Archive for February, 2013

Let’s Sing It Again Mommy!

Let's Sing It Again MommyHow many times have you listened to the “Hello Song”, “They Come Back”, or “John the Rabbit”?  My kids are obsessed with “She Sells Sea Shells”, and I have probably sung it over 100 times this semester. As a parent and a teacher I often burn out on the songs. It is important to remember that children learn from repetition. Think back to middle and high school. How many times did you listen to that special love song? I know I had a few mixed tapes that I listened to over and over again. It was necessary for me to do this in order to learn the words and the tunes. This is exactly what our children are doing through this repetition – they are learning basic music skills.  They are making connections with words, tonalities, rhythms, emotions, and experiences.

Here are a few tips to help keep our children’s favorite songs fresh:

  • Try singing without the recording.
  • Look at the song through your child’s eye.  What do you think draws them to it?  Try to focus on that.
  • Make up your own words to reflect an activity you are doing:
    • “Brush, brush, brush your teeth.  Brush your teeth together.”
    • “Everybody loves to eat their broccoli.”
    • “This train is cleaning up his room now.”
  • Use movements and activities from class at home.
  • Music Together has created books that go along with the “Hello Song” and “She Sells Sea Shells”. My children adore these books and we use them all the time.
  • Make up your own activity:
    • My daughter and I colored our own pictures of seashells.
    • We made our own orchestra with kitchen items.
    • We play the game “Roll Over” with stuffed animals.

We all have different ways of responding to our children’s same song requests over and over and over again. What has worked for you?  Do you keep the song on repeat? What things have you done to keep that particular song fresh?  I would love to hear your ideas in our comments.

Becca Myers
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

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The Softer Side

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When I think of making music with young children, some of the first things that come to mind are bouncing, clapping, drumming, shaking, lively, upbeat songs and activities. While these are all valid, playful, developmentally appropriate ways to engage musically with children, lately, I find myself interested in the more mellow side.

This session, I’ve been struck by the incredible focus drawn with some of the slower, softer songs. Be it the song itself, the activity, the contrast, the community, I’m not exactly sure, but I am sure there’s something special in this end of the musical spectrum. For example, “She Sells Sea Shells”, many of us agree that there is something almost magical about this song, right? In my classes it nearly always stops children in their tracks and the concentration is palpable. Multiple parents have told me stories of being emotionally moved, and that they enjoy listening to their young children play with and sing this melody. I’ve witnessed very accurate contouring and pitch from a lot of children independently singing this song. I can only imagine how much more of this happens at home!

A couple of recent successes in the Drum Collection for me have been “Arirang” and “Sneak and Peek”. I’m inspired by the attention shown in the children during a very fluid, controlled, slow, Tai Chi-like movement, and a careful, secretive, rhythmic, tip-toe sneak, with singing that is barely audible. Of course, it’s not the doing it “right” that these activities are successful, or even in the “doing”. Success to me is in the light of the eyes and demeanor, the absorption and the turning wheels – that’s the language of music being unlocked.

I challenge you to observe your child during the quieter aspects of music making and look for those kinds of successes. Then encourage them by creating opportunities at home, perhaps starting by:

  • Singing or humming softly while playing or during daily activities; maybe the same song or melody goes with the same activity.
  • Turning on classical music while awake too, not just for sleeping!
  • Making a playlist of just laid back faves (yours or your child’s) to play in the car when the mood is right (or needs to be!).
  • Modeling slow movement or dancing with and for your child; remember you are your child’s most important musical teacher!
  • Using scarves or flowing fabric to show smooth rhythm visually.
  • And of course: singing calming, soothing, bonding, bedtime lullabies!

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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