For the second choir lesson, I focused on matching pitch and changing pitch. I taught students to sing 1, 2, and 3 corresponding to music notes C, D, and E, respectively. We sang “Hot Cross Buns” using the numbers and no student guessed the song title; thus, we called it our “Numbers Song.” That also made it easier to focus on just the numbers. Everyone practiced singing in their chairs and many of the students did very well matching pitch and changing pitch accordingly with the piano. We sang without the piano, encouraging the students to sing on their own, which is difficult for many students.
Taking our lesson to the stage and flipFORM risers, I told the students that I labeled each level a different number: 1 for the lowest level and 3 for the highest. I demonstrated singing the numbers while walking up the risers, changing pitch with each level. I also sang our numbered song while moving on the risers.
Then it was the students’ turn on the risers! They practiced walking on stage, to the risers, and standing in a spot. I accompanied the students on the piano while they sang and moved to the different levels of the risers. We did it a second time without the piano, just listening to our voices. Some of the students were able to sing and move at the same time while others focused on moving to the correct number and listening to their friends and I sing.
The students moved to the change in pitch and really honed in on listening to the matching the pitch while on the risers. Doing this increased students’ listening skills, confidence in singing, and understanding of music notes changing and staying the same. They felt it with their bodies and got the connection of pitch changing when they moved and pitch staying the same when they stayed on the same level. Some of them wanted to move to soon or not move when the pitch changed. I sang and held out the pitch until the last student moved to the according level.
After each of the 5 classes experienced singing on the risers, the choir sounded a lot stronger in their pitches singing a capella and students held their own as a result! Using the risers was a great way to learn and move with the music notes. I am very excited to watch the choir grow and discover our collective singing voice.