Children’s vocal hearing and how it develops.

One of the most important aspects in teaching children vocal art is the development of musical hearing. By musical hearing we mean a person’s ability to perceive, represent and reproduce the height of musical sounds.

As we can see, three components related to the concept of musical hearing are reflected here. Naturally, the central element in this triad is the second, which must be understood as the ability to understand what is heard. After all, the ability to hear without realizing it cannot testify to the presence of musical hearing; on the other hand, not every person with the ability to perceive and understand music has the ability to perceive what has been heard.

Therefore, in addressing the problem of upbringing and development of musical hearing it is necessary to focus on the education and development of musical consciousness, which is influenced by musical experience, intelligence and general musical-aesthetic orientation. In this light, it is necessary to consider the problem of the development of vocal hearing, which is the subject of this work.

Vocal hearing is a form of musical hearing. The concept of “vocal hearing” is used and applied by many musicians, vocalists and authors of works dedicated to the formulation of voice, and is associated with the perception of a certain timbre of the human voice.

Vocal teachers all over the world talk about the same principles of sound reproduction, but representatives of different schools of singing are very different in the sound of the singing voice. Nowadays, as before, many vocal teachers recognized and admitted that the basis of vocal competence is correct breathing, free position of the larynx and well sounded resonators; but all these common technological principles did not give the world a single singing school.

Moreover, singers all over the world sound differently, and this is not only because of the different timbres, but also because of the different or common auditory notions of the sound, which gave rise to different ways of reproducing the sound in each of the existing schools and each singer individually.

In turn, each vocal teacher has his or her own idea of a vocal sound, which, of course, affects the results of his or her teaching, and many of the students perceive the way their teacher sings. The formation of vocal schools is influenced by a number of factors, among which the most significant are the national and cultural traditions of the region formed on the basis of listening experience.

What is vocal hearing? Vocal hearing is the ability to distinguish between different shades, nuances, colors in voices and the ability to determine which movement of muscle groups causes a change in the sound color.

V.P. Morozov writes: “Vocal hearing is, first of all, not just hearing, but a complex musical vocal sense based on the interaction of auditory, muscle, visual, tactile, and some types of sensitivity. The essence of vocal hearing is the ability to understand sound formation.

A special feature of vocal hearing is the ability to hear: how, how the instruments of a singer work, reaching a certain sound. Such hearing allows you to copy and remember the work of the instrument of outstanding singers, which is an important part of voice education. A vocalist with good vocal hearing listens to the sound as if with an apparatus, i.e. his vocal apparatus is able to recreate the form of the vocal apparatus of a singing performer, recreate any shades of form related to the singing nuances.

Thanks to constant and precise control with the help of vocal hearing, a novice singer gradually learns and remembers the work of the vocal apparatus, which is necessary when singing properly. The ability to sing properly comes with the development of vocal hearing. Over time, the muscular memory of the vocal apparatus develops into a reflex, which facilitates the singer to perform artistic tasks of the musical work.

An important component, part of vocal hearing is the muscle feeling, i.e. the feeling of muscles, muscle work. Well developed muscle feeling allows you to successfully control the muscles involved in the organization of the support of breathing and sound, in compliance with the shape of the device. The complexity of this control is that many muscles in the vocal apparatus have few nerve endings, so they are not felt much.

The second important component of vocal hearing is resonant feeling. Any singer knows that the vibration (shaking) of different parts of the vocal apparatus is well felt while singing. This vibration is especially felt in the resonator area. These feelings of vibration come from special nerve cells – receptors located in the mucous membrane of the bronchi, larynx, throat, palate, etc. The number of such receptors varies in different parts of the device. A vocalist needs to develop his resonant feeling. It is important to learn in-depth self-control during singing lessons. How to develop correctly

The structure of the process of developing vocal hearing and achieving the best sounding voice can be presented as follows:

  • auditory attention (auditory activity);
  • comparisons and comparisons of different images (mental operations);
  • presentative attempts (own actions);

-analysis of the received sound from the aesthetic point of view (sensual perception);

  • internal singing based on the external sounding of the standard set by the teacher (modeling the vocal movement in the consciousness);
  • new attempts at reproduction (repeated actions);
  • communication of auditory experiences and theoretical knowledge that is always given after the auditory experience (comprehension);

-introduction of the concept of the phenomenon;

  • explanation of its mechanism based on the principle of visibility (auditory and visual);

-achievement of the desired sound quality in one’s own performance (skill improvement);

  • performance based on constant self-control.

At the beginning of training, singing skills formation is under control. However, from the very first days of work, the main task of the choirmaster, vocalist – to connect the auditory control of students over the sound of their voice. The solution to this problem lies in the activation of the listening attention of the choir singers or students who are involved in vocal training.Read more about

But this is difficult to achieve when working with the children’s choir, because the quality of random listening attention in children is poor – very unstable. Glee club leaders need to master different methods and pedagogical methods of influencing children’s groups in order to activate their auditory attention, without which the work will not be successful: hearing will not develop, and based on it – self-control. One of the main indicators of pedagogical skills of a choir director is the ability to activate attention and influence the consciousness of pupils during the rehearsal.

Activating listening attention at the beginning of the work helps the student to compare and find the best sound quality from the two variants sung by the teacher, individual students in turn or different groups of chorus, to identify the reasons for poor sound. In working with children’s choirs, it is advisable to introduce various game moments in the form of competitions. When analyzing the unsuccessful singing of individual students it is very important for the leader to observe pedagogical tact and friendly attitude towards all.

Another method of activating listening attention is to encourage the slightest success of students, especially at the beginning of training. This creates a positive emotional feeling in them, which increases their performance and increases listening attention.

An effective method of hearing activation is to listen to a sound, phrase or passage of a song with a clear, albeit silent, articulation while listening to the sound, phrase or passage on a musical instrument or singing by the teacher himself. As students listen to the teacher’s voice, they mentally sing to the teacher. Silent articulation activates the voice forming organs, and the correct sound is simulated in the minds of the students. Subsequent singing aloud usually sounds much better than before the mental singing. In the process of this work, students should be encouraged to evaluate the result themselves.

Developing a conscious criterion for evaluating the quality of the sound of the voice, the choir director forms and fixes a certain sound standard in the consciousness of the singers, which is the basis for all further vocal work with the choir. Such a path will undoubtedly ensure success, depending ultimately on the musical and auditory performances of the students and the level of development of their vocal and musical hearing, which should always be ahead of the level of development of their practical skills and abilities.

In general, all singing instruction aims to develop vocal hearing. In the methodical literature, we have identified more than 30 techniques for the development of vocal hearing, aimed at the formation of auditory perception and vocal and auditory performances:

  • Auditory concentration and listening in the teacher’s demonstration for further analysis of what is heard;
  • Comparison of different performance options in order to select the best;
  • Introduction of theoretical concepts about the quality of singing sound and elements of musical expression only based on students’ personal experience;
  • Using children’s musical instruments to stimulate listening attention and develop a sense of rhythm;
  • Repeating individual sounds behind the instrument in order to learn to distinguish the pitch from the timbre of not only the voice, but also the musical instrument;
  • Adjust the pitch of your voice to the sound of a chamber musician, piano, teacher, or group of children with the most advanced hearing;
  • Singing “along the chain.”
  • Modelling the height of a sound with the movements of the hand;
  • Reflecting the direction of the melody’s movement by drawing, scheme, graphics, hand signs, sheet music;
  • Tonality adjustment before starting singing;
  • Oral dictations;
  • Delaying the sound of the chorus at separate sounds on the conductor’s hand with the aim of in.

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