Ready? And Off We Go... 

Welcome to my first blog! So, why the title?

During rehearsals or even when singing in class, to ensure we all start together, I begin by saying this phrase out loud. It's a way of preparing your young musicians before they breathe to sing or chant. Later on this helps to prepare them before lift a bow or blow into a mouthpiece, or indeed sing. 

Crucially, the speed at which you call out ‘Ready? And Off you go’ will determine the pulse.

After a while your young musicians will feel confident enough to start the group off themselves. They may initially need some guidance to avoid setting off at the speed of light, but this is an excellent way to engage your musicians at the start of their musical journey. I use this from babes-in-arms up to the end of Year 2 (children aged 7).

As they progress, accompaniments will do this for them but while transitioning, you will initially need to call it out over these introductions in order that they begin to internalise it. Before long, they will be listening to the accompaniment (and watching you with any luck!) for the cue to start. This works both vocally and instrumentally.

This is a tweak on what many Kodaly-trained musicians will use. I like the use of the ‘Ready?’ as it can be a great tool to help remind our young musicians of the expectation that they should always be ready! The rest of the phrase gives ample time for beaters to be lifted, or a good breath to be taken, and there will also be space to think about what is coming!

This works a dream for time signatures in 2/4 and 4/4. For 3/4 and 6/8 leave out the ‘and’. This also help your musicians to identify the change, and over time, they will adapt.

If this is something you already do, let me know how it works (or not) for you. If this new to you, be brave. Before you know it'll be second nature to you and your young musicians. Let me know how you get on with it. Good luck!

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