Archive for the 'Singing With Your Child' Category

Making Musical Experiences with Books

SingAlongBooksOur Sing-Along Storybook Hour last weekend was super fun and had a great turn out! If you weren’t able to join us, here are some tips to make a musical experience out of books that are songs at home.

Sing the words! It may seem obvious, but the simplest tools are often the most important. Your child may or may not recognize that it’s a song they know without the reference of the melody to accompany the words. Remember that while they’re young, your children love your voice no matter what you think of it, so don’t feel shy or self conscious! And if you don’t remember perfectly how the tune goes, turn on your CD to remind you- or just wing it! They either won’t mind, or will help you out!

Keep it rhythmic! By using your finger to tap along on the page (pointing either to the words or the pictures), your child sees and hears the steady beat! If you want a break from singing, chanting in rhythm is a great option to keep the experience musical, rather than returning to your more fluid, conversational, spoken vocal pattern.

Explore the pictures! The pictures often have even more of a story to tell than the words written down do. So, feel free to pause before moving on to the next page to discuss or sing about all the interesting things your child sees. You can of course talk about it and then continue the song when you turn the page. You can also chant or continue singing the melody with your own new words, or use the resting tone (and the tonic 5th!) to hold a musical conversation!

Music Together has created a wonderful collection of favorite Music Together songs in book form, so far including: Hello Everybody, She Sells Seashells, One Little Owl, All Around the Kitchen, Sandpiper, May All Children, and Ridin’ in the Car. Here are some other great examples to look for too: May There Always be Sunshine by Jim Gill; the Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin; What a Wonderful World illustrated by Ashley Bryan; Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins; Baby Beluga by Raffi; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and many classics by Iza Trapani; and don’t forget the rhyming rhythm of everything by Dr. Seuss!

If you don’t personally own any of these, check out what we have next time you are at Heartsong, or at your favorite library branch. And feel free to share other personal favorites in the comments!

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

Sing Along with The Holidays

halloween-pumpkin-2If you are registered with us this session, do you realize you have 25 Halloween songs at your finger tips? It’s true. You also have 25 songs for Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Ramadan, or any other holiday that your family celebrates!

I’m not talking about “The Monster Mash”, and I’m not talking about “Silver Bells”, I’m talking about the Flute collection!

Music Together teaches us that the way a song is written is a platform; it’s one way to sing a song; it’s a place to start. The beauty of personal music making (especially with young children!) is that from this starting point, the possibilities are nearly infinite. With the “holiday season” upon us, let’s celebrate with children through song. This can enhance experiences, deepen understanding, ease transition or unfamiliarity, spark musical imagination, and of course be tons of fun!!

If you simply consider the faces, places, and senses surrounding a given holiday, that can be all the material you need to give a song some kid-appropriate holiday wrapping. Here are some examples to try:

1) Faces: Who do you see? Who are the relevant fictional or historical characters involved? What do they wear? What do you wear?

Halloween example: “The Three Ravens”

There were three *black cats, sat in a tree, down a down, hey down a down.

They were as spooky as spooky might be, with a down.

The one of them said to his mate, where shall we all celebrate?

With a down derry, derry, derry down, down.

*substitute any costume or character: bats, witches, princesses, super heroes, etc…

2) Places: Where do you go? What does it look like? What do you do there? How do you get there?

Halloween example: “Rocketship”

Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat, doorbell, doorbell… Yay!

Haunted house, haunted house, jack-o-lantern… Run!

Halloween, halloween, party, party… Boo!

3) Senses: What do you eat? Smell? How do you decorate? What’s the weather like?

Halloween example: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”

I’ve been eating lots of candy, all the live long day,

I’ve been eating lots of candy, just to pass the time away,

Can’t you hear the children laughing? Staying up so late at night.

Can’t you hear the parents pleading? Won’t we sleep tonight?

Don’t think too much, just do!

Holiday cheers,

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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