slide1SongWorks is a collection of teaching strategies and techniques built on the premise that students should be at the center of and actively involved in the study at hand. Most SongWorks educators use SongWorks techniques and teaching strategies in their classrooms.

During SongWorks activities, learning often takes place in the form of singing games. The games provide the context for student immersion in social interaction, movement, language, thinking, listening, and music.

Singing activities are designed to be engaging and enjoyable, and at the same time they provide groundwork for serious progressive study and skill development. Challenges that elicit maximum responsiveness from students are constructed by the teacher and provided through the singing games.

Antiphonning is a way of performing a song in which a leader and responder(s) alternate performing successive parts of the song. Details
chinningChinning is the act of singing a song on a neutral syllable such as “loo”, “la”, or “doo”. Details
SolfegeSolfege (sofa) is a set of syllables that represent pitch or relationships between pitches in music. Details

MappingA music map is a line that represents the flow or movement of music. Details
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MovementMovement and making music are inseparable activities. Details
Secret-SongPresenting a song as a “Secret Song” entails performance of a song in other than in whole form. Details

Song-DotsSong Dots are made by tapping the rhythm of a pattern or a whole song with chalk or a marker, leaving a visual record of this movement. Details
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Stress-PatternsWord accents (stresses) are especially important connections between song and language because they give shape, expression, and meaning to both. Details
Vocal-ProductionVocal production within the SongWorks framework refers to the “lifted voice” and a voice that is well supported by breath energy. Details

IdeopraphsIn ideographs, symbols or pictures are used to represent phrases or chunks of a song. Details
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Inner-HearingSinging a song in your Inner Hearing is the same as singing it in your head. Details
FieldingStudent involvement in a lesson may be determined by the way we field their responses. Example: Details

SongWorks I

  1. Students have the right to be treated with respect and dignity for their ideas, skills and stages of development. (Video)
  2. Students deserve an engaging learning environment in which they feel safe enough to demonstrate freely their understandings and skills through various types of participation.
  3. Student learning is the responsibility of both teachers and students.
  4. Learning is holistic and constructive.
  5. A teacher’s attitudes, behaviors, and methodologies should be compatible.
  6. Accurate and constructive feedback helps students become independent learners.
  7. Quality of life is enriched through music and singing.

SongWorks II

  1. The major goal of music study is the development of a responsiveness to music.
  2. The musicality that is critical to music performance is just as important in music study.
  3. The fundamental skill in music behavior is listening.
  4. The way music sounds rather than how it looks guides the selection and presentation of patterns for study. (Video)
  5. A distinction exists between skills and concepts that are musically easy and those that are musically simple. (Video)
  6. Song provides direct involvement for making music and studying sound relationships.


There are various courses of study throughout Canada, the United States, and Japan where those interested can study SongWorks. If you would like to have a course in your area, see the Contacts page on this site.

To learn more about SongWorks and how to use this collection of teaching strategies and study techniques, refer to Books and Articles pages on this site.


Bennett P. D. & Bartholomew, D.R. (1997). SongWorks I: Singing in the education of children. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bennett P. D. & Bartholomew, D.R. (1999). SongWorks II: Singing from sound to symbol. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.