Some of the things we as voice teachers experience these days is the prevalence of singing way down in the chest voice, glottal stops, and vocal fry (that lovely sound our voice makes at the bottom of our range that sounds like a car groaning).
We are constantly thinking about ways to get our students to use their head voice.  Something I’ve been using with younger students is the Vocal Exploration.  They are simple cards that show a path and we follow it with our voices.  This is similar to sirens we do with older singers.Here’s few examples:

The one above is from my Rainy Day Duck Vocal Exploration.

These two are from my Halloween Vocal Exploration.

When I was making the Halloween one, I started thinking about how it works for my youngest students to find their head voice, but what about my younger elementary?  So yesterday I tried the Halloween one out on my 1st and 2nd graders who never did one with me before.

They loved it!! They laughed, and they really enjoyed the harder cards like the one with the alien pictured above.  They loved that the witch on the vacuum was going backwards too! Most importantly, they all got in their head voice multiple times.  When we sang later in the class, I definitely heard the difference with the kids. Even doing a ‘silly’ Halloween activity that elicits giggles from most, there was less yelling and more singing.  
A few things to keep in mind about using a Vocal Exploration with your elementary students:
Make it ‘cool’.  We want them to feel like we are not giving them something we would give a little kid or a ‘baby’.  I think if I had used the duck with my 2nd graders, many would have given me a ‘look’.  Using a witch and a spider, they definitely didn’t notice.
Give them a few challenges.  The kids LOVED the ones that were harder.  Having to take their voice up and down quickly a couple of times not only helped them find their head voice, but also made it more than just sighs or sirens.  
 Don’t over use.  I don’t use these with my kids every time I see them.  I want them to really work when we use these, not fluff it off.  If I showed them one every week, I think they would lose their impact.  
-I think that even if you have a group of students who have a good sense of humor that are older would appreciate one of these every so often.

Now that I have used these with my elementary students, I definitely will be trying some more out with them!  Check out my TpT store if you are looking for some cute options!

What characters would you like to see in a Vocal Exploration?

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