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Signing church music can be quite challenging! Several “old” hymns have much figurative language. Newer songs can also be challenging to sign. But all church music should be musical, accurate, and meaningful.

Smoothness – Signs should be musical and more smooth than those used to interpret the speaking. Signs should flow one into the other. March-type music should have a definite rhythm, yet still flow and look like music.

Accuracy – Signs should be accurate in hand shape, location, movement, orientation, and expression. Inaccurate signs are similar to mumbling with the voice.

Meaning – The three most important parts of any interpretation are meaning, meaning, meaning! Signs should be chosen carefully to best show the meaning in the song. “Poetic license” should never cover or hide the song’s meaning. If nothing else, make the message clear.

Flexibility – The tendency is to sign the words of the song. Some Deaf participants may prefer to have the consistency of the same interpreted signs each time. Others prefer to understand the meaning in ASL, not English word order. Signers will find that NOT singing with their voice will allow a better ASL presentation. Signers should be flexible to meet the needs of Deaf individuals in front of them.

Eye Gaze – Along with sign placement, proper eye gaze helps make signed music clear and conversational. Look the right way at the right time and refer to where the location signs are placed. Signers can practice by videoing themselves and reviewing the recording with the sound off.

Improve – Consider interpreting as an art that must be continually evaluated and improved. Attend SWM’s ASL Institute summer workshops: SilentWord.org/ASLI

SWM is here to help. Contact us or view our website and store: SilentWord.org
More Info: ckick here. • 706-657-8000

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