November 15, 2012

Review Crew: Teaching Kids to Sing

We love music at our house!  Curly is taking violin lessons and I'm teaching her piano.  I can't wait until our other kids are old enough to try out some instruments and fill our house with music!  And I love helping them practice!  But the one area of music that I do not feel qualified to teach or to help with is singing!  I have no idea where to begin with teaching singing skills.  Enter the Vocal Coaches-Chris and Carole Beatty with their programs for homeschool families, churches, and other organizations.

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The Vocal Coach was started by Chris and Carole Beatty who have taught thousands to sing.  They have a passion for training singers of any age and equipping them with the tools for singing.

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Teaching Kids to Sing is one of the programs produced by Chris and Carole.  This program is comprised of 3 discs-2 DVD's and 1 CD.  The DVD's contain the teaching methods used by Chris and Carole.  The CD contains all the songs from the DVD's with options for vocals or just accompaniment track only. 

The program does not focus on a particular singing style but rather teaches children and instructors how to properly use a child's voice in singing.  Here are the skills taught in this program:
Posture
Breathing
Tone
Warm Ups
Rhythm
Diction
Dynamics
Vocal Health

Teaching Kids to Sing is geared for children ages 5 to 13 and can be purchased for $44.99.Photobucket
How did we use this product?
The kids were excited to put in our DVD's and start right away.  We watched about 2 segments each time we used the program.  The kids sang along with the DVD and practiced the exercises modeled on the DVD.  We watched many of the segments multiple times so the kids could practice their skills.  I noticed that it took lots of repeated viewing and practice for them to start mastering the skills and doing the exercises properly.  The more we watched each section, the more the kids would participate and sing along with the DVD's.

My kids loved the section about warm ups.  For weeks all I heard was "la, la, la, la, la, la, la" in various scales.  They even enjoyed making up their own warm up sounds.  We also enjoyed learning about diction.  The kids practiced enunciating their words and singing fun tongue twisters.  Maybe we should even try to sing Dr. Seuss!  And I do have to admit that hearing a 3-year-old trying to enunciate properly can be hilarious.  This was my favorite segment to watch as I sat back and listened to them.  

What didn't we like?

I think the one aspect that I didn't enjoy as I watched the segments, was the over exaggeration.  The kids were very cheerful to the point of being cheesy.  Some of the demonstrations were exaggerated as well.  When showing the difference between singing upright and singing while bent over, difference was over-emphasized to the point of not being true to life.  While the kids would not notice these things-I noticed that some of the examples and the expressions on the kids in the videos was not necessarily realistic. 

On the song CD, the songs are grouped together with the vocal track first and the accompaniment track of the same song directly following.  I would prefer all the vocal tracks grouped together, followed by the accompaniment tracks.  Since my kids are younger, they much preferred to listen to the vocal tracks and would have enjoyed being able to listen to those in one group.

What did we like?
My kids enjoyed the athlete metaphor.  Chris and Carole called the children vocal athletes and taught that the voice is an instrument that needs training and proper warm ups.  My kids were really able to relate to this analogy and they loved the "Vocal Athlete" song.

We enjoyed the wide age range of children represented on the video.  Some of the kids were in the upper age range but there was also a younger student.  My kids liked seeing the varying ability levels of the kids in the videos and it helped them feel more comfortable when trying out the exercises.

My kids loved that the songs were on the CD that comes with the program.  I was able to put these songs on their iPods so they could sing along at any time.  

What did we think overall?
My kids really enjoyed this program.  They were able to clearly understand the musical skills taught in the video and the practice exercises were appropriate for their ages.  This is a singing program that my kids could do even though they are on the younger end of the age spectrum at 6, 4, and 3.

The program teaches necessary skills in a fun way that kids can understand.  The songs make it simple for them to practice what they've learned and to remember each skill.

I found this to be a great introductory program to teaching my children about singing and how to properly use their voice.  I noticed them using what they learned as they sang praise songs in the car and when they sang at church.  I would recommend this product for homeschool families who want to learn singing skills but are unsure where to begin.  I would also recommend Teaching Kids to Sing to instructors who work with children's choirs as an engaging way to introduce vocal skills to children on a level that they can understand. 

See what my fellow Crew bloggers thought at the Crew Blog!


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Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this product at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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