Singing and vocal work

Singing – a crucial tool for musical learning

Singing is integral to musical learning, whether we are learning to play instruments, singing to develop vocal ability or even composing our own music. It is a crucial way for getting music into and out of our heads. If we can internalise melodies, it helps us to be able to learn musical instruments more effectively. For example, if we can sing a short passage of music out loud or in our heads because we have become familiar with it, we have much more of an idea about what it is supposed to sound like when we try to play it. Whether or not we can fluently read music, we can still work out the rhythm and melody through comparing the accuracy of what we play to what we sing in our heads and adapting as necessary. The bottom line is that if we can encourage children to cognitively engage in the process, singing can help us to work out ‘how music works’. Katherine Zesserson’s suggestions about how to use singing as an integral part of broader musical learning are given here1.