I have been a Music Together parent for six years now, and a teacher for five. Recently, I’ve been reflecting upon what it is that keeps me so intellectually engaged with the program, despite having been through the whole program “twice” as it were (it takes 3 years to go through all the collections!) and with two different children. I think that most of the reason I love my role as a parent, and teacher, is that although I may have sung or danced to a certain song 500 times by now, each experience is still new as I get to observe how my child and other children are experiencing it in a way that is particular to their stage in overall development. For example, our family’s relationship to the Songbook has evolved over the six years we’ve had one or another floating around the house, car or diaper bag. I have found it an incredibly useful resource, and was reminded of this when Becca (I take my youngest to her class!) gave us all a fabulous idea for a game using the songbook at home or in the car with bigger kids. I thought I could share a few ways that I’ve used the Songbook with my children at different stages of their development:
As a new parent I read the Songbook cover to cover. I learned so much about how to play musically with my babies and how to support their development both musically and in a more general sense. I also learned how to support my baby’s needs in the mixed age classes. I read to my babies from birth (no joke!) so it was easy to just slip the songbook into our storytimes and sing the song while looking at its corresponding picture, pointing out different things.
When we were in the car listening to the CD, I would give my son the Songbook and he would start “reading” the book along to the song. He would turn the page when one song ended and follow along. When he got better at matching the songs with their Songbook pages, I turned on Shuffle – SO FUN! We also colored the pictures and used the Songbook at storytime and lullaby time and the picture would serve as a prompt for discussion and singing.
Becca’s Idea: Look at the bottom of the Songbook page to find a description of which instruments are used in the recording of that song. You can point out those instruments as you listen to the track, eventually your child will take great pride in pointing them out to you!
At lullaby time, I sometimes pull out the Songbook page and follow the notes with my finger as I sing, or at other times my finger follows the words instead. Every so often I don’t sing the word or note and my son will fill in the blank for me.
I’m sure you all have countless ways that you use and have used the songbook during your Music Together years. We’d be interested in hearing about them, so please share some of your own ideas with us below so we can all benefit from your creativity.
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher