Use of falsetto by elementary male teachers and alternatives

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    I am turning here for opinions/help because I can’t seem to find solid help on the topic. I am a baritone and on my last year of college doing student teaching currently at the K-5 level. Unfortunately, I have no reliable falsetto for whatever reason… I could come up with “excuses/explanations” but don’t know their validity and my vocal teacher (a soprano) never truly worked with me on it and does not have much to offer on the topic (plus she never completely believe I needed it).

    The thing is, my cooperating teacher (who is also a soprano) keeps saying things like “I would not be hired without falsetto” and “it is completely necessary for teaching elementary music.” Leaving me kinda discouraged as I love this level and would love to teach it. Anyways, I have noticed that the kids at the beginning did get confused but many have learned to sing on pitch back to me even if I am an octave below. I just sing in my octave in a very light head voice and play their part on the piano on their octave until they can sing without any help.

    I was wondering, are there any males out there that have had this problem teaching elementary music? How did you go at it? Any suggestions you could give me on teaching without or little falsetto?

    Also, is there any resources anyone can offer me on developing my falsetto? I am willing to work hard at it and have been but it’s taking a while. I did not have music class as a child, sing as a child (except to the radio!) and did not become seriously interested in singing until after my voice changed early in my teenage years… so I did not ever experience singing in that register and I believe that might be part of the problem but can’t tell for sure?

    Anyways, any help would be appreciated! Thanks


    John Feierabend would disagree. You look for a child model and let them do the singing modeling. I am a male teacher and on use my falsetto in very limited situations when I can not find a student that can sing in their head voice. John says to not sing in falsetto but in your best singing voice, the students will learn to transpose the octaves. I can verify this finding. Your best bet is to find one student that is singing it write with you in your singing voice. This is what I do sometimes. I sing to that student and they sing it and then the class echos them. It is is a little clumsy but the students will pick it up real quick after that. John has a saying “Sing for the students, NOT with the students” Remember this and you will be just fine.

    Also you still have more training than me. I am a trombone player with only one voice class. I have also been teaching elementary music for 18 years and I have trained numerous other male elementary music teachers.

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