I’m trying to incorporate more singing games and play parties into my music lessons. They are a great way to teach not only singing, but beat, pattern, form, etc. They also develop social skills, like eye contact, holding hands, taking turns, cooperation, and the crazy idea of partnering with someone other than your best friend.
My thing with these games, though, is that I choose songs and games that I don’t actually have to teach.
What do I mean by that? I mean that by the time I have presented the idea of the game, and told them about how it goes, they already know the song. It looks a little something like this:
Step 1. Sing the song as they are transitioning from the last thing and sitting down with you.
Step 2. Add a beat action for them to join in as you sing through once.
Step 3. Ask a question about it, like, “What word was different in the second phrase?” or “How did the song tell us to move?” Not everyone will raise their hands, so you’d better tell them to listen more closely as you sing it for them.
Step 4. Ask again, and let someone answer this time. “Okay, then sing it with me this time.” And most of them can; they’ve heard it four or five times already.
Depending on the song and the game, I may have already worked the actions in by now. If not, it’s usually a case of, “do what I do.” Keep the pace up, and you will find that you are teaching by not teaching at all!
Ready to give it a try? Here are some of the songs I (don’t) teach this way: “Hunt the Cows”, “Brown Bear”, “Go In and Out the Window”, “Obwisana”, “Jump Jim Joe”, and “Bow Wow Wow.” What are some of your favorite quick-learning singing games?