Song Output

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7 thoughts on “Song Output”

  1. have you never heard of mouthing? My sorority won the Greek sing because I learned to mouth the words instead of singing off key. Tell your kids that if they feel shy about singing in Latin, they are allowed to mouth the parts they aren’t sure of. They can join in the chorus.

  2. I also take my students Christmas caroling. One of the songs we sing is a German version of “Deck the Halls”. Students are allowed to mouth the words on the German lines, but everyone has to do the “Fa la la la las”. On “Silent Night”, I get a student to play guitar, and I tell students we are re-creating the original performance mode. (The song was first sung to guitar accompaniment because the church organ was broken.) Even initially reluctant students ultimately enjoy the experience.

  3. I agree with all of the above. I think the bottom line is whether we are “forcing” them or not. In my experience, kids love doing this. Not everyone likes to sing, but they can lip-synch and if they are painfully shy they can get in the very middle of the group where they won’t be “noticed.” The kids who love singing get to shine here, and their voices more than make up for those who are lipsyching. I tend to read the energy on this one. I have had groups that have not been into it, so sometimes I have skipped it, but generally kids will ask” are we going caroling?”

    In terms of CI, I don’t worry so much. Yes, there is a ton of incomprehensible stuff, but 1) if the song is a translation of something familiar they “comprehend the spirit” of it all and 2) if is is a more traditional song in the language, I do take a bit more time with the lyrics. I typically do not go through the whole circling thing, and backward planning, because usually I forget to start up with these songs until late in the game. BUT afterward, those structures will pop up, and I can have the kids recall them easily from having heard the song. In a sense, we do the same in our native languages…we learn songs without really knowing the lyrics. As a kid I always wondered what “donzerly” meant (you know, from the national anthem? the donzerly light?).

    Having student guitar players makes it 9 million percent better. Last year I had a kid who has really severe (clinical) anxiety issues. We are always having meetings about him and he constantly struggles to finish work on time, turn in papers, etc. Of course none of this was an issue in my class. And when we did the Christmas caroling he wanted to play guitar and he was so into it, and got this other guy (another “student of concern”) into the singing and it really almost made me cry! Both of these students have reputations in school as “slackers” (academically…they are both amazing athletes) and so this was just an amazing moment where they were very public academic superstars.

    So, yes to caroling!

  4. I’m going to add caroling to my Christmas activities! Sounds like fun! And this is an awesome year, because we have 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to practice songs, due to early Thanksgiving.

  5. In Anchorage, we have a holiday language sing-a-long for an hour this Friday at our Performing Arts Center. Our school is in charge of the musicians, the music, and the sound gear (b/c my husband has the gear). We sing in six or seven different languages. Everyone sings all the songs, but we have good speakers of the different languages come to the mic to lead. We have boxes and boxes of songbooks. Kids and teachers and community come.

    That day, all the language classes go to the foyer and sing through most of the songs every period (we don’t have Chinese or Japanese at our school, so we skip some of those). It seems a little early this year; usually it works out to be the Friday before finals, and de-stresses everyone for at least a day.

    If you want to see the songbook, check it out on this page where there are also pictures of our downtown gathering. (It will seem out of order, since it’s printed in such a way to make a true songbook when copied front to back):

    http://www.asdk12.org/depts/world_lang/events/songfest/index.asp

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