Intergenerational Music Classes

Intergenerational Music Class

Intergenerational Music classes have become the “buzz” at the moment. And it’s for good reason too. Research has shown how the elderly’s well-being declines and that for a lot of residents in Aged Care facility there is a good portion of people who rarely receive visitors.

Since conducting Intergenerational music class from February we adapted the classes to ensure that both the children and the elderly are receiving equal value from the music class experience. Because music education is paramount for children’s developing brains, motors skills and social skills. But equally important music plays a very important role in memory, well-being and encouraging being social for the elderly.

Here are the top factors to ensure the intergenerational music class is successful and beneficial for everyone involved.

The type of music is important.

When developing a music class for children songs that encourage finger play and hand movement are fantastic. At Rhythm Rumble we encourage the children to explore keeping a beat, tempo changes by tapping on tambourines and shaking instruments. As well as teaching children how to use their voices with various methods such as the “invisible whistle” or parachute play.

In regards to music for the elderly we use music from their teenager and 20’s to help them register feelings and memories from their past. Music such as Que Sera sera, Doris Day has been a massive hit. This type of therapy is referred to music from their reminiscent bump and there is strong research that shows how music from this era of our lives has stronger memory recollection.

How to encourage connection

Just because people have a shared reason for attending your intergenerational music class doesn’t mean there will be instant magic in the room. Some people are naturally more reserved and shy when confronted with a room of strangers and some children are also shy and reserved. Over the time Rhythm Rumble has developed games that encourage the children and parents to walk around the room and talk to the residents. Such as encouraging the children to pack away the instruments and playing a musical card game.

Floor Plan Magic

Make the space work for you. Residents are not always mobile, so before the class starts position chairs in a circle. This also acts as a grid for the children not to venture out of! I always ask the parents to sit on the floor to complete a full circle. By doing this the children will be more inclined to participate because Mummy or Daddy are going to play as well.

Music Teacher is paramount.

The Music Teacher is key to having a successful class, they act as the facilitator and moves around the room learning everyones name. A great music teacher can command the attention from their students by using their voice and understanding the limitations of their music class participants so to introduce games and activities that will encourage participation. They should also have a strong musical understanding as be able to turn every experience into a learning experience.

If you found this useful please share

Happy Music Making Lola


Rhythm Rumble’s Intergenerational music class

I have a 19 month old, who is a cutie patootie and is now at the age when you begin wanting to start activities with them. So in an effort to scratch my own itch , we have started Intergenerational music classes at BlueCross Aged Care, Melbourne conveniently located 3 min drive from my home!

But seriously I was so super excited about the baby music class it will be bringing generations together and connecting people thought music, which is the absolute equaliser.

Haven’t you noticed when you go to a wedding and you know about a 1/4 of the people (if you’re lucky!) and as soon as the band opens up the dance floor, everyone is up and dancing regardless of age, gender, strangers and family all connected by the music.

The requirements of this particular Rhythm Rumble baby and toddler music class was is was multi aged and needed to be super interactive for adults and children.

I rock up with little Z and there are already elderly ladies sitting in the chairs that had been arranged in a circle, some mums on the floor with their children. The age ranged from 8 month to 3 years old. Mr Z thought he was running the show and paraded around the circle smiling to the ladies. My heart was already pumped with joy.

My very talented teacher Virginia did an amazing job, catering to the needs of the children first by singing a nursery rhyme using a puppet and effortlessly moving into a shaking song with egg shakers. The children who could walk, loved the idea of handing out the instrument’s to a “friend” and helping pack away again.

But what I loved the most was the little moments in-between the songs and activities when one old lady, Joyce told me with tears in her eye she has twin great granddaughters up in Queensland. She hasn’t met them yet, only seen photos and this experience has made her feel nostalgic. Another resident had pure joy in her voice when she claimed ” I haven’t seen so many babies in one room in almost forever”

To say I had a wonderful time would be an understatement, the residents and parents made this music class so special, that I cant wait for Fridays.

Happy Music Making

Lola

To find out more about Rhythm Rumble’s classes please visit. https://www.rhythmrumble.com.au/


New Year, New Lesson Plan

Summer holidays are almost at an end, I’m actually writing this while its 44 degrees outside, so I am definitely looking forward to Summer ceasing. Bring back the cool wintery winds!

What this also means is Schools back and at Rhythm Rumble H.Q. I am revising our lessons for the year ahead. We don’t repeat the same lessons every year as it can get tiresome to teach and also tiresome to hear the same songs over and over again for our Educators. Also new trends happen (Anyone heard of Baby Shark??) and new inspirations occur and if we are trying to inspire children to live music everyday, maybe we should be living that mantra and be inspired ourselves. a music program for toddlers and babies needs to be innovative to maintain interest.

The first lesson for the year for our 2-5 year olds is based on the Food theme. There is so many awesome, funny songs based on food, just look at a The Wiggles album and you’ll see food themed songs in abundance. But what I am really looking at with our lesson plans is what musical focus are we teaching?

Taking into consideration that it is the first lesson of the year I take it back to basics and teach the easiest of musical comprehension. Loud and soft or as we like to say here at Rhythm Rumble Forte or Piano. Children already understand this concept – usually opting for the loud option, so during our music classes it can be fun to explore loud and soft and watch them over exaggerate each dynamic.

Here are some of the songs that we are teaching in our Food theme

POP

You put the oil in the pot and you let it get hot 

You put the popcorn in and you start to grin. 

Sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, sizzle POP! 

We start the poem in a crouched position and sing softly, knees bent, hands on the floor. When we start to “sizzle” we s-l-o-w-l-y rise and increase dynamics until the final POP! when we jump up in the air.

Five Gat Sausages

Instrument: Tambourine

While singing the song, we can shake a tambourine and on the word (BANG) bang the tambourine

Five fat sausages sizzling in a pan

All of a sudden one went BANG!( bang an instrument)

Four fat sausages sizzling in a pan

All of sudden one went BANG

3 fat sausages sizzling in a pan

All of a sudden one went BANG!

2 fat sausages sizzling in a pan 

All of a sudden one went BANG!

One fat sausage sizzling in a pan

All of a sudden one went BANG

Banana Song – Stomp

Peel bananas, peel peel bananas

Peel bananas, peel peel bananas

Chop bananas, chop chop bananas

Chop bananas, chop chop bananas

Mash bananas, mash mash bananas

Mash bananas, mash mash bananas

Stir bananas, stir stir bananas

Stir bananas, stir stir bananas

Shake bananas, shake shake bananas

Shake bananas, shake shake bananas

Eat bananas, eat eat bananas

Eat bananas, eat eat bananas and

GO BANANAS, GO GO BANANAS – Sing loudly

GO BANANAS, GO GO BANANAS

Looking forward to starting the year and meeting our little students in 2019

Happy music making

Lola



How to teach Kinder children Call & Response

I truly feel joy and pride today after teaching music to a kinder class to sing in a call and response technique.  Normally the children watch and imitate me, so when I sing they sing, and when I don’t sing, there is crickets.

The complexity of call and response for  a group of 4-5 year olds is a skill we have been working towards all year.  An easier option to expose children to would be an Echo song, where they repeat everything you sing.  This is particularly great for toddler music classes, but by the age of Kindergarteners I have seen incredible skills at understanding and actioning the “Call & response” technique.

We always start the year with learning how to play and rest.   Children in this age group of 3-5 years old love to make sounds and are not necessarily concerning themselves with making a coherent  sequence of sounds.  So at Rhythm Rumble we always start with games geared at encouraging children to “rest” or stop

Over the course of the year we start developing their understanding of the different elements that make music, such as tempo, dynamics, keeping a beat, singing in tune and understanding musical form.  We do this by actively engaging children in various musical games and activities geared towards their developmental capacity.

And it all comes down to this collaboration at the end of the year.

The song we chose this year is called Shoo Lie Loo and it is a very simple song

The teacher sings the call, for example: “Just from the kitchen” and the children respond with ” Shoo Lie Loo” . But to make it more interesting they also have to shake an egg shaker while singing Shoo Lie Loo and then rest while the teacher sings their part.

As usual with this age group repetition is important and we have been learning this song for 5 weeks now, and today it worked a treat.  The children sang their response on time, in tune and shook their egg shakers in unison.

Super proud of my group, and by all accounts all the Rhythm Rumble teachers are feeling like its been a great way to end the year.

Happy Music Making

Lola

 


Kids calming down exercises

During Rhythm Rumble’s music classes they can get pretty hyped up.  Depending on the group you are teaching I have worked out different techniques and stratiegie’s to calm down the class before we leave.

Nothing worse than having a preschool music program come into your childcare that leaves the children hyped up and energised and difficult to transition into the next activity.

So in the interest of Educators and the children I have devised several calming down activities that are simple and effective.

I “inherited” a class that 2 previous teachers were having difficulty handling, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.  There were some very dominant personalities in the class and also very intelligent so boredom was definitely an issue.

During the class there was much chatter going on while I was introducing the next activity and I thought how am I going to get their attention.

So I sang “Eyes on Lola” in a fairly high pitch but not loud.  Some of the children stopped and looked at me.  I consider 75% of the class is paying attention so I continued and said When I sing “Eyes on Lola” you can respond back with “Eyes on Us” and you have to look at my eyes and I will look at all of your eyes.

So we did it again, I sang “Eyes on Lola”‘ and they responded with “Eyes on Us”

Now every time the chitter chatter becomes too much I sing this simple tune and they automatically respond their part.

Criss Cross Applesauce

I have adapted this from a yoga video I saw, and since I know nothing of yoga I thought I would sing a song along with the pose.  This works especially well after a very energetic activity and transitions the children into a different state of calm.

Cross your legs
Ask the children to find their heart
then ask them to rub their tummy
Stretching left arm over body and alternating the right hand over body move
your body move in a swaying motion while singing
“Criss Cross Applesauce” repeatedly (5-6 times)
then in a soft voice say
“Everyone find your heart and take a big breathe in
now breathe out and rub your tummy”
repeat if there is still a lot of movement from the children.
Tapping

This strategy takes patience and trust.  If the children are not paying attention, instead of speaking louder or removing children from the group try this.

Sitting very still start tapping your knees.  There will always be a few children watching you.  Once they start copying you, change the body part for example start tapping your head, and keep changing once you have everybody’s attention.  Then you can give your instruction in a calm voice.  It is most effective if you DO NOT speak while doing the tapping.

Hope these exercises help in managing your preschool class.

Happy music making

Lola


How to teach babies, toddlers and Kinder to sing in tune

Music class

A group of 3-4 year olds during a Rhythm Rumble music class

 

You know when you hear your favourite song on the radio and you pump up the volume and you sing along and you think to yourself  “Man, I killed it” and think your the next Beyonce.   But when you try to sing it again without the music as backup you realise how terrible you actually sound.  Well, this is exactly what happens when a teacher does all the singing in a music class.  The children “hide” behind the teachers voice and are not hearing their own voice in their head and can not alter it to sing in tune.  The result is they sing flat.  Which is such a shame because research that babies are born with perfect pitch.

During my training and experience working with toddlers, teaching children to sing is trickier than you can imagine.  The key is to have the children sing back to you without adult interference.  Ha! I hear you say, every time you stop singing, they stop.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you in your music class.

  1.  Repetition is the key

During Rhythm Rumble classes we don’t overkill the repetition, except for simple action songs and the hello song.  What I have noticed is when children have heard the same song over and over again they start to join in the music making.  Over the course of a few months the music teacher can start encouraging the children to sing while the teacher does the actions. Hence eliminating the teachers voice and letting the children hear themselves.

2.  Slide whistle or props 

I have started a new game at the beginning of our music classes and the kids absolutely love it.  I have a slide whistle and all the children have to hold their pretend slide whistle which they can control with their hand by going up and down.  I make a sound with the whistle and the children have to imitate the sound using their voices.  This is a great voice warm up and has the children use their vocal chords like they never had.

I have seen other music teachers hold “pretend microphone” and go around the room have children sing into the microphone as well.

3.  Solfege singing

Solfege singing is when your hand hold certain positions when singing different pitches.  If you aren’t schooled in the solfege hand movements thats OK.  At Rhythm Rumble we use the entire body for pitch recognition and have the children play a copy cat game.  The teacher sings a combination of notes while touching different parts of the body ie. feet (Do) Knees (Re) and the children copy and sing the notes.  The children always get really involved in these sorts of activities.

4.  Baby music classes

At our baby music class, teaching singing is done differently.  Instead of the child singing, the teacher or primary care does all the singing.  Singing to baby and making eye contact has shown to have so many neurological benefits that the maternal health nurse needs to have “singing” on her check list along with tummy time and reading to baby.  The big lesson here is sing, sing, sing.  I remember when my daughter was a baby the only song that would get her to sleep was “The way we were” by Barbara Striesand.  I’m not necessarily comparing myself to Barbara, but, um the proof is in the pudding wouldn’t you say! She did go to sleep from my singing.

Anyway, another way to have babies recognise different pitches is to imitate their sound making, such as aaahhs and goo and watch the babies delight in their communicating.

Music is suppose to be fun and joyful, so please don’t take yourself too seriously when you sing with children, they are never judging you!  They are just happy you’re singing with them.

 

Enjoy, Lola


3 Teddy Bear songs for children

Teddy Bear theme is almost upon us here at Rhythm Rumble and I like to update my lessons every year, so it has been a whole week of researching the best Teddy Bear songs which have a musical focus.  I know. Fun, right?

The teddy bear theme lends itself to teaching pitch, using “Goldilocks and the three Bears” story as you can easily explain to young children the different voices of the Three Bears.   Papa, Mama and Wee baby bear and how they sound different from a pitch perspective.  Children love doing the Baby voice, ironically! It makes them laugh. it make me laugh too as they have the highest voices of all.

So my latest lesson has included some great teddy bear songs that explore pitch.

Although the first song is not about Teddy Bears I intentionally sing a well known song to encourage the children to sing along with me, and preferably an action song so the quiet introverted children aren’t self conscience about singing in public.  For this example I have used “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” An old classic!

I always start the song by demonstrating the Bears voices and asking the children to echo me, for example Can you say “Hello” in Papa bears voice?  Show me.

Once we have done all three voices we begin singing, and here it is below:

Song: Heads shoulders knees and toes

Lyrics

Sing the song 3 times

First like Daddy bear (low voice)

Sing like Mama Bear  (medium voice)

Sing like baby bear  (high voice)

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears, and mouth,
And nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

The next song is a major commitment from the teacher it incorporates story telling with music.  There is an element of participation from the children when they chime in with the different voices of the three bears

Such as Papa bear says “Ugh Ugh” in a Bass voice

Mama bear says “Woo Woo”  in an alto voice

And Wee Baby bear says “Yeah” in a falsetto or soprano voice.  Have a go it is actually very cool and the children will be captivated.

Song: 3 bear rap song

There once was a house in the middle of the woods

Where the 3 bears lived

Yeah Yeah
One was the Papa bear (sing in a deep register BASS)

One was the   Mama  bear (sing ALTO)

Once was the  wee bear. (sing falsetto or soprano)

Yeah yeah
along came a girl with long, golden curls.

She knocked on the door but no one was there

She walked right in and had a ball, she didn’t care

Yeah Yeah

Home Home Home came the Papa bear (papa bears voice)

Home Home Home came the Mama bear  (mama bears voice)

Home home home came the wee bear (sing in baby bears voice)

“Who’s  been eating my porridge,” said the Papa bear,  UGH UGH (papa bear voice)
“Who’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear, Woo Woo (mama bears voice)
“Hey, Mama Three Bear, don’t forget the wee bear”,
“Somebody’s broken my chair.”

YEAH !! (baby bears voice)

“Whose been sitting in my chair,” said the Papa bear, UGH UGH.
“Whose  been sitting in my chair,” said the Mama bear, WOO WOO
“Hey, Mama Three Bear, don’t forget the wee bear”,
“Somebody’s broken my chair.”

YEAH !!

“Whose been sleeping in my bed,” said the Papa bear, UGH UGH
“Whose been sleeping in my bed,” said the Mama bear, WOO WOO.
“Hey, Mama Three Bear, don’t forget the wee bear”
“Somebody’s broken my chair.”

YEAH!!

Goldilocks woke up and broke up the party.
“Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye,” said the Papa bear, UGH UGH
(wave hand)
“Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, ” said the Mama bear, WOO WOO
(wave other hand)
“Hey, Mama Three Bear, don’t forget the wee bear”,
“Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye.”

(wave both hands)

YEAH!!

This is a great echo song for young children, for the purposes of teaching pitch the teacher can alter the pitch of the “Hoo Hoo” for the children to echo back the correct pitch.  Remember children learn to sing in tune when they can aurally learn the pitch and sing it back.  Make sure you don’t sing the echo part as the childrens voices will hide behind your own voice and defeats the whole purpose.

Song: Theres a big bear living on a big high hill

Sticks and tap a beat

Theres a big bear living on a big high hill I wonder who it can be

There a big bear living on a big high hill who always answers me

Hoo Hoo (hoo Hoo)

Hoo Hoo (hoo Hoo)

 I wonder who it can be

Repeat singing in different registers and different dynamics

You can watch how it is sung HERE

Well I hope you can use these ideas in your classroom.  Happy Music making

Cheers. Lola