A Skill That Can Be Learned
Love to sing, but not sure how to start teaching others? Here are some great guidelines for the emerging song leader—no matter what age you are.
- Know the group that you will be working with. How old are they? How many girls are there? What are their singing abilities? What are their song interests? How long is their attention span?
- Begin with simple songs or songs that the girls know. Choose songs that are simple, like short rounds, songs with tra-la-la choruses, repeat songs, or those that include repetition.
- Know what you are doing. Know the song words and the melody. Practice. Use note cards if you need them. Make a list of the songs you will sing, and know the order you will sing them in. Know something of the history of the song so you can share it with the girls.
- If you are choosing songs for an evening program, start out with the rowdy songs and end up with the quiet songs to set the tone for bedtime.
- Be enthusiastic.
- Sing the song through for the group. Introduce the song by telling where it is from. Sing the first verse and the chorus, so group members know how it sounds. Have those who know it sing with you.
- Teach the song phrase by phrase. Sing a phrase, and have the group sing back to you. Then join phrases and sing the verse and chorus. If long, teach a few verses, then repeat. Repeat once or twice.
- Sing the song all together. If singing a round, a song with parts, or a descant, make sure each group knows its part well before putting the parts together. If you are singing a song with parts, have a leader who knows each part. Use simple hand motions to keep the tempo.
- You give the starting note. Hum the melody or use a musical instrument. If you get it wrong, stop and start over. Avoid pitching too high or too low for girls.
- Make sure that girls follow your hand motions. Let them know that hand motions are used to keep the group together in the right tempo, and the motions will help them know where you are in the song.
- Choose a variety of songs. Do songs that are fast and slow, songs that include hand motions, and songs that lend themselves to simple harmony, as well as funny songs. Avoid songs that might be offensive to religious or ethnic groups.
- Pax Lodge Songbook
- Sangam Sangeet/Sangam Songbook
- Girl Scout Pocket Songbook
- Girl Scout Brownie Songbook
- Check your Girl Scout council or camp library. There may be songbooks available for check-out.
- Campfire Songs, edited by Irene Maddox, Rosalyn Blankenship, and Rosalyn Cobb. Old Saybrook, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press. This has some fun songs.
- Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Songbook, edited by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson. Bethlehem, Pa.: Sing Out! Publications. This is a favorite resource for folk songs. It has chords, but not the music, with words for over 1,000 songs.
- Girl Scouts Greatest Hits, Legend Music Web site at http://gsmusic.com. Information on recordings by Melinda Caroll (one CD featured is the result of a Girl Scout chorus).