Not all children want to sing
As with all children, some deaf children will enjoy singing while others will be more reluctant. You may find that many of the children don't want to sing at all. Some deaf children are not used to using their voice, therefore singing may initially be uncomfortable for them, so remember to make any songs you incorporate into your classes as inclusive as possible. It is essential that you never force your students to sing. If they would like to sing, they will do so once they feel ready and comfortable to join in.
What song to choose?
When introducing songs to your deaf students, we found that it is best to start with songs that have a clear meaning (or even compose a meaningful song with your students) with translation into sign language (if appropriate).
What range and how complex?
Start off with smaller intervals (Visual) (gaps in the notes) within a 5 note range (Do-so / C-G) and without too much movement in the melody. This can then be increased to wider intervals and more movement across an octave range (Do-So / C-C).
Songs with the interval 5-3 or 3-1 (wind the bobbin up) are easier than jumping up (1-3).
How many words?
This will vary depending on the age and communication needs of the children. It is better to start with simple lyrics which are very repetitive and progress from there. Songs with too many words and words they don’t understand can be difficult to remember and may take much longer for the children to feel confident joining in. They may get overwhelmed and lose motivation to engage in sessions if the content is too hard.