Posts Tagged 'lullabies'

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 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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