How To: Teach New Songs

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When I teach a new song, I usually do some variation on the following process:

  • Introduce them to the melody.  Have the pianist softly play the song while you discuss the theme.    Sing or play the song for them and ask them to listen for something specific (how many times does it use this word, answer this question, etc.)  Have them sing the melody in an animal “language”   (instead of singing the words, sing “moo” or “baa” or “meow”).  
  • Sing one line to them and have them repeat it.  Sing a second line and have them repeat it.  See if they can sing both lines together.  Repeat with the next two lines.  See if they can sing all four lines together.  Continue.  Don’t spend too much time on this.  They’ll catch on better when you put the whole song together.  
  • I often begin with the chorus because it is usually both easier and catchier and it almost always introduces the theme.  Also, if they know the chorus well then they can end the song stronger and with more confidence, which encourages them to keep trying.
  • Once the children have heard and repeated all of the lines, find a creative way to sing the song many times.  Click here for ideas.  
  • In the following weeks, include the song in your activities so that they don’t forget it.

If you have more tips, please share them with us in the comments!
And for ideas about how to teach with a flip chart, see the article here.