Posts Tagged 'bonding through music'

Five Fun Ways to Create Holiday Memories with Music

gift of music“Can we sing the one that goes like, ‘My paddle’s keen and bright flashing with sil-VER, follow the wild goose flight, dip dip and swing.’”

This was the voice of a 6-year-old that I have been watching since she was a tiny 15-month-old. We attended Music Together classes for over two years prior to me teaching and I have been teaching now for more than three years. At this point, she has heard every Music Together song in some capacity. However, I was SHOCKED to hear her singing “Canoe Song,” a song from the Bongos Collection, because we usually sing whatever is new and current in our brains. Right now, I’m much more prone to break out into “Hey Lolly” or “Vengan a Ver”—something from the current collection!

She then went on to tell me that she had learned a different version of “Canoe Song” at school, but said that she wanted to sing it with me because she had sung it with me first. While she may not have remembered the song explicitly on its own, something was activated in her brain when she learned a different version of it in school. The memory of singing it with me first was still there from five years ago!

I share this story because even though I know how important my influence is on this child’s life (as her nanny), I sometimes forget this from time to time. It is so important to remember how powerful our voices are to our children. They may not always show it, but they are always paying attention. They are so tuned into the voices of those they are emotionally attached to. Whether we are singing or talking, they are hearing it and taking it into their very being.

The holidays are coming and along with that comes a lot of food, family, and presents. However, once the food is eaten and the presents are unwrapped, what will remain?

Here are five fun ways to play with music during the holidays to create fond holiday memories:

  • Put on some music and dance and sing as you decorate or wrap presents.
  • Sing songs from the Flute CD or your favorite holiday tunes when you are driving in the car to run errands or visit relatives.
  • Sing “The Hello Song” and “Goodbye Song” to all of the relatives you visit with this season.
  • Look through previous Music Together songbooks and CDs and revisit your favorites. See if you can put a new holiday twist on some of them: “My tree is green and bright, flashing with ornaments…”
  • Conduct a jam session with your family to your favorite holiday songs! No need for fancy instruments—pots, pans, tupperware, and wooden spoons will work just fine.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you are bringing music making into your holiday season. Whatever ways you choose to play, you will be creating musical memories that will last a lifetime for both you and your child.

Meg Rivera
Music Together Teacher

Generations Coming Together Through Music

Buckner Villas InstrumentA wise friend recently said to me while walking around Lady Bird Lake, “Music is the reverberation of life.”  According to the Collins Thesaurus of the English Language, some synonyms of “reverberation” include:  “echo, ringing, resonance, resounding, vibration, reechoing (the echo of an echo).”  The word that intrigued me the most was “reechoing” because it implies a circle of life that continues to affect us no matter what stage of life we are in. In terms of music, it has the power to affect us daily, resounding and echoing through our core to positively affect our lives.

I witness this phenomenon every Thursday morning at my Intergenerational Music Together class at Buckner Villas.  I see it in my friend Roland who, a few weeks ago, asked permission to bring his string bass to class and play with us. He encouraged the children to strum the strings so they could experience how differently bass strings feel compared to my guitar strings.  Roland told me a story of his grandson who, when four years old, wanted to strum the strings just like his grandfather, but the boy’s mother was afraid for him to do that for fear he might hurt the strings if he pulled on them or strummed too hard.  Grandpa Roland of course wanted him to play the bass strings and remembers thinking, “One never knows how we affect children’s lives because we never really know what is going on in their heads!”  This same grandson just completed his degree in music at Baylor!  Roland and his wife, Elizabeth, have five children and they are all musical.  One of their sons is the music administrator for the Alamo Heights School District in San Antonio.  Their daughter majored in voice and taught music in the public schools for many years. Every Christmas, they get together with all of their instruments and put on a musical variety show.  Their love of music is reverberating through the generations of their family and I am certain their grandchildren will continue to pass on this love of music.

I see this process of reechoing in my friend Phyllis who knows the name of every child who comes to our Intergenerational class and wants to hug and hold each one of them every week.  She jumps right in and leads a rhythm pattern whenever asked. She feels so strongly about the Music Together program that she wrote an article for the Buckner Villas newspaper, encouraging her fellow residents to attend so they too can experience the joys of music that she feels with the children.

Buckner Villas Class SingI see it in Marge who belongs to five choirs, loves to sing with us, especially when we do part singing, and who occasionally will dance along, too. I see it in ninety “something” year old Lillian, who arrives every Thursday with her ornately decorated walker (right now with autumn leaves to celebrate the season), and in Joyce, who loves to sing along, share songs of her past, and shout out her favorite animal when I ask for suggestions. This shared joy resounds in Inga, a beautiful Swedish woman who fights her instincts to want the children to remain in the circle because that was the way she was raised, yet she totally understands when I explain to her that some children need to move around to be able to learn in their own way.  All of the residents cherish the ritual at the end of class when the children come around to shake their hands.

There is Janet, the effervescent activity director, who always attends class whenever possible, simply because she loves to witness the children and their ability to constantly learn and change.  Janet is forever thinking up new ways to give something to the children, and is already playing with an idea for Christmas.  And Kenneth, another employee of Buckner Villas, occasionally pops by to take pictures at the beginning of class and then scurries away to print them in time to give to the young moms so they have their mementos when they leave.

Buckner Villas Class 2I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful parents of these beautiful children, too.  These devoted moms and dads try to get to class early so that they can visit with the residents and they always hang around afterwards to check in with each other, creating a strong support group.  They delight in watching all the children grow and encourage them in small ways.  One of the moms shared with me that her family has a drum set in their living room so that their son can understand how important music is to their family. They believe that the drums shouldn’t be hidden away in his bedroom for only his enjoyment!  That is true love!

If you have never visited an Intergenerational class, please come see us at Buckner Villas or join us at one of our other Intergenerational classes in Austin.  We will be offering free demos in December and you can sign up online at or call (512) 371-9506. Bring a friend, too! Our 9-week Winter Session starts January 6th and goes through March 8th, 2014.

Buckner Villas GroupThe sounds of music are definitely reverberating at Buckner Villas.  It is a beautiful experience of generations coming together to sing and love one another.

Edie Elkjer
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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