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.
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher