A couple of weeks ago I ran a session which went really well. Looking back on the session plan – which is happily written in purple felt-tip – I could see why:
- I thought very carefully about each song
- I experimented with soundscapes, and vocal sounds, not just on songs and song-words
- Many of the songs used very simple guitar chords so I could concentrate more on interacting with the participants
- We varied dynamics, speeds – almost resulting in seasickness during What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?
- I introduced simple descants over well-known songs
- Participants were encouraged to think of their own words for verses
All of these things, as well as other elements relating directly to the singing and the use of percussion instruments, I feel helped the participants feel more confident about their musicality and the range of sounds they can produce. So, why can’t they all be like this? As I gather new repertoire, inevitably, some of it might be a little shaky – it may take me some time to develop the activities around a song. The key is to keep things relatively simple and to rely on the range of emotions we can employ and convey with our voices.