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  • Writer's pictureJenny Ferris

Spooky puppet makes some not-so-spooky sounds

Getting your young students to discover and develop their singing voice is one of the first (and sometimes one of the hardest!) challenges you face as a primary music teacher.

In my experience each child comes to school already having learned a lot about their voice and how to use it, having experimented with sounds since infancy. However, they may not yet know what you mean by a singing voice or how they themselves can create one.

This is why we need as many different activities as possible for developing the singing voice. One analogy or activity may be the key for one student and may help everything click into place, but for another it may be absolutely useless. Therefore we need LOADS of tools in our toolbox.

This one is one that I love because the kids respond really enthusiastically to it, you can build an entire themed lesson around it and for many kids, it is a familiar sound to try and emulate, making it easy for them to access their singing voice without even realising it.

Here is a ghost finger puppet, very simple to make. Once a student has one of these on their finger, they immediately get into character making ghost noises and using their head voice.

One song I particularly love doing with these puppets is an old folk tale called Skin & Bones - the teacher sings a tale of an old lady taking a walk in a graveyard at night (who does that?!) while the students echo a melodic ostinato at the end of each line. The song is very beautiful and atmospheric until it ends with a "BOO!" which jolts all the unsuspecting students out of their seats!

You can have some great discussions about beat onset, whether notes are on the beat or off the beat and pave the way for discussions about syncopation with this one!

You can find a ghost pattern and instructions along with the music for Skin & Bones in my Teachers pay Teachers store. There are also some other great ghost songs like Miss White in there too. You can check it out here:

What are your favourite ghost stories? Leave your ideas in a comment below!

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