Music Ed Mentor Podcast #026: The Essentials of Sight Singing with Mr. D

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #026: The Essentials of Sight Singing with Mr. D

While we all know we should devote some of our precious rehearsal time to sight singing, many of us (especially us instrumental teachers) don’t do it. If you feel like you already don’t have enough time to do everything you want to accomplish in class, perhaps you’re hesitant to take time away from that to help kids sing, when that’s not folks expect at your concerts. You might have questions like:

  • What real benefits would sight singing offer my students?
  • What’s the best way to introduce sight singing?
  • How can I make it both relevant AND fun?

To help answer these questions, I’ve invited the guru of sight singing, Dale Duncan, to join us. Better known as Mr. D, he’s both an experienced educator and the creator of  S-Cubed, a sight-singing resource created to help you teach your students to sight read AND have fun while doing it.

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In This Episode, You’ll Learn How To:

  • Make sight singing fun
  • Make sight singing work for your youngest and oldest students
  • Fit it into your (already full) schedule
  • Decide how much rehearsal time you should devote
  • Deal with students who say, “I can’t sing…that’s why I’m here”

Top Sight-Singing Tips

I’ve included a list of Dr. D’s tips to help you implement sight singing into your program. Download it for free!

Three Key Takeaways

“Everybody should be teaching sight singing”

Whether you are in a choral setting or an instrumental setting you should be teaching sight singing. Why? Because it’s our natural instrument, and it teaches students to be better musicians, and it’s going to help your ensembles in a myriad of ways.

“Make it fun”

We don’t teach children to read English by starting with “this is an adverb.” We need to make the sight-singing learning process engaging and fun. One way to do this is through the use of sight-singing games. Have students play them against the teacher and each other, and encourage them to be competitive about game scores.

“Sight singing can awaken student brains in a way that’s very different than pressing keys”

Sight-singing is one of the most impactful things you can do to improve student musicianship. In addition to improving their sight reading, it makes a difference in their intonation and many other areas as well as broadening their musical lives.


For more tips on sight singing, check out:

Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa was a top presenter at the NAfME National Conference in 2017 and will be presenting at state conferences in 2018. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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