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Best approach to sightsinging

My high school choir is going to organizational contest for the first time this year (I hope!), and sightsinging is one of the things they have to do.  My choir is not an advanced one.  I have only one high school choir in my schedule (I teach at 1 K-12 school), and it includes students with a lot of choral experience and some with almost none.  Due to my high school's six-period day, I also have a lot of turnover from year to year.  This year I only kept 5 of the students I had last year due to scheduling conflicts.  We do sightsinging in rehearsal, but I've never had much success with it since I get such a high turnover rate.  I get one group fairly well trained, and then I have to start from scratch again.  Do any of you have any sightsinging teaching techniques that have worked extremely well?  If you do, would you please share them with me?
Christina G. Lamb
Burris Laboratory School
Ball State University
Replies (4): Threaded | Chronological
on January 5, 2014 5:31pm
I do Christina.  It's one I developed myself.  I can send you attachements if you email me at: andrew.j.miller.4(a)
Through this method, I successfully got my 5th and 6th grade mixed choir to sing three-part Renaissance polyphony together.  It was an amazing accomplishment for them.   I think my method could be very beneficial to your situation.
on January 6, 2014 8:19am
Hi Christina,
I developed the "High School Sight Singer" years ago when I worked in a high-school situation with a lot of turnover.  The method is designed as a series of short exercises to be incorporated into the regular choral rehearsal.  Since then, it has been distributed by Masterworks Press, which has a good deal of instructional material available for a variety of uses.  I suggest you look at their website or chat with them on the phone.  Crucial is chosing one of many available methods, keeping track of the sequencing of new information, and providing drill on a consistent basis.
Anna Hamre, DMA
Director of Choral Activities
California State University, Fresno
on January 6, 2014 8:33am
Dear Christina,
We have also had amazing success with our rhythm-reading method and book, You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better by Feeling the Beat. It's fun, works quickly, and provides a really solid foundation. You can find out more at It's also available in reproducible formate from Masterworks Press.
good luck,
on January 6, 2014 9:53am
Hi Christina,
Here are some materials that I've created for my beginners.
Last August, I launched a YouTube Channel specifically to help teachers teach sight singing.  There are over 100 videos of me teaching the various techniques and giving teaching tips straight to the camera to help you implement that particular lesson.
Here is the link to the YouTube Channel:
If you subscribe to it, you will get notifications when I upload new videos.  
I also offer the lesson plans that go along with the videos here:  The lessons are progressive in nature. They include games, teaching techniques, sight singing examples, rhythm examples, and written and oral warm ups for sight singing.  Also, for ease of use, each lesson includes a link directly to the video teaching tips for that specific lesson as well as a direct link to me teaching that specific lesson to real students.  I wanted this offering to be a 21st century training course for teachers (using modern media, etc.) while also supplying the student sight singing examples/rhythm examples and other materials that might be included in various methods that have been on the market over the years.  It's all-inclusive (training course plus materials for the students).
I am also giving a free webinar for NAFME on the Sight Singing method (called S-Cubed!) on January 23rd.   Here is the link if you want to register for the webinar:
For years, I tried various books and methods, and I was totally frustrated and so were the children.  All of the methods I tried seemed to skip too many steps in the teaching process and as a result, my kids failed almost daily when they tried to sight sing, and as a result, they hated doing it.  I got tired of the moans.  I quickly realized that I had to figure out how to teach children who were musically illiterate when they walked in my door because they were my primary clientele.  I wanted it to be fun, so I incorporated games and competition, and I wanted them to be as successful as possible each step of the way.  It has worked for me for years.  In this offering, I basically share every single secret/technique I've developed and learned during my 22 years of teaching public school.  You can reuse the materials year and year.  Everything is on PDF and Powerpoint. 
Check it out!  If you decide to use it and have questions, please get in touch with me.  I am happy to help.  
There are tons of sight singing offerings out there, and I am sure you will find one that works for the way you teach!
Best of luck as you prepare for your contest!
Warm regards,
Dale Duncan
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