Lift Every Voice and Sing

In all our young learners, Sing Education aims to develop a well-trained ear, head, and hand. In our experience and practice, this is what creates a well-trained musician. This is also why we chose frameworks, methodologies and lessons that rely on our primary instrument – the voice.

Schools

The First Instrument

Singing-led means that singing and vocal work are at the core of all the musical training we do with our young pupils.

The singing voice is our primary instrument as humans.

It’s the first way we communicate and as such, it’s the natural instrument. It’s also much more accessible to our early-stage musicians – whether in class or out; whether a new learner or advanced and irrespective of special educational need, first language, household income, arts literacy, etc. Through Sing Education’s unique teaching frameworks, methodologies and lesson plans, our pupils develop a very personal, intimate and finely-turned relationship with their primary instrument, the voice.

Singing-led also means we use voice, the primary instrument, to lead all lessons.

For example, you’ll notice that our songs and activities are taught by ear using an “I sing” then “You sing” approach. The teacher sings first and then encourages students to sing back, modelling what they’ve just heard. In this way, children learn to use their singing voices to access all areas of music – rhythm, pitch, tone, etc.. As a result, they’re readily able to apply what they’ve learnt through singing to traditional handheld instruments as they progress in their study. It’s all about developing a well-trained ear and the inner hearing to be able to apply themselves to a wide spectrum of ongoing musical development.

Music teacher sitting, singing with her hands on chest, four primary pupils, teacher, two pupils looking at the teacher.

Ear, Head and Hand

We believe that children should, first and foremost, develop a well-trained ear. That they should develop their inner hearing. As part of this skill, it is vital that children actively use their thinking voice – that they have the ability to be able to pitch inside their head, as well as hear rhythms and melodies inside their head. This, along with their singing voice, will allow them to create a deep connection between external pitch and internal pitch, between external music-making, and internal music-making.

A well-trained head is required to develop all of the knowledge and understanding that they will need to be able to express themselves musically, as well as to understand the wider world of music. So, whether that’s being able to read written notation or to understand music from around the world, that’s going to give them the ability to express themselves better through music-making.

And then finally, a well-trained hand. Without the world-trained ear and the well-trained head, it’s going to be very difficult to make music effectively using your “hands,” whether that’s on an instrument or relating to your well-trained voice. So mastery of ear, head and hand…this is the final roundup.

How Does Singing Build Musicianship in Practice?

Here’s an example.

Assume you have the understanding, the ability, to pitch using your own voice. As a result, you then have a more robust ability to listen for tuning, to find intervals on instruments, to identify the structure of a melody, etc. When you develop your voice and especially your inner hearing, you’re able to produce the pitches yourself. This moves music education beyond the inherent limitations of learning the subject solely by depressing buttons on a keyboard or by fingering notes on a fret. Developing your inner hearing or your thinking voice enables you to hear the music inside your head without relying on an external instrument to create the music.

In practical terms, this means that if you can hear the music inside of your head first, when you play it on the instrument, you are working to try and express what is inside of your head. For advanced work, especially in terms of music composition, improvisation and other advanced skills, this is highly preferable as opposed to relying on an external factor (such as an instrument) to express what you mean or allowing the music to be from the outside in. Music should be from the inside out, so expressing on your instrument or through your voice what you already hear in your inner hearing, in your mind.

In summary, it’s about delivering music education that can lead to music performance, as opposed to music performance being the sole route to music education.

Four KS2 primary children sitting on assembly floor, singing a song. three female pupils and one male, using hand gestures

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Articles by this Author

A high-quality and accessible music education benefits primary schools by raising children’s attainment, enhancing expression and boosting language skills.
Curricular lessons are high-energy and engaging, with singing at the core to encourage learners to enjoy the exploration, passion and understanding of music.
Our music provision is uniquely developed in partnership with each individual school, with bespoke timetabling, ongoing training and full management.

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