Posts Tagged 'singing to your child'

Fun Ways to Beat the Heat with Music

Mom Singing with ChildSummer is over as everyone heads back to school, right? Wrong! Well, half of that is completely untrue for us Austinites. Even though our “fall” schedules tell us it’s over, the heat of summer is going nowhere fast. If you’re in need of some fun ways to beat the heat and survive the sticky, icky, moody late afternoons and weekends, let music be your guide!

I have two words for you: DANCE PARTY! This is a highly underrated, useful activity that can be done indoors, yet can be incredibly active, burning off energy, and elevating mood for grownups and kids alike. Parents, as we constantly say to you in class, the more fun you’re having, the more fun your little one will have. Get nostalgic with your song selection; have fun creating a special dance party playlist, bust out your favorite hip hop from high school, or the songs you danced to at your wedding, then push the coffee table out of the way, close the curtains, turn up the AC, and let loose! If you’re head-banging or tush-pushing around the living room, having a silly blast, there’s no way your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers won’t have a great time watching—and most likely will be inspired to join in, too!

Along similar lines is a jam session. We do this in class every week with our play-along ritual, but make no mistake; this can be just as active an experience as the dance party if you let it. Again, you’re the leader. While setting your kid in a pile of instruments, putting on their favorite music can be great, it is much more engaging if you’re actively involved too. Sometimes (when they let you), you be the DJ and play your music and go nuts on that bongo like you’re the drummer from Def Leppard. Some other ideas for jamming are: use kitchen wares or unexpected toys as instruments, get crafty and make your own instruments, be a parade and march around the whole house, or find a spot in front of a mirror and make silly, intense jam-faces. Like the dance party, this can last a good long while if you’re having fun too, and can use up some necessary end-of-the-day energy when the park is a no-go.

Another idea is: water play!! Of course this can be outdoors, in the pool or sprinkler, but you can make a fun water play station inside on those days you can’t bare to go out again. Perhaps you run an early or extra bath (in swimsuits?!?), maybe you bring chairs or stools to the kitchen or bathroom sink, or put towels or a blanket down on the floor and get out a big kitchen bowl or laundry tub and fill it with water! Most of our Music Together collections have at least one song about water, like “I Had a Little Frog” from the summer collection, or “Canoe Song” that we’ll be doing in the Fall Session. Rhythmically splash and sing along to these of course, but honestly, any song can be a water song! If “Ridin’ in the Car” is still a favorite—make it about a boat instead of a car. If one of the many train songs pops into your head—pick up all the water dwelling animal bath toys you have and train them around the water.

These ideas are fairly simple, and require nothing but tools you already have, mostly being: you. Remember this on these endless sweltering days and beat the heat with music!

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher




Help I can’t get my kid to listen to the new CD!

MTArtCoverFlute-webSeptember is here and we are off and running in our second week of the Fall Session at Heartsong making music to the tune of Flute Collection. Get ready to Work on The Railroad, sing with the Pretty Little Horses, and do a little Dum Ditty.

One statement I often hear as we enter into a new songbook collection with 25 or so new songs is, “My son/daughter won’t listen to the new CD!” This is usually accompanied by varying levels of worrisome facial expressions. (i.e. “Something’s wrong!) “They just want the old one. The one they know; the one they are comfortable with.” Sounds a little like life.

But just as in life we must learn to adapt to change, so it is with Music Together. And whether you are experiencing your 2nd or 22nd semester in Music Together, the shift will happen. So be encouraged.

As we board the Flute Train remember that it can take the first half or more of the semester for your child to start to show signs of recognition and response to our rituals in class. This is expected. Just keep modeling and the shift will occur. When your child has an experience of the song in class with you and all of her new friends, this will help her to recognize the song when she hears it on the CD. Below are some ideas of how you can creatively introduce the new songs into your daily life:

  • Pick one song we did in class and do it the same way (as best you can remember), then incorporate fun, new activities personally tailored to your child. If your child likes to hop and twirl then use that as a way to get familiar with the song.
  • Becca Myers, (a/k/a “Miss Becca, teacher at Heartsong), uses this idea with her own children: “Have parents sing songs without the recording. Then in the car do the same thing and encourage [their child] to hear the song on the CD. ‘Hey, it’s the new song from the class, let’s listen!’ In the car we have a lot of fun taking turns picking songs.”
  • You can also piggy back on Miss Becca’s suggestion and try doing this right after you come out of class on the way home.
  • Remember your songbook, it is an important part of the Music Together experience! It is meant to be colored and bent and read and explored just like the props we use in class. Use the songbook as a storybook at night, as a coloring book as well, point to the pictures, and ask what song you might sing with this picture. Sing the song as you are coloring or tap the beat of the song on the page while you sing along seeing pictures and words and musical notes.

If you’ve been taking Music Together classes for a while you know how we use every opportunity to sing. (Every opportunity!) We sing the instruments away, we sing children from bumbling into each other, we sing them out from under a piano if necessary. It’s pretty magical to watch how the children go from strong disappointment that they have to let go of their favorite prop to looking forward to putting all the instruments in the basket – with enthusiasm. Everyone is pitching in, singing and participating, all within their current stage of development. Some are learning how to put the instruments in gently, some are learning how to wait their turn, some are learning that even though they have to let go, there’s a new song around the corner and a new activity to take its place.

The same goes for acceptance of a whole new song collection. It’s a process. Just remember that your children will adapt and explore at their own pace.

And that’s the way we like it.

Fleur Phillips
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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