Why I love conducting young children’s choirs

Kate Littlewood shares why she loves conducting children’s choirs in this month’s blog. 

“We have a great choral industry in Brisbane. It’s fantastic! There is a wealth of opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a choir and take advantage of the many benefits of singing in a group setting1.

I have worked with a wide variety of these choirs during my 10+ years as a Brisbane-based conductor, accompanist, and singer. Most recently, it has been my absolute pleasure to assume the role of Birralee Kids’ conductor after four years of working with the ensemble in the role of accompanist. This group is non-auditioned and is comprised of students from grades 2 – 4, making it one of Birralee’s youngest vocal ensembles2.

Kate Conducting

Kate Littlewood, Birralee Kids conductor 

There are some evident considerations that need to be made when working with children of this age group. Literacy is still developing, as is an awareness of vocal physiology and how this relates to the sound we make. Physical awareness and self-control may still be works-in-progress! But – there are also some truly wonderful things about working with this age group. Let me tell you my top five reasons why I love conducting young children’s choirs:

  1. ENERGY – Young children have boundless energy and enthusiasm when they are invested in a piece of music or a musical project. Get them on-board and they will give you 100%!
  2. SINGING TECHNIQUE – As conductor, you have the chance to teach your young choristers good singing technique from an early age. This includes posture, breath control, support, vowel placement, and more… These skills will be of enormous benefit to your young singers as they grow older and move on to more challenging repertoire.
  3. EMOTIONAL CONNECTION – Young children can often cut straight to the emotional core of a piece of music in a direct, heartfelt fashion. This makes for a beautifully sincere performance that really resonates with listeners.
  4. MUSICAL POSSIBILITIES – Young children tend to be quite strong aurally, with the ability to memorise music quickly. This allows you to get pieces “off the page” sooner rather than later and start exploring all the musical possibilities within.
  5. FUN – Working with young children is fun! They have such distinctive, quirky little personalities. They say the funniest things (not always intentionally) and love to laugh.

So – there, in a nutshell, are my top five reasons why I love conducting children’s choirs!”

We would love to hear your own reasons why you love working with young children or any funny anecdotes you have to share. Let us know by commenting below! 

References: 

  1. https://theconversation.com/choir-singing-improves-health-happiness-and-is-the-perfect-icebreaker-47619
  2. https://www.birralee.org/wspTheBirraleeKids.aspx

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