The teachers at EK have all had years of classical lessons. However the main focus is on the students engagement.
The singing classes are designed to make kids fall in love with increasingly sophisticated music. Most of the music we focus on is musical theatre but we also do a few pop songs as well. It’s about exposure. We recently did a bunch of songs from Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Very complicated and difficult music and the kids really thrived. It was proof of what they are capable of.
The singing voice is an extension of the speaking voice. We’ll often spend time speaking the song and gradually extend the voice until they are singing. There are lots of fun warm ups that the kids do that actually encourage them to support the sound with the lower abdominal muscles. The kids see it as making fun noises. It’s really important to get a full confident sound.
Style -One very important distinction to make is that when we are singing classical music, the primary focus is on the music.When we are singing a musical theatre song the primary focus is on the words. I often think of it as acting in tune. When we are singing a pop song the main focus is on the feel of the piece. The same rules don’t apply. You have to make sure you are comparing apples with apples.
The kids learn the difference between singing in their chest voice (in the speech register) and head voice (The singing register) Usually every term there is a song where chest voice is required and a song where head voice is required.
We usually aim to find pieces that have different parts so the kids can start to sing in harmony. A song like the Rhythm of life is a perfect example. It can be sung in 3 different parts. The parts a very distinct and different but when sung together, it sounds wonderful.