For voice teachers like me, October is the time when students start approaching me to ask for help with their Christmas audition repertoire. My kids are singing ballads and uptempo arrangements of Christmas songs in hopes of being cast as youth performers in local and regional theatre company productions. In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out whether I want to hang a string of paper skeletons or pumpkins across my living room wall. Christmas preparation starts early for creatives but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take advantage of the spooky season too!
Halloween in Acting Classes
When I teach acting classes it’s often with little kids, so I have to be sure to be aware of the “scary factor” of Halloween. I try my best to embrace it more as a fantastical holiday than one that is meant to scare you out of your wits. I take the opportunity with my acting classes to take on character day with the Halloween costumes my students will be using for their costumes. I get an array of princesses, pirates, and youth television show references. We play acting games for the whole class and have to stay in character as our Halloween costume. This is fun because it also urges them to play their character when they go out trick or treating!
Another great class choice for older kids or smaller class sizes of younger kids is in Halloween make-up. Teach your students how to give themselves those notorious witchy moles on their faces, vampire fangs, or Frankenstein complexions. A group of older kids should be able to execute a lot on their own…but the younger ones will want you to do it for them. Just make sure that you reach out to parents first for any specific allergies before class.
Halloween in Voice Classes
I work so hard with my students to prepare them for upcoming auditions that some elements of sight reading and theory lessons are a bit overlooked. Among those overlooked elements is minor scales. I love to take advantage of Halloween for theory purposes and test my students’ intonation with natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scales. I teach the scales, write out all of the accidentals with them, and quiz them throughout the month.
There are plenty of songs that work with Halloween, audition prep, and sight reading. Take out a song like “Hall of the Mountain King” by Grieg, turn it into a vocalise or a sight reading exercise. Teach one of your tenors a song sung by Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas. You could even give an older student a song from Sweeney Todd and work on those crazy Sondheim rhythms…if you feel up to playing the piano parts…
What else do you do to get in the Halloween spirit with your students?