Helping Students Find their Singing Voice

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:

American Slide Whistle

http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-Chimes-ASW-American-Whistle/dp/B00000IS23/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1350054397&sr=8-2&keywords=slide+whistle

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! 

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2 responses to “Helping Students Find their Singing Voice

  1. For a game, I asked the students to give me a sample with their voices and I had to replicate it on the slide whistle. Not only was it fun, I was able to hear more students individually.

  2. I hold my hands out showing different levels and say you were singing but it was little low/high and show them the difference (one hand shows where my voice was and the other where their voice was). This seems to work for the majority of my kids but for the few that have a hard time I use my slide whistle and other siren exercises.

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