Hints For Song Leaders

Did you ever see someone get up in front of a group and-say something like this: "Now we're going to sing 'Home on the Range' - ready to sing?" He probably wondered why everybody started at a different time in different keys or didn't start at all.

Singing is fun. Leading and teaching songs can be fun too. But there are certain sensible rules a song leader must follow. These rules aren't difficult. You don't have to sing like Caruso or wave a baton like Toscanini to lead songs well. Many top song leaders are only average singers themselves, and many get excellent results with a minimum of arm motions. So can you. Here are some tips:


1. Smile at your group. Relax. Raddiate confidence and enthusiasm, even if you don't feel particularly confident or enthusiastic. Morale is catching.

2. Tell them the name of the song they're going to sing. Always start with a rousing, well-knowm "warrn-up" number, so everybody including you, can sing with confidence.

3. Be sure to give the pitch. Sing a few bars yourself or have a couple of bars played, if an instrument is available.

4. Start the singing with a slight upward arm motion, then a decisive downward motion, (a downbeat) and begin the song yourself. Don't worry if some don't start with the first note - they'll join in quickly.

5. Beat time with a simple up-and-down motion of the arm - but make it definite and brisk. You're in command.

6. Control volume by raising your hands for loudness, lowering them for softness.

7. Move around a little, inject a little pep and personality. Keep smiling.

8. Spark enthusiasm by dividing the crowd for a song or two. Groups sing separately or when you point to them, then all together. Vary straight singing with occasional humming, whispering or rhythm clapping.

9. Stop before you've stopped. Leave them wanting more; not glad that you stopped.

Teaching A Song

Teaching a song is a part of the song leading itself, so all the above rules apply. Teaching offers some special problems, which these hints may help to make simpler.

1 . Use your hand/hands. Set the pace/beat of the song by waving hands above your head.

2. Look at the crowd as you sing. "Water the grass" by looking around and walking around as you sing.

3. Always warm up the crowd with well-known songs before trying out a new one.

4. Provide copies of the words. Use songbooks, mimeographed song sheets, or words on a blackboard or large sheets of paper.

5. Sing the new song through alone or with a small group who already knows it.

6. Let singers try a verse at a time, slowly at first. When they master it, pick up the speed.

7. Musical accompaniment helps - piano, accordion, guitar,
harmonica are all good because they can play the harrnony, not just single melody notes.

8. When they've sung it a time or two, stop - don't make it a music lesson.

Use every chance you have to lead and teach songs. Practice on your den, your pack, and your family whenever you can. In song leading, as in most musical accomplishments, it takes "do" to get "know-how."