Just below the lungs, the diaphragm does most of the work that the lungs get credit for. The diaphragm is muscle. The lungs aren’t. When you suck in your gut, it pushes up on the diaphragm, which pushes against the lungs, and —whoosh, out goes the air. Shallow breathing uses very little diaphragm muscle. Deep breathing needs the diaphragm to contract, pulling the lungs open wide to let in air … and then when the diaphragm relaxes(or the gut pushes against it), the air is pushed out.
Singing needs lots of air … so the diaphragm is in constant motion, contracting and expanding to its limits. Warm-ups for singing are like warm-ups for any sport —they get the body ready to work.
However, during Covoid, its helpful to not expel breath(and possibly germs) as exuberantly as usual. Talking, with a mask on, is still alright for music class. Chanting, talking together in a rhythm, using a quiet voice is a way to practice rhythm, beat, following a conductor, reading music and having fun.
So take a look at “One Apple, Two Apples” as a “reading chant. Then try out the “One Zip, Two Zips” to have students substitute their own favourite foods into the chant.
“I Like to Eat” is an incredibly fun song to sing, but the zaniness of changing the vowels works even when spoken/chanted. Check out the pdf material for a way to use this song/chant as practice material for long and short vowel sounds.
Have to stay in one spot for social distancing? Get the wiggles out by singing (or thinking) and doing the actions to a rousing song. Either make up your own actions, or use the traditional ones explained in the song pdf information. Just click on the chosen song video and all the audio, visual and written information will come to the screen.
“When I Was One” includes ideas for literacy, using word cards and a mix-up the song game.
For the adventurous, learn “I’m a Little Piece of Tin” by working through the rhythm and solfa videos found on the song page.
“Ha Ha This-A-Way” and “She’ll Be ‘Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” are both folksongs. Check out the lesson plan material for cultural settings.
All of the songs in CanDoMusic include mp3s with and without the singing. If you are in a classroom this year where singing out loud isn’t part of the plan, try having students do actions to the instrumental mp3. Its fun, and an easy check on whether students are able to follow the timing of the song just by the music.
last week: rhythm
Hello, My name is Lesley.
Les – ley = 2 claps (in music)
or 2 syllables (in literacy)
If I want to say my name quickly, (try it “Lesley”)
then the two claps might be “ti – ti” (eighth notes)
If I want to say my name in an ordinary way, (Les – ley)
then the two claps might be “ ta ta” (quarter notes)
If I want to drag my name oooouuuuutttttt, (Leees — leeey)
then the two claps might be “taa taa” (half notes)
Names are a wonderful thing to play with … everybody’s got one eh! Invite your students to say and clap their names. Play a game where one person claps (1, 2, 3 or 4 times) and everyone with that number of claps in their name, stands up, or puts their hands on their heads, or winks. Its a listening exercise and may be done anytime, anywhere … in the classroom, at home or over the internet. Usually I go on from here to create a student-name tune for the class to echo, however, in the day of Covoid, we do what we can.
Try adding “Hello” …
! for more information about teaching rhythm, go to
About —- Rhythm