Every December I like to take an hour of rehearsal and do a guided listening with my students. An hour is half of our weekly time together, which should give you an idea of how important I consider this activity.
Christmas songs are great for guided listening because of their ubiquity – we can listen to and discuss various versions, focusing on arrangement, interpretation, style.
Here are my 2015 and 2014 editions. But a new year means a new song and many versions to choose from. Please feel free to try this activity with your own students – it would be a great activity for that time between the concert and the last day of school.
I’ve written at length about active listening here; but here are a few brief points to keep in mind.
- The order is important. Pay attention to the room, give them the version they need next. The order below worked for me, but might not for you.
- Be insistent about “why.” Not, “I didn’t like this one,” but “I didn’t like this one because…”
- Remember to be amazed at the different life experiences and preferences that surface in a room, no matter how apparently homogenous. What a great lesson that is!
Guided Listening: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- Frank Sinatra [iTunes] [Amazon]
- The Singers Unlimited [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Ella Fitzgerald [iTunes] [Amazon]
- The Manhattan Transfer [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Christina Aguilera [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Take 6 [iTunes] [Amazon]
- James Taylor [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Pentatonix [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Leslie Odom, Jr. [iTunes] [Amazon]
- Chanticleer [iTunes] [Amazon]
Here’s the Spotify Playlist
Enjoy and report back!