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Can kids sing harmony?

29 Jan 99 - 12:38 PM (#56277)
Subject: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Margo

I am going to teach a children's chorus this summer. I am arranging some sea chantys and other folk music for the litte dears. The ages will be about 8 through 15, and I have no idea if any of the kids will have had any experience singing with others. I wonder if anyone with some experience can clue me in .... Is three part harmony too much?

29 Jan 99 - 01:08 PM (#56280)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: MMario

My suggestion would be (if possible) to teach the different groups seperately....and then put the parts together...but if pre-schoolers can sing rounds...and they do, they should be able to sing harmony.


29 Jan 99 - 01:32 PM (#56284)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: heidi

My choir ranges in age from 4 to 18. We reserve the simpler songs for the younger children, while using more difficult songs for the older, more advanced students. You may want to divide your time between two groups. I often have some of our music-reading moms sing along with the different sections until parts are learned. Another suggestion - have the younger kids sing the melody, and let the older kids do harmony or counter parts. Good luck!

29 Jan 99 - 01:37 PM (#56286)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Animaterra

"Partner songs" are also a good way to begin; what Sol Weber calls "Quodlibets" where tow or more songs go together, ( Like, Shalom chaverim and "What a goodly thing" and "wade in the water")Two-part songs once they've shown thay can do the easier stuff. How old are they?

30 Jan 99 - 02:22 AM (#56387)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Musicman

sounds like your getting some good advice about how to start. Kids will surprise you! We had a choir of 15 singers about 9-16 years old, one concert they sang 5-6 different languages, including japanese. The japanese song was also a 3 part canon on the unison, 1 beat apart! Very difficult, but they did a super job. They always sounded great with two and three part songs.

Be careful what you pick for music, not too low, especially for young voices and not too high either. But, they will be able to sing higher than you think! if you encourage them properly. My wife worked with a lot of young singers in her teaching.

30 Jan 99 - 05:41 PM (#56491)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Laurel

I know fom experience that kids can sing harmony. I think Heidi's idea was good, to have the younger kids do the melody and the older kids do harmony. Where will you be teaching this children's chorus?


30 Jan 99 - 07:44 PM (#56504)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Joe Offer

Kids remember melodies very well, but I don't think they have a natural ability to harmonize. Good old Sister John Bosco taught me the alto parts of some songs when I was in fifth grade, and I still remember them, 40 years later.
I still haven't been able to learn the trick of how to harmonize "naturally." Sister might not be pleased about that. She thought I had such potential. She always said I was "really sharp."
-Joe Offer-

30 Jan 99 - 08:03 PM (#56507)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: catspaw

First, let me state without question that I am a gawdawful singer...doesn't stop me, but I'm truly lousy. I've been singing harmony parts (often badly, but I sing the melody badly too) since I was old enough to sing in church. My Mom had a strong alto voice (quite good) and from about age 5 or so I just naturally sang what she did. As I got older the parts changed, but I think when you grow up "hearing" thoses harmonies all the time, it becomes natural to think in those terms too. We sang at home, in the car, at church, and lastly at school. I'm now 50 and harmonies are just somehow there. It has to do with exposure and experience. But...can kids sing harmony ...certainly! How do they learn....HMMMM... If you can get some strong voiced adult help on each part it might be useful. One of the biggest problems I have getting anyone to sing harmony (or sometimes sing at all) is not wanting to sound out for fear of "mistakes" or embarassment. A stong voice around will help.catspaw

30 Jan 99 - 10:29 PM (#56532)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Don Meixner

Can kids sing in harmony? Hmmmm.

Don and Phil Everly, The Vienna Boys Choir, The Osmond Brothers (Gasp! originally a very good boys barber shop group) The Mandrell Sisters. Most of these adult groups known for their harmony singing where singing harmonu as kids. Don and Phil Everly and The Mandrells were on radio and TV as kids. The Osmonds (Gasp!) headlined at Disney land for years before they made the Andy Williams show. Even my sons, ne'er do wells tho' they be, sing beatifully in harmony when they think no one is listening.


31 Jan 99 - 12:57 PM (#56603)
Subject: RE: Can kids sing harmony?
From: Tim Jaques

Kids can sing almost anything, when they have skillful nuns to whip them to the task. I speak from experience.:)

Um, what sea shanties might be deemed appropriate for children that age? Wouldn't want you in trouble with the forces of Political Correctness. I can see them going home to sing Congo River to their shocked mothers.:)