Archive for October, 2012

Bringing Musical Memories To Life

I grew up singing the song “Crawdad” from this semester’s Fiddle Collection. I don’t even remember who sang this song to me and I don’t remember specifically singing the song with someone. But we all knew this song and it was a part of my childhood. This song brings back memories for me, but not a specific time or place or face. It reminds me of being young.

I assumed that everyone knew this song. In week one of this semester, I found out that many people had never heard this song. I was so familiar with the song that I couldn’t believe everyone didn’t know it as well. Then I realized that everyone has songs like “Crawdad” floating around in their memories waiting to be brought back to life.

Our children are building their library of musical memories right now. Every stage of their life will come with a memory soundtrack. We can’t pick which songs will mean something. We can’t choose which beats will remind them of their childhood. We can however pass along the songs that mean something to us. Songs that draw our emotions out will naturally mean more to our children.  Songs that meant something to our parents will mean more to our children. There are songs that will be passed along from one generation to the next.  It is important to share these songs with our children. Sharing these memories helps us bond one generation to the next.

There are several songs in the Fiddle Collection that your parents and grandparents might know: “Shenandoah”, “Crawdad”, “Marching and Drumming” (also known as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”), and “This Little Light of Mine”. Have your child ask grandma and grandpa if they know any of these songs and see what happens!

Becca Myers
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

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Making Music Personal

Hello to Vanessa, so glad to see you…

An impactful way to make music with your child is to sing to her about her world. We start every class at Heartsong modeling this, by singing each child’s name in the Hello Song. This is a ritual that welcomes, acknowledges, and includes individuals as a part of the music-making experience. When we personalize a song, we are no longer bystanders witnessing or taking part in someone else’s creation, but creators ourselves, exploring, experimenting, improving, taking ownership, and becoming an integral thread in the fabric of the music. This encourages more and more music making, which is a child’s best tool for musical learning.

Here are some examples from the Fiddle Collection of how to make music personal:

1.) Add your child’s name into the song, like this:

Isla’s singing’ everyday and every night… (Singin’ Everyday)

Ding dong, Isla’s got the rhythm in her head… (I’ve Got the Rhythm)

Oh Isla, I long to see you, way away you rollin’ river… (Shenendoah)

Additionally, this can be done simply by singing her name repeatedly on the melody just as you might “la la la” or “doo doo doo” along.

2.) Sing about real activities and experiences as they happen in your day, for instance:

Soon as mommy cooks up some lentils, eat ’em right straight up… (Sweet Potato)

Listen to the rain dropping one by one! When they get us wet we’re gonna have some fun… (The Sounds of Fall)

Goodbye, Isla, we’re going outside now, Goodbye, Isla, we’re getting’ in the stroller… (Goin’ to Boston)

Oh, my! No more swingin’. Swingin’ is fun, But now we’re all done… (No More Pie)

3.) Use true favorites, this way:

Apples and cherries, peas and cucumber, cheese and pasta… (Apples and Cherries)

You get a ball, I’ll get a ball, honey. You get the red, I’ll get the blue, babe… (Crawdad)

Hey, who’s that? A dog named Yoda! Arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf… (Mississippi Cats)

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are truly endless. What’s important is incorporating your child’s reality, not being lyrically clever, or perfectly rhyming each phrase!

Try it! See what you can come up with, and see how it engages your musical child.

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher


The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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