Video #1: The first video is structured as a call and response format. It was easy to depict a single leader singing the call, and the rest of the children giving the response, but I couldn’t depict the single person who was designated as the leader. It almost looked like to me that the person was not in the camera angle. A strong sense of community and unity was conveyed to me by these little children, as their culture and music rituals brought them together as one. Ysaye Barnwell talked highly of this, and how important it is to cherish the sacredness of this. The pitch level of the children’s voices and the chant were sung very high; with that said, the quality of their voices were free and unified in the music! The feelings or affect from the children singing are uplifting, and they sing with genuine enthusiasm and energy!
Video #2: This video was so neat to watch, because you could just feel the genuine emotion resonating in each child! Each child seemed fully engaged in the song as they moved their whole body, and grooved to the beat. When listening to the lyrics of the song, and knowing this group is based out of New York, it is empowering to hear children sing about following big dreams! It seems as if their director, who is also playing the piano, is conducting or leading them mainly with big body motions and gestures. The quality of their voices was so pure and free; the blend amongst these voices is pretty incredible, as they are not worrying about necessarily matching vowels, or shaping the tone of their voices, but rather just singing from the heart. To me, it seemed like they were best in tune with one another during the a cappella sections of the song. At the end, a little boy gets up to do a “happy dance,” and its so fun to see the children find joy in the music they created!
Video #3: After going through each verse, the children seem very confident at the end of each verse, which went something like “all getting ready on halloween night!” The instructor is definitely carrying the tune and beat of the song, but the children are able to stay up with her, as she gives a cue for each new verse. I think it is important to choose songs for children that they will be able to succeed in, and feel confident on. It seems like the key or pitch level has been set in the upper range of the voice, in order for the children to be able to sing all the notes. At the end of this video, one child shares an example of how he connects to Halloween. This happens a lot when children can relate to what they are singing about.
Video #4: The children in this video are likely to enjoy this song because of the catchy tune that is has, along with the variety of instruments being used. I think the children would also be able to sing it well, because of their ability to internalize that strong beat of the strong. Therefore, if I were the teacher and wanted the children to sing this song with me, I would perform a call and response with them. That way they can learn the song by example, and feel confident with the tune.
Video #5: This video of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus showed a huge age range of performers, from what looked like fifth or sixth graders, all the way to seniors in high school. Lead and directed by three different directors to keep time, the sound of this joint choir was very unified, and choral sounding. There were unique qualities, harmonies, and musical choices in this arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner. I have heard of this group before, and have had several friends who were members of this group all through high school. It is a well respected group in the valley, where music is shared between so many children!
Video #6: Control of this musical experience seemed to decline as the video went on and on. The instructor was all over the place, not only with her control or lack of with the children, but with her timing, conducting and keys. When having the children perform in rounds, not only do they change to singing it in a major key, but she also changes the key each time, which is inconsistent. Her conducting is also not the clearest, and her ability to reign in the group of children and to refocus them seemed to lack. I think by the end, the boys and girls were singing to their own heart’s desire instead of in unity.
Overall, one of the biggest take aways that I have had with children’s singing is the simplicity that is associated with it. Their sounds are pure, and the ability to make music is limitless, as they seem to find joy in the genuine process of singing and creating music! I think singing for them is a fun way to express themselves, and channel in their energy towards a common goal. It is critical to support children’s singing, by fostering an environment in which musical creativity can occur. With that said, structure is beneficial in the music making process, as it helps channel in the intentions and power of music. What is not good for them is inconsistency, negative connotations associated with music, and dampening the limits to the creative process!
Three primary ideas:
Musical creativity is limitless. This idea, supported by each of the videos listed above, is crucial to remember, as children from all different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences learn and share a language of music that might not be the same as everyone else, and that is okay. More importantly, it is about encouraging children to make music in any way, shape, or form that they can!
Music is an outlet for all. While also exemplified in the videos above, music is rooted in our lives in so many different ways. It is important to help children find the way in which music serves as an outlet or gate to new opportunities and experiences.
Everyone needs music. A human soul thrives on the emotion and expression that music can give to us. Children are innately born with musical abilities that are sometimes surpassed. Therefore, it is important to help children explore their musical inclinations at a young age, where they can flourish and utilize music in their daily lives.