I came across a great idea while attending a workshop with John Feierabend. He was talking about how he uses a slide whistle to help his students find their head voice. I have had a few children in the past that couldn’t seem to find that head voice no matter what I did. Then I brought out the slide whistle. After 2 weeks of practice, every student was using that voice.
Here’s what I did (second grade):
- I played the slide whistle in a couple of different ways for the students.
- I asked the students if they could make their voices sound like the slide whistle.
- Many students would whistle instead of do a vocal siren. When they did that, I told them to match what I was doing with their voice instead of with their lips and air. Worked like a charm.
- After that, many students were asking to play the slide whistle. I didn’t want to let them do that (for obvious reasons) so instead I allowed them to pull the handle as I blew (gently, of course).
- The students had a great time and a few asked their parents to buy them slide whistles!
This is the one I purchased:
Have you used a slide whistle to get your students to explore head voice? Do you have any other tricks for getting students to sing up there? Please share in the comments! I know we’re always looking for more tricks!