Film Friday — Singing Voice through Enchanted!
“That’s How You Know” from Enchanted is one of my favorite videos to show to my little people because it is a great example of the difference between singing and speaking voice and shows the joy and power of music. I use this video during the first quarter/semester to help my younger kiddos when we talk about singing voice. I also bring it back in the second semester because they love the video and because lord knows that we need as much reinforcement to remember concepts as we can get!
I think it’s really easy to tie in this video when I teach singing voice/the four vocal timbres. For my mostly Hispanic, English Language Learning students, using their singing voice is hard. They don’t grow up singing at home and they rarely get that reinforcement from their community. It’s hard enough for many of them to speak in English and asking them to use their singing voices makes them even more uncomfortable.
One of the things I do is designate a place in my room called Arioso Island where we only use our singing voices (this is a John Feierabend idea/trick that I’ll try and blog about later…). So I leave this spot in my room as a place where we only sing. If you use your speaking, whisper, or shouting voice “I won’t be able to understand you; I only understand your singing voice.” Again, this “arioso” concept is from Feierabend’s books—Conversational Solfege and First Steps In Music—which are both worth a look. My kiddos talk about the different voices, we spend time at Arioso Island and they get used to me using my singing voice to talk about all sorts of things, and they get a chance to identify singing and non-singing voices. Then we get to the video!
Setting Up the Video – What I Tell the Kids
When I set up this video I tell them, “I have this friend named Giselle. She lives on Arioso Island (you know, that place where people only sing). Well, one day she decided to visit a far-away city where people use their speaking voices. It took her a while, but she figured out how to use her speaking voice. But she LOVES using her singing voice. That’s her favorite way to communicate. Sometimes she’ll just break into her singing voice and everyone around her will get excited and inspired and they’ll start to use their singing voices too!”
Some kids have seen the video (though in my mostly Hispanic school the number of kids who has seen it is very small) and that’s okay. They’ll probably pipe down and just watch because they like the video. Others will want to see it a couple times and usually I’m okay with that. I show it one day, we talk about it, and then I’ll bring it back in a week or so to reinforce and to help them remember.
I had a mentor teacher once tell me that young students need to hear something—concept, command, question, whatever—three times for them to really internalize and understand. Of course that’s different for students at different ages, with different language acquisition skills, etc. but I still think that when we teach songs we need to give them a few times before they really get it and understand. That’s why I feel no shame showing these little 5 minute videos a couple times. The students need the repetition.
Check out this video and enjoy yourself but consider buying the DVD for yourself. A DVD copy will be much clearer and have better audio. It’s worth the few dollars that you’re gonna spend on it. I also use a video from earlier in the movie (when she’s cleaning up the apartment with the rats) to act as a preview when we talk about princesses and fairy tales, to talk about singing/work songs, and to reinforce other things. It’s a cute movie and it’s cheap. This video is smack-dab in the middle and is easy to find. Go and get it!