Sometimes a simple recording can make your life easier. Sometimes a simple recording can make your lesson run smoother. Sometimes a recording can help you keep your voice healthy so that you can teach another day. I find that taking the time to record the following tracks throughout the year can help me tremendously.
1. Record practice tracks – These don’t have to be fancy at all. Typically I use practice tracks for my choir kiddos and for upcoming grade level rehearsals. This is most helpful when you want to isolate a particular voice part or if you want to have students practice a certain pronunciation. I literally set my recording device on the piano and start singing. I only play enough accompaniment to keep my entrances correct and myself in key. You can either create a play list and burn it to a CD or you can host the playlist on a website like podsnack and share the link with students.
2. Record voice commands on top of dance tracks – Nothing taxes my voice like the “dancing days”…..Obviously I want my students to internalize the form and timing of the music so that they know when to move independently using only the music as a cue. However, I find it very useful to have a “guided practice” option that helps me move the class toward independence without trying to carry my voice over the mirth and merriment that is found when “peeling the banana” during the Virginia Reel. I create these recordings by importing whichever dancing song I’m going to use into Audacity. Then I record the voice cues as needed. You may find it useful to create several versions so that they go from heavily cued to maybe only one or two cues. When you teach the same lesson for 6 straight days this comes in REALLY handy.
3. Record a collection of “sub” songs for when you have vocal fatigue or absent. . During allergy season I really struggle to keep my voice throughout my day lesson cycle. When I can’t sing comfortably my lessons are greatly at risk of being derailed!!!!! A few times last year I could tell that my voice wasn’t going to make it through the week and so I quickly recorded the portions of the lesson that were dependent on my voice…..I recorded a couple of songs that I use acapella and a few melodic phrases that I knew I would want to highlight. I was able to use the recordings easily and found them very helpful in keeping my lesson on track so that all of my students received the same lesson. It was useful enough that I hope to find the time to record at least a little bit for each lesson as a back up for when I’m not at my best.