Book: Singing Made Easy

As of January I will be up to 30 students, assuming everyone who has committed follows through with that commitment, and next week I am doing a trial voice lesson for a 7-year-old. I am used to working with older elementary and middle school voice students, but I am rather apprehensive about teaching such a young child. In looking for materials and recommendations on music to learn with this student (beyond internet printouts) I consulted Joan Frey Boytim’s book The Private Voice Studio Handbook, which is an essential guide for any voice teacher. She gave some suggestions for music and teaching young children, and recommends focusing on the basics:

“My personal reaction to teaching singing to children is positive if one instills rhythmic concepts, musical phrasing, music reading facility, ear training, resonance, and singing without vocal tension. In other words, we can teach a tremendous amount of “music fundamentals” at this age under the title of voice lessons. At the same time, many of these same concepts can be learned through piano or other instrumental lessons. If you have a very interested child who is ready for voice instruction, however, what must be taught is clear diction, storytelling through song, and singing with freedom in front of an audience.” (99)

I would agree with her statement, and add that all of my voice students are also taking piano or another instrument, either with me, or with another instructor. I feel that teaching the reading skills that are necessary for piano greatly improves a student’s ability to read the music vocally.

In my search for books to work with this child, here are some that I have come across that seem decent.

Singing Made Easy, by Marcia McCarry, The Reader’s Digest Children’s Songbook, and The Big Book of Children’s Songs.

I ordered the Reader’s Digest book for use with this student, and if she stays I may suggest that her mother purchase the Singing Made Easy book. That particular book includes a CD (to help memorize and to use as a “performance” track), teaching points for each song, coloring sheets, piano sheet music, and tips on diction and phrasing, etc. It looks like a great book. Marcia McCarry also offers variations of this method for Christmas Carols and a book on Self-Esteem.

Other Books suggested by Mrs. Boytim include (but are not limited to):

Folk Songs for Solo Singers – Jay Althouse (I use this)

Big-Note Favorite Children’s Songs – arr. Bill Boyd

Disney Classics – Easy Piano – arr. Dan Fox

The Good Ship Lollipop and Other Fun Songs – Alfred Publishing Co.

Animal Songs – Richard Carlin

Ready to Sing Folksongs – arr. Jay Althouse

Solo Songs for Young Voices – Audrey Snyder

Songbook Series – from the Royal Conservatory of Music Vol. 1-3 (hard to find!)

36 Solos For Young Singers – Boytim. Good songs, but you might want simpler ones.

Christmas Solos for Kids – Hal Leonard

Church Solos for Kids – Hal Leonard (and other Hal Leonard books)

Sesame Street Songbook, Vol. 1 and 2 – arr. Denes Agay

Songs America Sings – arr. Strecher, Horowitz, Gordon

Songs of America – arr. Dan Fox


About Lady Fair

Lady is a musician with a bachelor's degree in music education. She plays multiple instruments and has participated in numerous musical ensembles, giving her a wide variety of experiences and knowledge to use in her teaching career. Of her ensemble participation, she has fifteen years of band experience, nine years choral, and four years in orchestra. Éowyn's primary instrument is clarinet, with voice and piano being close secondary instruments. Throughout her musical education career she studied voice and clarinet simultaneously. In addition to clarinet, piano, and voice, she has also studied violin and oboe at the college level, and also plays recorder, tin whistle, and other instruments in the woodwind family. If you ask her, she will say, "I chose to major in music education because I have a desire to use my knowledge and experience in music to share its beauty and foster a love of music in the hearts of my students. I hope to encourage my students to try their hardest, feel like they have accomplished something, and give them a life long passion for music." Lady currently teaches private lessons on clarinet, sax, flute, oboe, piano, and voice, and recently gained a position teaching orchestra and chorus at a local middle school. She is also a member of the Once Upon a Dream woodwind ensembles.
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