Thursday, November 15, 2012

REVIEW: Teaching Kids to Sing by Vocal Coach

I had the opportunity to review Teaching Kids to Sing by Vocal Coach with my 8-year old daughter, Haylee.

Teaching Kids to Sing 2-DVD/1-CD Set is the perfect way to teach your children and their leaders about the child's voice. All the foundations from Posture, Breathing, Tone, Rhythm, Diction and much, much more is explored and demonstrated. The cast includes Chris & Carole Beatty and a group of children ages 5 to 13.

The CD contains all the music used on the two DVD's in two versions: With vocals and track only. This allows your young singers to learn, then perform the songs.  

Set Contains:
  1. Building Foundations That Last DVD
  2. Essential Skills For Growing Voices DVD
  3. Accompaniment Tracks CD
Cost:  $44.99

Using Teaching Kids To Sing (TKS) In The Homeschool Environment

There are a number of different ways to apply this material to a Home School setting. Some, prefer to take one topic a week and dig deep. That would mean scheduling two or three sessions to view (DVD) or listen to (CD) that topic. Then, begin using the Accompaniment CD to reinforce what is being learned. Using this method you could space it out over 8 or more weeks. Doing review sessions could expand it to 10–12 weeks.      

What is the goal and objectives of the Teaching Kids To Sing series?

Teaching Kids To Sing is a systematic, interactive and fun tool for teaching the young singers in your life about their voices using either our DVD or CDs. The Teaching Kids To Sing series presents principles and exercises in a way that can be easily understood and implemented by children from age 5 through 6th grade.
Which Is Better:  The TKS DVD/CD Set Or The TKS CD Bundle?
Both the DVD and CD sets are thorough and effective. The 2-DVD/1-CD package has the advantage of letting you see as well as hear what Chris, Carole and the Vocal Coach Kids are doing. It also includes a CD of Accompaniment Tracks so you can conveniently get to any of the songs or warm-up exercises. As a bonus, each song & exercise is offered both with Chris and the Vocal Coach Kids singing and without them. This gives you actual performance accompaniment tracks your kids can use to perform the songs.
The 3-CD set goes into more detail explanations since you can see what is going on. There is also a special section just for parents/teachers to help get them up to speed on what is going to be taught.

This is a nice program for teaching kids the elements of their voices and proper speech as well as ways to warm up use the voice properly, and keep it healthy and strong.

Discs one and two are instructional in nature. Haylee and I watched these DVD’s together.

The first disc is called Building Foundations That Last. It covers the importance of good posture and how bad posture affects the quality of the voice. It talks about proper breathing and the ways your body expan ds in various parts when you breathe in. This is related to posture, because bad posture limits the amount of air you can breathe in. It discusses tone and compares it to the sounds on the piano. Then it takes you through the steps in a good warm-up routine and talks about how you must warm up your voice to maximize performance, just as an athlete warms up his muscles so he can play better. It has children sing along with a number of different warm-up exercises. This disc is approximately 42 minutes.

The second disc is called Essential Skills for Growing Voices. It covers diction and has children practice properly annunciating their sounds through the use of some fun tongue twisters. Haylee really enjoyed those and laughed a lot as she tried to repeat them over and over again. It discusses dynamics and gives the children examples of loud and soft sounds in the environment. Then it talks about tempo and goes through different speeds of music. Then it shows them the difference between staccato and legato and has them practice identifying the two when different instruments are played. Then it goes through rhythm and accents, and finally moves on to vocal health. Vocal health talks about maintaining a proper diet, hydration, proper use of the voice (no yelling, screaming, or excessive use of the voice), and the importance of protecting your hearing, as well. This disc is approximately 30 minutes.

The third disc puts all of the warm-up and diction exercises that were covered in the instructional portions into one place for easy access. Once Haylee and I had watched the first two discs together and understood the different elements of caring for and exercising the voice and using it properly, then the third disc was all that we needed to continue our practice. The third disc has roughly 40-45 minutes of content and is presented in two ways: with and without accompanying vocals. So you have a choice of practicing the warm-ups and vocal exercises over the vocals, or singing them independently with just the music.

We both enjoyed this set and felt we learned a lot about the way our voices function and how to best utilize their sound. I thought the instruction was given very much at a child’s level of understanding and in a way that was made it easy for them to relate. There was lots of real-life application used so that children could more easily comprehend each concept and put the concepts to use in their everyday lives, not just for singing, but for speaking, as well.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to teach your children to use their voices more effectively and improve their sound, then this set has what you need. You can’t turn a bad singer into a good one if they don’t have a beautiful voice to start with, but you can teach them to improve how they use the voice they have to sound the best that they can.

The cost of this set seems a bit steep for my family, given that once you’ve watched the instructional discs, there’s no longer a need for them. Only the third disc continues to have lasting value, since that would be used regularly to warm up and exercise the vocal cords properly.

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I received this product free of charge for review purposes, however all opinions are mine and reflect my family’s honest use of the product.