School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Samantha R. Miller


music education, teaching, children, sing, singing naturally, pitch, rhythm, breathing, popular music, listening


Elementary Education | Music


Teaching children to sing is both a powerful and practical way to enhance their quality of life. With careful instruction and a playful approach, children can be taught foundational singing skills, and develop a love for singing at a very early age. In many schools today, children learn songs in music classes but are not taught how to sing. Over the course of eight weeks, twelve children ages five to ten were taught to sing using Susan Kenney’s natural singing method detailed in “Seven Steps for Developing Successful Singing and Listening Habits.” Children participated in two group lessons and six individual lessons. In addition to Kenney’s singing method, children were provided with games and activities to encourage participation and focus on improvements in pitch, rhythm and breathing. Children were individually recorded at the beginning and end of the study to determine the efficacy of this method and its effect on children’s pitch, rhythm and breathing. Their pitch matching accuracy was measured with the help of an online pitch detector, rhythmic accuracy was tested against a metronome, and the length of their exhale was measured in seconds. By the end of the study, children showed overall improvements in all three of these areas. However, children developed more in pitch and breathing than they did rhythmically. An end-of-study survey revealed children in this study and their parents enjoyed this singing method.