Anne Rebecca Hojlund
soprano & voice teacher



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Learning to use the voice confidently is hugely beneficial for children. I teach many pupils who have frequently had complaints from academic teachers that they barely had confidence to speak up in class when asked questions. After working patiently with them, not only has their singing become tuneful and clear, but teachers report that their general confidence has increased, they are no longer inaudible in class and they even volunteer for parts in school plays, delivering clear and confident performances to everyone’s enjoyment.

When working with children, especially timid ones, I never tell them to sing louder as this will merely prompt them to strain the voice and develop bad habits. Instead, I work on diction, clear consonants and resounding vowels, tuning in to my voice and thereby finding their own, singing in tune and learning to listen effectively. We use the Kodaly method to develop sight-singing, aural skills and musical understanding, and we work on understanding the meaning of various songs and performing them with feeling and skill. We learn lots of wonderful songs, both from classical and from more popular genres, art-songs, folk-songs and songs from musicals. I try to help them find the characters in the songs and to use their own experiences and feelings to understand the music and thereby perform it in the best possible way. And of course we work with breath-management and breathing technique as well as good posture and use of body.

I attempt to set achievable goals for all my pupils. This may be preparing to sing in a school concert or one of my pupil concerts, getting ready for an exam or auditioning for a choir. I put an emphasis on the importance of regular practice at home and teach them about healthy and efficient practice-routines to help them get the most out of their lessons. Each pupil gets one of my books which contains a practice-diary where I write homework and what exercises to focus on each week. This makes it easy for parents to understand what happens during lessons, how their child is progressing and what their homework for the next lesson is. I also encourage parents and children to write their own notes, comments and questions in the book.

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