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Musical Theatre Camp Activities
Join us for a fun, 30-minute musical theatre lesson for elementary-aged students and their parents.
Before we begin, you can get your voice ready by trying our warm-up activities!
Vocal Roller Coaster
Singing together can help us make friends, help us learn and remember facts, and even help us to relax when we’re feeling stressed! It is also used as a major storytelling element in Musical Theatre. One of the most important tools actors use while singing is good diction. Having good DICTION means speaking or singing clearly, so that the audience can understand the words. It is important because the words of the song are telling the story, so the audience needs to hear them to know what is happening.
In the Arden’s production of Treasure Island last year, the actors told parts of the story through song. During the “Hunting Gold” number, much information about getting ready for the treasure hunt was shared. The performers had to be careful to practice good diction, even while using their pirate accents. Let’s watch some rehearsal footage!
Now, let’s practice our good diction skills by learning the singing tongue twister “Proper Cup of Coffee” together! Here are the words:
All I want is a proper cup of coffee, made in a proper copper coffee pot.
I may be off my dot, but I want a cup of coffee in a proper copper pot.
Iron coffee pots and tin coffee pots, they are no use to me.
If I can’t have a proper cup of coffee in a proper copper coffee pot, I’ll have a cup of tea!
Now it’s time to learn the tune, and sing along!
Need a challenge? Try singing “Proper Cup of Coffee” over and over again, getting faster each time. As you increase your speed, make sure to maintain your good diction.
Need to simplify? If you are singing with a younger student, try using a song that they already know, and focus on singing it with them slowly and clearly to practice good diction.
Another important tool for singers is solfege! SOLFEGE is a special alphabet used for every note in a musical scale. There are seven unique solfege syllables, and one of them repeats for a total of eight:
Solfege is important because it teaches singers to identify notes using only their ears, and it helps them recognize patterns in the music. To practice, we will be using “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music, which teaches us the notes! Here are the words:
Doe (Do), a deer, a female deer
Ray (Re), a drop of golden sun
Me (Mi), a name I call myself
Far (Fa), a long, long way to run
Sew (So), a needle pulling thread
La (La), a note to follow Sew
Tea (Ti), a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Doe (Do) oh-oh-oh
Now it’s time to learn the tune, and sing along!
Need a challenge? Learn the whole “Do-Re-Mi” song from The Sound of Music by looking it up on YouTube, Spotify, or even watching the full movie musical.
Need to simplify? If you’re singing with a younger student, focus more on musical exploration, rather than learning the names of the notes. For example, play “Do-Re-Mi” and have your student watch the accompanying movie clip or dance along to the music.
Lastly, actors use dynamics as a tool when performing a Musical Theatre song. DYNAMICS refer to the volume of a person’s voice when singing. We will be focusing on three volumes today:
- Forte – LOUDLY
- Piano – softly
- Crescendo – Moving from softly to LOUDLY over time
Dynamics are important because they help keep the audience interested in the performance by varying the sound. They also are a great acting tool that help the singer express emotion through their voice to tell the story of the song.
Let’s practice using dynamics by playing CONDUCTOR! We’ll be using “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music.
If you would like to play CONDUCTOR on your own, here are the instructions:
- Decide which participant will be the conductor and which participant will be the singer.
- Choose a song for the singer to perform.
- As the singer performs the song, the conductor should direct them by showing which of the dynamics to use:
- Hand high above the head for FORTE
- Hand low and close to the floor for PIANO
- Hand moving from low to high for CRESCENDO
Need a challenge? While conducting, try to use dynamics that tell the story of the song or help express the emotion of the singer. For example, if words in the song are sad use Piano, and if the words are joyful use Forte.
Need to simplify? If you are singing with a younger student, try using a song that they already know that has simple lyrics, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Focus on being loud (Forte) or quiet (Piano) the entire song, rather than switching in between.
Thank you for singing with us today!
We would love to see how you played CONDUCTOR or how you sang along to any of the other exercises! Tag us using @ArdenTheatreCo on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to share.
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