Why do human beings use different intonation when they speak? Without the pauses, the commas and the periods, humans would venture toward a mode of speech devoid of varying intonation. Intonation in speech is how we show emotion and intent and many other things. The pauses, the stops, the breathes and the breaks are what help us know what to expect, so we know where to do with the intonation. As a matter of fact, where we are in the sentence or phrase of speaking often determines the exact intonation we will use. The breaks and pauses and the expectation they create also make the pitches that we do end up creating, more comfortable.
There is always the question though of how to teach phrasing, especially to small children or beginning music students. I have written lyrics to the folk song Go Tell Aunt Rhody that may help in the learning of phrasing. Please feel free to download it and please let me know how it goes!
Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Learning to Phrase