How to Get Students to Sing by Themselves

Having trouble getting your students to sing by themselves? Well, worry no more. In this post, we give you some few simple techniques that will help your students gain confidence to be able to perform by themselves.

All of us know that singing by yourself in front of an audience can be scary. This fear is present even when the performer is familiar with the audience. A good example is when students have to sing by themselves in front of their classmates. Although they are not in unfamiliar territory, most of them are too shy to do it.

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Over the years, I have developed some simple but effective means of encouraging students to perform by themselves. These are summarized below:

  1. Start with One Chord Folk Songs

I start with one chord folk songs on the ukulele. The chords and strumming patterns for these songs are easy enough so that adding the coordination of singing is possible right away.

An example of a one chord folk song in given below.

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These songs don’t sound like songs unless you sing. Students are therefore willing to sing as they play.

    2. Assign the Students to Groups and Test

image-editWhen I assess my class, I divide them into smaller groups of four or five students.  To “pass” the song and earn a sticker on a chart posted in the hall, the student must play and sing the song from memory.

Students are free to have backup singers join them in singing. They can also decide to not take the test.

Because the other groups of students are engaged in other musical activities, the students who are singing are not embarrassed.  Most of them are even willing to sing by themselves!

I have had tremendous success in my classroom using the above two steps and I hope that you will too. Please feel free to post a comment below.

Happy Strumming.

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