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

 

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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


Summer Songs for Kids

When I started this blog it was 42 degrees outside, so it is pretty safe to say we are having a hot Summer.  It has inspired me to write about some summer songs we sing in our classes.

5 little shells is a cute counting song, with a familiar tune, we use tambourines for this song, but can be equally as fun by using your hands in a cupped motion or 5 fingers for the count down.

Song: 5 little shells

5 little shells lying on the shore

crash went the waves and then there were 4

4 little shells down by the sea

crash went the waves and then there were 3

3 little shells smooth as new

crash went the waves and then there were 2

2 little shells sparkling in the sun

crash went the waves and then there were 1

1 little shell left by itself

I took it home and put it on my shelf

The next song, my 10 year old and myself wrote this song.  It has good solid musical learning focus for young students.  The children have to rest while you sing the first 2 lines and then shake tambourine or parachute.  On the word CRASH you can either tap the tambourine or life the parachute

Sung to the tune ofThe farmer in the dell tune

Sandcastle Song:

Standing while holding the parachute

The sandcastle stands very still

The sandcastle stands very still

Until the waves come crashing down

CRASH

The sandcastle falls down the hill

You can watch me sing it Sandcastle Song

Preparing the Summer lesson plan has been so much fun, another great summer song is Mr Sun by Raffi, if you don’t know it I have included it here to watch Mr Sun.  A big hit in Canada, but not very well known here in Australia it has been an easy song to relate to with a very catchy melody.  I have been listening to my kiddies singing it around the house it has been so contagious.

An obvious choice which I have used in the past in Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons: Summer.  It can create conversation about how Summer feels and sounds.  We take advantage of free dance with scarves with this piece and leave the children to interpret their own movement and “just feel” the music themselves without adult direction.

Summer is all about revitalisation and it certainly has done that to me while preparing the Summer Lesson.  Now I have to go and teach it to our lucky little students.  Can’t wait

Lola

 

 

 

 

 


My 3 favourite songs to teach

In my opinion the best songs to teach music are always the fun songs.  Subtly teaching children how to sing melodies and using their voice as an instrument in fundamental in learning music.  When teaching preschoolers the nuances of pitch, rhythm, dynamics and pitch the easiest and most effective is songs with simple melodies and body movement.

My three favourite songs to teach children always bring a smile to childrens faces and most of the time the adults too!

Here are my 3 fav’s.

Paki Paki.

This is a Maori song and completely not in English and yet it is so so easy to learn.  I always start by showing the children all the different movements we are going to do and the corresponding word for that movement.

Paki Paki = Clap Clap

Kani Kani = dance

Huri huri = turn around

E Peke = jump

Hula = hula movement

Haka = haka movement

paki, paki, paki, paki tamariki ma
paki, paki, paki, paki tamariki ma

Kani, Kani, Kani, Kani tamariki ma
Kani, kani, kani, kani tamariki ma

Huri, huri, huri, huri tamariki ma
Huri, huri, huri, huri tamariki ma

E peke, e peke tamariki ma
E peke, e peke tamiriki ma

Hula, hula, hula, hula tamariki ma
Hula, hula, hula, hula tamiriki ma

E haka, E haka tamiriki ma
E haka, e haka tamiriki ma

Here is a link of me singing with my little kiddies, such a fun song!

Paki Paki

Oma Rapeti
Another Maori song about a little rabbit.
Oma Rapeti
Oma Rapeti
Oma Oma Oma
Oma Rapeti Oma Rapeti
Oma Oma Oma
Piko, piko, piko, piko,
piko, piko, piko
toro piko
Toro, toro, toro, toro,
Toro, toro, toro
Piko, toro

The hand actions can be seen in my youtube video
Heres the link for you to listen to Oma Rapeti

and my all time fav children’s song is Inanay, an Aboriginal lullaby.

Inanay Gupa wana (clap hands to the beat)
Inanay Gup wana
Ay ay ay oola
oola ay oola ay
Yippee yay yippee yay
Goo wanna Goo wanna (raise hands above head and clap semi quavers)
goo wanna goo wanna
goo wanna

Choo (spray fingers out towards child)

I have a link of me singing this song as well!
here it is Inanay

Theses 3 songs have all the elements of simple melodic tunes, repetition and easy hand and body actions for children to copy. I hope you enjoy singing them with your students

Happy Music making
Lola

 


Christmas songs for Kinder

Christmas is around the corner and I know that Childcare centres and Kinders are gearing up for their Christmas concerts to showcase to the parents what their children have been learning all year long.

Here are some of our favourites for end of year celebrations.

Ring Those Christmas bell
Instruments: Bells
Sung to the tune “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain”
(sing loudly)
We will ring those christmas bells so loud and clear
We will ring those christmas bells so loud and clear
We wil hear the dingle, dingle
when we jingle jingle jingle
We will ring those Christmas bells so loud and clear

(sing softly)
We will ring those Christmas bells so quietly
We will ring those Christmas bells so quietly
We will hear the dingle dingle
When we jingle jingle jingle
We will ring those Christmas bells so quietly

(Sing Fast)
We will ring those Christmas bells so fast and loud
We will ring those Christmas bells so fast and loud
We will hear the dingle dingle
When we jingle jingle jingle
We will ring those Christmas bells s fast and loud

Feliz Navidad
Instrument: eggs
Shake the eggs to the rhythm and rest
Feliz Navidad (rest)
Feliz Navidad (rest)
Feliz Navidad, prospero ano y felicidad
Feliz Navidad (rest)

I want to wish you a merry Christmas
I want to wish you a merry Christmas
I want to wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart
Repeat

Song: Little Drummer Boy

Teacher sings the call and the children sing the response ” Pa rum pa pum pum”

Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum
A new born king to see
Pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum
So to honor him
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come
Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum

This song is particularly impressive when the children chime in with their part. We have also incorporated Instruments for the Kinder age group and has worked beautifully.  Equally the children are impressed with themselves as they sing and make music and preform for their parents.

Christmas is also a great opportunity to showcase all the beautiful songs and musical games that have been sung throughout the year.  I have seen some great ideas over the years, I hope these 3 songs can make your “End of Year” celebrations special.

Happy Music Making

Lola