At the Summer Symposium Director’s Academy, Jarrett Lipman gave valuable insight into how singing can be used as an effective classroom tool.

For more information and to register for the 2024 Director’s Academy, click here

To Learn Greater Expression & Musicality

When singing  a piece they are working on in wind band, students learn to develop expression through text, phrasing, and then transfer it to their instruments. Singing is a great way to teach musical interpretation in a way that makes sense to students.

Help Students Understand Balance & Blend

Students in wind band should understand the concepts of balance and blend. Balance, in this case, refers to matching volume side to side. Blend refers to how the colors of each instrument work together to create one sound. While singing, the director can teach students how their vocal part works in the context of the ensemble and students will learn how their own sound fits into different parts of the music.

Incorporating singing will also allow students to hear across the band. For example, a percussionist might hear that the clarinets have the same part as the marimba and make note to listen for clarinets in those areas.

Strengthen Understanding of Vowel Sounds to Improve Articulation

Singing exercises manipulate vowels and consonants to directly improves articulation on the instrument. The consonant determines the style; the vowel determines the voice. Students learn to shape their articulation and phrasing through singing.

Consider singing familiar exercises or songs while introducing the concept of different styles and how singing these styles translate to playing instruments.

You Can Make Singing Work for You

Incorporating singing doesn’t have to be complicated. Singing a single note is a great way to start and eases students into something that might be uncomfortable for them. Students can also sing exercises, chorales, and concert material.

If students are hesitant to sing, instructing them to hum a song as a way to get some sound is okay. The goal is to develop techniques that can be used throughout their entire performing career and it may take some prompting before students are fully comfortable with singing in the classroom.