Posts Tagged 'slow soft songs for your child'

The Softer Side


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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