K-12 Rote Procedure for Teaching a Song
Seven Easy Steps for Highest Quality of Rote Teaching Students to Sing a Song
The following 7-step rote procedure is 100%, no-fail every single time for teaching students of any grade to learn a song with perfect accuracy.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The procedure contains five rules that must never be forgotten or altered.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Whether the song to be learned is an easy Preschool/Kindergarten song of 4 one-measure phrases like "Hot Cross Buns," or complex like Grades 4-5 "The Erie Canal" or "The Star-Spangled Banner," this procedure is accurate and precise every time.
RULE 1: The teacher NEVER sings with the students.
(Students are responsible for their own part without any help from the teacher.)
1. Listening Question
Greet the class and ask a directed-listening question about a music concept in the song, such as, its meter, mode, dynamic, or phrase structure, etc. Never ask, "What is the song about?" The subject of the text is not a music concept. Instruct the students to "pat-clap" if the song is in duple meter, or "pat-clap-clap" if the song is in triple meter. (Pat = pat tops of thighs, and Clap = clap hands.)
2. Song Pitches
Go to the piano and play the beginning pitches of the song. Sing the pitches on "OOH" without playing along with the piano. Then immediately sing the whole song for the students. Perform the motions as you sing so the students will copy.
3. Re-Ask Question
Re-ask the directed listening question and allow the students to answer. Compliment their correct answer.
4. Short Phrases
Instruct the students to be your echo for each short phrase. There are usually four short phrases in most common songs. Sing each short phrase and have the students immediately echo beginning on the next beat after your short phrase.
RULE 2: Students always perform motions on the beat while singing or chanting.
(Always have students perform motions while singing or chanting. These motions can be the meter (see Step 1 above) or dramatizing the words in an interpretive manner. Whichever is used, all motions must always be on the beat.)
RULE 3: Immediately correct all inaccuracies.
(Never let the students get away with any inaccuracy. It will come back to haunt you many times over. When the students sing wrong notes or wrong rhythms, without telling them what was wrong, simply repeat that part, emphasizing a little louder the particular notes or rhythms that were inaccurate. This draws the students' attention to the notes or rhythms on which they need to focus and fix. Continue this until they achieve accuracy. Compliment them and continue on.)
5. Medium Phrases
Now students will echo your medium phrases. You are now pairing two short phrases together to create medium ones. There are usually two medium phrases in most common songs. Sing each medium phrase and have the students immediately echo beginning on the next beat after your medium phrase.
6. Long Phrases or Whole Song
Instruct the students to be your echo for each long phrase. You are now pairing two medium phrases to create long phrases, or in some cases, you are now singing the whole song. At this point, ask the students if they are ready to sing the whole song without any teacher's help. In most cases, they'll immediately say Yes. If any hesitation, echo sing the long phrases.
RULE 4: Never play any instrument or accompaniment, with yourself or with the students singing, until after step 6 is 100% successful.
(Neither you nor the students should use any "crutch" to substitute for independent musicianship. Add an instrument or sound track or the teacher singing along with them only after the song is accurately learned.)
Instruct the students to sing the song again while the teacher improvises a chordal accompaniment on a piano, guitar, keyboard, etc. Never play the students' melody. That is solely the students' responsibility to perform and maintain their own melody part independently of any "crutch."
RULE 5: Continuously promote vocal principles.
(When students become familiar with a song, they sing with excitement which is often increased volume. Never allow them to turn forte singing into yelling. Also, insist on proper posture with every singing event: sit tall, sit forward on chair, support from diaphragm, proper diction and mouth shape for all vowels and consonants, etc. The whole class should automatically "assume the position" whenever singing begins.)
© 2018 Knauss Curriculum Publishing