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Singing Made Easy, Level I Review by Kendra Fletcher

Learning Packet, Accompaniment CD, and Vocal Warm-Up CD
Written and Performed by Marcia McCarry
Singing Made Easy
PO Box 1163
Livingston, MT 59047

The human voice is an instrument, and when looking for a voice instructor or curriculum, one needs to remember that the voice requires proper care and handling just like any musical instrument. The vocal cords are like muscles--with good training the singer can get a lot more out of them while avoiding the damage that occurs with bad habits over time.

Fourteen years ago I earned my bachelor's degree in Voice, with an emphasis on Vocal Physiology. Since then I have taught a variety of students in a variety of settings and am often asked what to look for in a vocal teacher or program. Certainly there are tried-and-true techniques, and a voice teacher who teaches proper vocal hygiene (the fancy term for proper care of the voice) will impart to the student the ability to sing any musical style and still maintain good vocal health for a lifetime.

When the opportunity to review Singing Made Easy for TOS came up, I jumped at it. Voice lessons can be expensive and are a luxury for most families. I was hoping that I would discover a curriculum that I could confidently recommend to parents of children who desire to learn good vocal habits and sing with confidence to the glory of God.

I was pleased to find that Marcia McCarry's program did not disappoint. The curriculum consists of a book, an accompaniment CD, and a vocal warm-up CD on which she sings the example exercises. Both CDs include all songs and exercises in two different keys--one for a high range and one for a lower range. Any non-musical parent could confidently hand this curriculum over to an older beginning voice student or work through the book and exercises with a younger child. No musical ability or lovely voice required of Mom or Dad!

Marcia McCarry suggests that you play the CD for your child and sing with him everyday. For your youngest students, coloring pages that correspond to each song are included as well. These are sweet and will help your little ones remember what they are learning to sing.

Additionally, each song presented is accompanied by teaching points, such as, "On the music sheet you will notice that the notes for the words hot cross buns have rests after each of them, indicating that the singer stops the tone after each note is sung. The second version is sung with long, connected words, which in musical terminology is called legato. This is a smooth way of singing a song." Musical concepts such as phrasing, intervals, singing parts, breathing for singing, tempo, and pronunciation are covered as well.

Please do be aware of the importance of having a certified teacher of singing actually hear and instruct your child at least several times a year. I cannot stress enough that the formation of bad habits can lead to a smaller range at best and severe vocal damage at worst. There really is no substitute for the human ear and what a teacher can help a student to correct and strive for.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2006