The #mfpilot2013 #mufu2014 Mashup

If you don’t know about Musical Futures then this might all seem a bit weird. Head to their website www.musicalfutures.org to find out more. Got an iPad? Check out their new app, essential for music educators. Ultimately this post is all about how to get people singing.

It’s been nearly a year since the first #mfpilot2013 training days and having recently been to #mufu2014 I thought now would be a good time to blog about how I think the two fit together.

“ Celebrate the monotone”
Gitika Partington (@gitikasings)

Thats when I realised I hadn’t even thought for a second about vocal development. Singing like most things takes time to develop. Duh! It was at the #mfpilot2013 reunion at the Roundhouse last summer that Gitika explained that we have to “Celebrate the Monotone”, don’t immediately expect every child to sing, not all children will or want to. It’s a process…

                                              “Speak-Chant-Sing”

When I created my video application for the #mfpilot2013  Find Your Voice project, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on my teaching. I really wasn’t comfortable at leading whole class singing plus I work in a boys school where there wasn’t much of a culture of singing in lessons. I wouldn’t try and introduce the #mufu2014 Happy vocalising to a class if they haven’t done much singing before, I think it could put them off, I also wouldn’t have been confident enough to teach it 6 months ago either. This is how I’d go about it…

Get some training!

Go on some FREE Musical Futures Find Your Voice training with Sharon Durant (@sedurant) and Rob Kitchen (@mrrobkitchen). I’m going to one in St Albans and another at the Southbank, come along!

Warmups

Going back to the ‘Speak-Chant-Sing’ idea, a big thing for me was warmups, they are perfect at getting people to start exploring what they can do with their mouths. Every lesson can or perhaps should start with one, John Finney (@johnfinney8) gives some pedagogical reasons why on his blog here. There are so many to choose from, I’d start with the legendary Mr Plasticine Man (@plasticine_man) but there are loads more here on the musical futures website.

Beatboxing 

Jumping to #mufu2014 I would now start a class Beatboxing @Shlomo style, I think it’s a really great way of getting people to start using their voices in the Speak-Chant stage, it can have some singing or not, it doesn’t matter. All the resources from the training are here.  I did this the other day with a couple of Y9 classes here’s what I did, it went down really well and next lesson I’m going to get them to compose their own 1 minute Beatboxing piece in groups.

4-chord Mashups

After Beatboxing I’d head back to the #mfpilot2013 resources and get stuck into some 4 chord song mashups. I like that it’s simple and structured but allows students to choose their own songs (as long as they fit with the chord sequence). You can incorporate Beatboxing and so hopefully anyone at any stage of the ‘Speak-Chant-Sing’ process can get involved. The training videos for this are here. Don’t expect them to be able to sing in tune or at the right pitch. Try using backing or guide tracks.

“Celebrate the monotone”!

What next?

Having got your classes to a stage where they are used to vocalising you can do anything. Take any song or piece of music and vocalise it! Great for GCSE & A Level set works.

Where’s the Tech?

I see the mobile technology stuff as an add on, important but not essential, I’ll blog about that next.

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