Following Your Child’s Lead

MomDaughterDancingDuring my classes I will often move from my lesson plan to follow a child’s lead. For example, this week the play-along became a big parade where all the parents joined in, and in another class I added 5 extra verses with “The Three Ravens” because the children were having a blast putting dolphins, trains, and monkeys in the tree.

Throughout your day you can follow your child’s physical cues to bring music into their play:

– Are they getting antsy? Turn up the music and dance along or have a parade throughout your house.

– If your child is sad, break out into a silly song, or sing the incorrect words to a song. They love to correct grown-ups when we are “wrong”!

– During story time bring out your Music Together songbook. Your child might initiate a song from looking at the pictures.

– And of course if they are sleepy you can sing a lullaby.  Check out Vanessa’s blog post on The Softer Side.

Once you have started your music play, you can take suggestions verbally or through their movement cues:

  • Make up your own verses to “Jim Along Josie.” My favorite is playing a freeze game:  ”Hey quickly, quickly Josie (freeze). Hey quickly, quickly Joe (freeze).” Encourage them to make up their own verses. You can ask, “How do you like to move?”
  • While playing with egg shakers, follow your child’s movements. Change the song to go along with the movement. For example, with “Dum Ditty Dum,” you could sing – “fast, fast, fast, fast” or “slow, slow, slow, slow.”
  • What other animals or things do they want in the tree in the song “The Three Ravens”? Remember that by using your child’s suggestions, you are encouraging creativity and are building confidence in music making for your child.  It’s okay to sing the verse even if it does not make sense to us. It’s okay to put a fire truck in the tree!

Remember to feel free to change the lyrics, tempos, and movements with your child. And by following your child’s movements, sounds, and words throughout the music making fun, you are building your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem!

Becca Myers
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

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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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