For many school choral programs, keeping boys singing in choir as they get older can at times be problematic.
In a recent essay for the National Association for Music Education, Doreen Fryling — a public school music teacher for 20 years — notes that there are two important ways in which a teacher can change that trend:
1. Helping them learn to sing well.
And just as importantly,
2. Helping them believe that they can sing well.
Fryling points out that there are many ways to accomplish both of these goals. For goal number one, those include:
• Selecting repertoire that allows them to use their voice in a range that’s comfortable for them.
• In terms of vocal parts, remain flexible. Let a boy sing tenor on one piece, and bass on another. Remember, as the author notes, “every day can be a new voice for a changing boy.”
• Find repertoire that the boys in your program actually enjoy singing. Even if they don’t like a piece immediately, chances are they will grow to like it if it’s a work they can sing well.
In connection with the second goal, some ways to achieve that include:
• Help them remember that their voice change is temporary, and they won’t sound like this forever.
• Record them so they can hear themselves now and then, and realize how their voices are transitioning.
• As their voices change, reassure them that this is all normal. Create a ‘band of brothers’ in your choir.
Read Fryling’s entire essay over at the NAfME website.