Child Voice Book Offers Tips for Teachers

“Children … enter music classrooms with a multiplicity of singing abilities,” says Mary Goetze, and music teachers need a lot of tricks up their sleeve to help all these students succeed.

Choral and general music educators will benefit from the myriad ideas found in MENC’s revised edition of Tips: The Child Voice, edited by Maria Runfola and Joanne Rutkowski.

The new book, an expanded version of the 1997 edition, includes

  • new information on the singing voice
  • strategies for the adolescent voice in transition
  • games, activities, and techniques to nurture children’s voices
  • updated tips for selecting classroom materials
  • resources and sample materials.

Collected from numerous experienced teachers, these tips should prove useful to anyone who deals with young students and singing. Here’s a sample tip for teachers:

“Develop your own healthful vocal habits—stretching, warming up, releasing body tension, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding vocal strain, singing and speaking in both upper and lower registers, and so on. Then pass these habits on to colleagues and students by example as well as by instruction.” (p. 17)

A tip on p. 46 suggests that teachers “record student performances and play them back immediately” to let students critique their own work. “Record consecutive performances, but save the original recording to allow students to hear their improvement.”

See more information about Tips: The Child Voice on the RLE website.

MENC member Mary Goetze is a professor emerita of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. Book coeditor Maria Runfola is coordinator of music education at the University of Buffalo, The State University of New York. Coeditor Joanne Rutkowski is a professor and coordinator of music education at Pennsylvania State University.

–Ella Wilcox, August 10, 2010, © National Association for Music Education