Music Together® has about 25 songs on each of their 9 CD’s. That makes for a lot of music making at home and in class! I know when I was a new mom, I wanted to sing to my kids at all times but the only kid song I could think of was “Twinkle Twinkle”. Boy did that get old fast. Although we are currently singing “Baa Baa Little Star” in class with lots of ABC’s, Twinkles and Baa Baa Black Sheep (all the same melodies), we have many other songs to choose from when singing with our kids. Songs on the current CD, Triangle, have both melodies and chants. ”Two Little Blackbirds” has a great melody you can sing along to or change the words like we do in class. So fun! Chants, on the other hand, have no music, no melody. They are rhythmic poetry which serves many purposes with childhood development and are commonly used in preschools and in suzuki lessons as well.
The chant like, “10 Little Fingers” is catchy without the melody. You find yourself tapping along to the beat easily. By removing the music, kids can concentrate on the rhythm and the beat deepening their understanding and rhythmic feel of the chant. Many children’s books also use this chant-like feel, becoming catchy. Like, “Moo, Baa, La La La” which I can never forget! What chants can you think of and do you play with at home. Patty Cake? Remember that one?
As you know, singing songs with young children help them develop many things like languages and speech and here is an article about how chants and songs for children can also help with literacy. Using the Music Together book with your child while listening to the music will also help their reading skills down the line.
In the Music Together® studio, I always have some arnica gel. If you have not heard of it, it’s THE BEST for bumps and bruises. It is not for open cuts but if your little one falls and bumps his or her head and you have a tube of arnica gel near by, simply apply a dab onto the spot. Most kids stop crying immediately! Arnica is homeopathic – made from a plant and it works just like ice would. Little kids do not like it when we put ice on them so arnica is a must-have item in the diaper bag! In Music class, sometimes kids bump into each other or a drum gets tossed across the room – Yikes! That’s why I have arnica gel there. It works best if you use it right away. I needed it myself the other day as a boy in class and I collided accidentally. We both used it and the pain subsided. Not only that but any bruises or golf-ball-sized bumps disappeared. Here’s an article about arnica. It comes in lots of forms. The homeopathic pellets also work. I’ve taken them myself right after twisting my ankle. Some naturopathic doctors will prescribe it for aches and sprains as well. You can find it at Vitamin Cottage or any health food store.
Repeat after me, “Ba ba bababa!” What fun we are having in class with so many wonderful adult models this fall session. The adults are doing a fabulous job! I see kids in the circle looking at their peers and all the adults clapping, tapping and of course singing songs like “Ram Sam Sam” and “Here is the Beehive” and I can only imagine these toddlers singing, rocking and buzzing like bees at home!
Infants and toddlers learn EVERYTHING they do from watching and imitating others – especially their most important role models – YOU!
So, sing, sing, sing – all day and all night! Don’t forget to make lullabies a tradition too! Your children will adore the music, the caresses, the soothing feeling they get from lullabies – they are addictive! “Oh Shanendoah, I long to see you…”
Next week, we are back at it! Making music with families from Longmont, Erie, Frederick, Berthoud and more! Music Together® is a wonderful program that families love! The music this fall is Fiddles. We will enjoy some chants like “Here is the Beehive” and “Mississippi Cats”. Also some favorite songs like “Ram Sam Sam” and one from Bulgaria in 7/8, “Bela Boya” which will be fantastic with balls. That’s right, we have balls, scarves, a parachute, egg shakers, rhythm sticks, drums, tambourines and many many more music making props! The most important music maker is you! As you learn the new songs, sing with your children! They will build upon their class experiences at home where they are most comfortable.
If your child does not participate in class, that’s ok! That is actually a sign of maturity. There is a lot going on in a Music Together class and some kids like to take it all in. My son was like that until he had a drum in hand – then he’d apply what he observed and bang to the beat at the early age of 2! Enjoy the music. Here is a sample class from somewhere else. I need to have someone videotape our class sometime! Any volunteers?
One of the founders of Music Together®explains what rhythm patterns are and how children perseive them. Check out his response: Ken’s Response
Many Music Together graduates easily transition to Suzuki violin, viola, cello or piano lessons. I recently met a music teacher who does not believe in the Suzuki method. There are two sides to the coin regarding this method of teaching and I am strongly for it! I have seen first hand how the Suzuki method can help kids easily develop musical skills. ”Easy” is the key word there.
Music Together kids learn their music by listening to the music at home all week and then during class, they see and hear the music making live. The activities in class are meant to serve as visual and audio memories the kids will take home with them and recall as they hear the CD being played at home. Who knows what goes on in those little brains of theirs? Constant processing of the melodies, rhythms and memories we have created is what happens. They are in essence, ear training. For instance, “Maria Isabel”, our current Spanish song is great to move to and clap and make up verses! Kids will learn the Spanish words by ear easily. At this age, they are not reading yet. They will pronounce the Spanish pretty close to the way it is heard on the CD. Many adults, meanwhile, will need to read the words in order to sing along. Ear training is so important!
The Suzuki method uses this same philosophy as Music Together. There are CD’s that are played for the children, the music is easily internalized by the kids and when they have the skills to put the bow on the strings or play the keyboard, they can easily play songs they have already heard many many times. The Suzuki method, at a young age develops kids’ ears. All three of my kids can play many instruments by ear. I have seen first hand how this is invaluable. I can give them the first note of any song they have heard and they will be able to play the whole song. That’s pretty cool!
I, on the other hand, have no ear training. I began flute lessons in 4th grade and excelled quickly. However, I never had any ear training and am now limited to music-reading. I cannot play my flute without music in front of me. Some people believe that Suzuki kids cannot read music. However, most Suzuki teachers demand kids learn to read music when they start to read (around age 6) so this is not an issue. My 3 kids are excellent music-readers. They are still young and their sight-reading skills are not fully developed but they have both skills of playing by ear and music reading and thus can pretty much learn to play anything.
I have a cellist, a violinist (who also plays viola) and a pianist. Feel free to ask me any questions about Suzuki lessons!
The video above is my daughter, Izzy playing a Suzuki book 4 piece when she was 11. She easily memorized this by ear.
Longmont Suzuki Strings has violin, viola and cello lessons. Take your kids to a recital or concert to expose them to other kids playing. You may meet some Music Together graduates while you’re there! http://www.longmontsuzukistrings.org/
You can post your own videos to Music Together’s® youtube channel. Or, just watch and enjoy others singing the same songs you are in class. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/musictogether
Are you listening to your Bells CD at home and/or in the car? Each week in class, we do musical activities with the music you have at home. Playing the CD for your child and entire family will deepen the musical experience, thus further develop your childrens’ musical abilities.
We create audio and visual stimuli in the clas and continueing to “practice” these activities in the comfort and privacy of your home or your car, will help build the musical foundation called BMC, Basic Music Competency or the ability to keep a beat and sing in tune.
What changes have you noticed in your child since we have started singing “Trot Old Joe” or any of the Music Together songs? I’ve been hearing some great stories! So cute!
Here’s my story: one weekend, long ago and before I was a teacher, we rented a cabin and invited some friends. We had a total of 5 kids under 4. While some of the adults cooked dinner, I got the music together book and cassette (back then) out and started the music from the beginning. The kids were enthralled, busy and actively making music – it didn’t matter what we did. They were entertained, happy and kept out of trouble. I quickly read the activities under each song in the book and came up with something to do for each song. So fun and educational! TV not needed!
This mom has a fun idea for Trot Old Joe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_AZLrbrmU4&feature=related