Pedagogy and Products August 21, 2015

Time-Saving Practice Routines. Your voice teacher is always stressing the importance of daily vocal practice, but your life is already filled with enough activities to make finding the time to get that vocal workout in difficult. Then, there’s the problem of just what resource to use: should you pay a high price for a CD, only to find that the teaching style doesn’t jive with your needs, or discover the instructor spends too much time explaining vocal technique without getting into the real nitty-gritty of practice drills. Furthermore, what should you concentrate on? Breathing, relaxation, vowel drills, or runs?

How much would you appreciate a reasonably-priced, quick, and easy-to-follow vocal workout that emphasizes all the techniques necessary to a good routine—breathing, vowels, stretching, and exercises to help you increase your range? If this sounds like the routine for you, head to the website Teachers Pay Teachers and download the Vocals-On-The-Go warmup. This four-page download is filled with breathing and stretching exercises, vowel drills, and the drills practiced each day by the vocal students at Falls Music School. Developed by our own vocal instructor, Kathleen Moreland, this routine can help you get the most efficient use of your valuable time. Even better, the cost for the entire package is just $3.95. While on the site you can check out some of our vocal and general music teaching resources—world music lesson boards, complete vocal curriculums for both children and adults (both used at Falls Music), and downloadable lesson plans and instructions for handcrafted instruments.

Of course, these offerings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lesson plans for music and academic subjects as well. Great for instructors with small studios or those who take their teaching skills on the road, as well as parents who home school. Check out this link for more information:

Multi-Talented Musician. Country crooner Keith Urban is a man of many talents: purveyor of a line of custom guitars on QVC, American Idol judge, singer, songwriter, and more. Now the entertainer has added one more feather in his cap by being named the first national ambassador for the Country Music Association’s “Music Education Matters” campaign. One of the program’s main focuses is putting instruments into the hands of lower-income and inner-city youths, as public schools have been gradually cutting back or even eliminating school music programs. Urban says his exposure to music as a child growing up attending a public school is what inspired him to become a musician. “Music education…is something that’s really important to me,” Urban stated in a recent edition of Albany “I just went to basic public school in Queensland, Australia but even there in our small town of Caboolture, there was a music room with a piano and a couple of guitars and a little drum kit and a couple of great teachers.” Urban goes on to say that the idea of music education being pushed aside in favor of other subjects is not in the best interests of young children. Aside from lending a public face to the movement, Urban will donate 60 guitars as well as picks and amplifiers to school music programs in several cities including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and his adopted hometown of Atlanta. For more information about Music Education Matters, click here.

Stock Up on Vocal Repertoire. Players of guitar, woodwinds and other band instruments, or violinists can walk into just about any music store and peruse the shelves or jump on their favorite site to sample the latest offerings in sheet music. Singers who venture into those very same stores, however, are likely to find a smallish section devoted to vocal music; with the same few collections including the same songs. Therefore, finding that specific book your voice teacher wants you to purchase or trying to get your hands on the score from the newest Broadway musical may not be as simple as taking a trip into town to visit your local vendor. That’s where (Primarily A Capella) comes in. This single website has hundreds of songbooks for every style of singing and every type of voice: classical works for bass, tenor, alto, and soprano voices; doo-wop and barbershop; contemporary; Christian; jazz, and seasonal music.

The site is easy to navigate with handy links to divide repertoire up by style and voice type; many of the songbooks on the site are also available with accompaniment CDs to facilitate practice at home between lessons. The website labels itself as a “Celebration of the Human Voice—the Essential Musical Instrument,” so you are sure to find exactly the piece you are searching for. All from the comfort of your home or office, which is even better. You can check it all out here. To stay up to date with every issue of Pedagogy and Products, as well as other blog posts from FMS, you can subscribe to newsletter below, or by clicking here. For even more content from us and other music educators, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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