading music. Autism and Asperger’s syndrome.ADD or ADHD. Attention Skills. Organizational skills. Clear practice structure. Asthmatics. Eczema. Fatigue-related conditions. Hearing impairment. Visual impairment. Tracking problems such as Nystagmus. Albinism. Cerebral Palsy. Down syndrome. Cystic Fibrosis. Minestrone: Child Protection Issues. Historical outline of singing training for children. Influence of different musical instruments. Orthodontic treatments. Choral singing. The child as a professional singer. Operatic repertoire for 18-21 year-olds. Afterword. Repertoire list. References
About the Author
Jenevora Williams has taught singing at The Royal College of Music Junior Department, Guildford School of Acting Conservatoire, many universities, and is Vocal Adviser and teacher-in-residence for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. After studying at Bristol University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she had a ten-year performing career. This included singing frequently for Welsh National Opera with roles in Cosi Fan Tutte, The Magic Flute, Electra, Iphigenie and Idomeneo. As well as having a private teaching practice for students and professional singers, Jenevora has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Education, London University, in the vocal health and development of boy choristers. She was the 2010 winner of the Van Lawrence Prize, awarded by the British Voice Association for her contribution to voice research. Her current research projects are investigating aspects of teaching practice applicable to a variety of ages and musical styles.