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Singing Assemblies(10 Posts)
As music leader, I run our school's weekly whole school singing assemblies (R-Y6).
How are singing assemblies managed in your school? I am finding the R-Y6 range challenging, as it is hard to find meaningful, relevant songs that the younger pupils are able to learn quickly, and that older pupils actually enjoy singing. Anyone regularly split EYFS & KS1 / KS2 for the purpose of ensuring age appropriate singing experiences?
I wonder if anyone works in a school where singing assemblies are a shared effort and delivered by different members of staff? We don't have a member of staff accomplished enough to be able to accompany singing on the piano, but anyone can pick through a Sing-Up slide, a YouTube karaoke or teach a little song a capella. Or not? Given that most teachers teach the music curriculum in their classes (including some singing), is it too much of a stretch to ask that non-subject leaders take the occasional turn at leading singing assemblies?
I'm supply these days, but have led some in the past.
Personally if you are actually looking to improve the children's singing skills, then I find singing assemblies are led far better by someone with some musical ability. They seem to be the schools where children can actually sing well.
I can teach children words and play them a tune. However I'm rubbish at actually teaching them to sing. It doesn't help that I'm tone deaf (with two hearing aids and a lot of the music outside my hearing range). I can cope with rehearsing a couple of songs for performing in a class assembly, but I'm not the best person at teaching singing. I would imagine a lot of other teachers are the same.
The only school I’ve been in which actually did singing assemblies well was a Catholic school with (an admittedly) very musical staff. All children together, they would do a warm up and then sing hymns. They’d occasionally do a song but it would be very traditional, nothing chart or pop.
As music leader I led all singing assemblies. I preferred the other teachers to stay in and manage behaviour. I've never been bothered about singing in front of the school - I sing a line and they sing it back--if I make a mistake I let them laugh at me and move on! Practise each line of the first verse in this way then try singing the whole if the first verse without the backing track. Use your hands to show the pitch going up and down. Then press play on the backing track and have a go at singing the first verse. Then move on to teaching the chorus. It helps to have another teacher operating the laptop so you can concentrate on conducting them.
Separate eyfs/ks1 and ks2 assemblies are better as you can differentiate the songs you choose, but if everyone is together I recommend giving a 'job' to the younger ones. Either just singing the chorus, which is generally easier melody wise and repeats through the song so they have more chance to practise it, or some actions. Call and response songs are good. Try Fischy Music for catchy songs about emotional literacy. They are folk pop in style and very easy to learn.
I can't envisage holding the attention of everyone from R through to Yr6 - it is just too big a range, developmentally.
I'm not a music specialist but happy to lead a singing assembly - but that's because I am a singer (choirs etc, as a hobby). Not everyone is. You should definitely have other staff in there for behaviour management etc, so you can concentrate on the music / singing.
I can’t sing, but (small schools!), have often done this. I pick “modern hymn” type songs- if I were a butterfly, autumn days, that kind of thing, that are likely to be repeated in other assemblies/harvest festival. Words on the overhead projector. Lots of actions. Sing a line and they sing back. I prioritise noise and all joining in over tunefulness! If they like the songs it works - the little ones just pick them up as we go along.
Thanks, everyone. Reflecting on it, I think it's the range that frustrates me. Was feeling a little dispirited. I can sing, have done the Singing For Pleasure Vocal Leadership Training, so am not fazed by teaching singing as such, just finding material that doesn't leave one end of the school glazed over or perplexed. Ideally, I think I'd like to do split EYFS / KS1 and KS2 assemblies, but there's not much will as it's tricky logistically. Might push for this again though. Thanks again.
I do a mixture of songs so each session there are things they can all manage and others where the little ones do the chorus. I tend to lean towards musical theatre songs and everyone, even reception ,managed fat Sam's grand slam last year. It is very tricky though!!
We’ve always done ks1 and ks2 separately-EYFS don’t come in at all and do their own thing.
We either have ks1 in one hall and ks2 in the other, running at the same time with different people leading them. Or, ks1 first and then ks2 afterwards in the big hall.
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