Truth time: I'm a flute player. I was raises an instrumentalist and have suffered with a poor ear all my life. Unfortunately, I think wind instruments, if not taught the correct way, lend themselves to poor ear development. Or at least that's my case. With brass instruments they have to listen to where they play in the harmonic overtone series. Trombone players especially develop a good ear. The same with string players, they have to rely on their ear to play the correct notes, let alone with good intonation. With wind instruments, you have a set of keys to put down and you play. You either (for the flute) get one octave or the other. And I know that a major part of my sad story is that I was never taught early on about good intonation and my aural skills were never challenged. It wasn't until Kodály levels musicianship class that I finally "saw the light." THANK YOU VICKI LOEBELL!!! :)
Long story short, I try to challenge my students to sing by themselves in class. . . a lot. Some of the "easiest" ways they sing on their own is through echo songs. The echos are short, they give the students a real quick turn (which your really shy students warm up to doing right away) and you can give quick immediate feedback. Call-response songs are also great for this reason. John Feierabend has two WHOLE books devoted to these types of songs.
What I also like to do is incorporate solo singing into singing games and in a non-threatening environment. So, I compiled all my songs that do this into a little collection:
I created a PowerPoint for this one, but this is a fun way to get your older beginners or hesitant singers to participate (as they aren't really singing.) Basically, one student sits with their back to the class while the song is sung. One student is the "old man" or "spook," who whispers all the answers. At the end, the student who is sitting with their back to the class tries to guess who the spook is.
This is an African-American favorite of mine. It's played like "cut the cake" and the leader performs the call as a solo:
This one I learned from Susan Brumfield during my level I Kodály class at Portland State and the older classes eat it up. There's solo singing but also pitch memory as they start out speaking their part and transition into singing.
You can find this at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I have been posting a lot of files in a zip file. If you ever have any trouble at all with a file, please email me. I'll be more than happy to email you the file and that usually alleviates any problems you might have opening the zip file.
Happy Monday everyone!! :)