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This Instrumental Teacher Needs Help With Sight Singing Materials

In order to help their sightreading and music theory skills, and support general musicianship, I would like to start teaching my private cello and chamber music students to sight sing, and I'm looking for suggestions on what would be an excellent, graded sight singing method for students who are already fluent at reading notes.  My youngest cello kids read only bass clef, but some read treble, also, and some read tenor (so all three clefs).  My chamber music students read different clefs, too, of course.  I don't know how much of a problem that is in terms of finding a method.  I'd like to have a method which works in treble and bass, at least.  I'd love a method which eventually utilizes all key signatures, and lots of time signatures and intricate rhythms.  The girl who originally inspired my request here is also a jazz sax player, and has just started to scat, so if there's a slightly jazzy sight singing method, all the better.  I will appreciate your replies very much.  The only material I can remember was our four-part sight singing book at conservatory, and I need something which starts at the very beginning (except that we do already read music).
Replies (4): Threaded | Chronological
on January 27, 2014 9:01am
I've used "Movable Tonic" by Alan McClung but with adults, and it 'starts from the very beginning' assuming the students have no music literacy background.  However, if you can get them to 'suspend' their music knowledge while going through the book, it is a very logical and perfectly sequenced text.  The students will learn to read solfege on any clef and in any key.  I know it would help any choir with intonation, and I'm sure it would do the same for strings.  (I'm an old band director, and always thought there should be a solfege resource for beginner band students.  Maybe it's time to get busy and come up with something.)  
on January 27, 2014 11:24am
"Teaching Choral Sight Reading" by Jack Boyd I've used for 40+ years with both choirs and private voice students. Unfortuantely, the book is permantly out of print, but perhaps one might find it on the internet.  Aside the fact that the exercises are sequenced, consistently adding new elements of notation, new time signatures and key signatures, permission is given to make copies for the students, which is the reason I have been able to use this book for so many years. In the foreword, Boyd also suggests using either numbers or solfege, and instrumentalists would probably take on numbers much more quickly. I would be happy to mail you copies of the 80 exercise pages.
on January 28, 2014 3:02am
It's a great idea for instrumental teachers to use singing to help improve reading!  More people should do it!
Check out these websites dedicated specifically to teaching sight singing that are presented using modern technology (instead of books) to help teachers improve how they teach and to supply teachers with the sequential step-by-step materials to use with the students.   It includes games and activities to help students become fluent solfege users.
Here is a link to the description of the program:
Here is a link to the reusable lessons.  Each lesson has links directly to the teaching of the actual material to help teachers get ideas about how to present it.  Each lesson also includes video teaching tips designed to help your students be successful with each lesson.   It's a great bargain especially compared to buying and re-buying books like we used to have to do.
Here is a link to YouTube clips of teaching tips and teaching examples:
Hope it helps!
Good luck!
Dale Duncan
on February 3, 2014 11:27pm
I think the following have never been superceded:
Hindemith's "Elementary Training for Musicians"
Dandelot's "Manuel pratique (pour l'etude des cles sol fa ut)"
and the series, originally by Lemoine and Carulli, "Solfege des solfeges"
My (amateur) choir includes singers of more than a dozen nationalities and musical backgrounds, from up to six continents, and I find that as a rule those trained according to traditional French conservatory methods routinely run rings around the others when it comes to sight-singing, particularly in music that isn't or is deceptively tonal.
Best regards,
Jerome Hoberman
Music Director/Conductor, The Hong Kong Bach Choir & Orchestra
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