Currently during our RHYTHM RUMBLE music class we are using the theme of Jungle to create our musical learning focus. The theme is a great one for imitating animals and an easy subject matter for young children to connect with.
We have been working all year on developing Childrens understanding of tempo, timbre, dynamics, and pitch so as the end of the year is nearing, our lessons are a culmination of all these elements. Our main learning outcome is music appreciation and understanding the differences in tempo, dynamics, and intervals.
Music appreciation looks deeper into the logistics of music making and takes a step further, such as emotional comprehension and how to interpret the sounds with your body and heart.
During this particular lesson we are using 3 pieces to create this understanding
Using a scarf it is always best to tell a story for the children to ignite their imagination.
Prior to handing out our scarves I play about 30 secs of the music and ask the children to listen very carefully. Then I asked them if it a slow song or fast? Loud or soft? I always paint a picture with words of a jungle with a big elephant and his trunk. Lets use the scarf as a trunk. Can you show me how you would walk like an elephant? and then I replay the music. This activity works only if there is an opposing piece of music to compare their body movement to which is Ma mère l’oye, for piano, 4 hands (or orchestra), M. 60 – Ravel
In stark contrast to moving like an elephant, the next piece of music is more serene and flowing. Again I create a story of a snake slithering through the long grass. The children listen to the music and change the way they interpret the music and move their body in line with what they hear. It is truly magical being a part of the creative process of Children.
has a very distinct motif flowing through the piece. This activity is aimed at our Kinders. They sit in a circle and every time they hear the motif they tap their knees and sing the cuckoo sound. We are working on listening and tapping for a few weeks, and then working up to walking around the room as a cuckoo bird and pausing to sing the motif “cuckoo” sound. So far it has been working brilliantly as the children sing the interval in perfect pitch and are so in the moment while listening for the cuckoo sound. I guess this could also be used a a mindfulness activity for the strength it has in keeping the children in the present moment has been astounding to me while I witness it.
Teaching young children how to interpret different kinds of music leads to a greater understanding of creativity. Moving in different ways eg. stomping and slithering like a snake has wonderful affects on their motors skills and creates a greater appreciation and understanding of music.
EYLF Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators – Children engage in a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts.
EYLF Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity – Children feel safe secure and supported.
Happy music making
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.
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
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.
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!
Another Maori song about a little rabbit.
Oma Oma Oma
Oma Rapeti Oma Rapeti
Oma Oma Oma
Piko, piko, piko, piko,
piko, piko, piko
Toro, toro, toro, toro,
Toro, toro, 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
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
Over the past 6 years of developing Rhythm Rumble I have had the opportunity to pick the brains of every Early Learning Educator I have had the pleasure of dealing with and here are the main reasons how/why they choose a Music Program.
Childcare Educator’s have a backlog of nursery rhymes, finger play and funny kids songs up their sleeves. Their main concern when hiring a music program is they will hear the same songs they already know. Educators want to learn and be inspired by new ideas. They need a music program to be innovative and teach musical elements beyond their own capabilities.
At Rhythm Rumble we are constantly researching new songs and music from around the world to teach children and Educators. Educators are able to extend on the new material and be inspired to try new songs and activities.
Secondly the Music teacher is paramount to the music program. If the teacher isn’t charismatic, energetic and great with children the children do not respond and consequently do not learn. An important element to understand though is the energy in the room needs to match the age group of the children. Such as when visiting the Babies Room the babies will not connect well to a teacher with high energy and a loud voice as compared to the kinder groups. The Rhythm Rumble training is second to none, besides training the curriculum we also gain feedback from Educators and Children by sending the teacher out on free training classes specifically for that purpose and most importantly we listen to the feedback and work on a personal level to improve our approach, our musicality and techniques.
From the feedback we have gathered over the years we have learnt that repetition is paramount to young children’s learning, though it is a fine line between repeating a lesson to consolidate the childrens learning to boring the willies out of them. Haven’t you noticed how children can watch the same movie everyday for 3 months and exhibit the same amount of enthusiasm EVERYTIME and then in a blink of an eye they won’t have a bar of it. At Rhythm Rumble we repeat each lesson for 3 weeks and move on to a different theme with new songs, games and learning outcomes. Singing the same songs for a whole year is taking the idea of repetition to a whole new level and really not necessary.
If you’re in the market for a new music program at your Early Learning Centre always ask for a trial class so that you can experience the music class and watch how your children respond. Hope these tidbits of information will help you.
Happy music making,
Tomorrow I am conducting my first class after having my 3rd baby
He is only 3 months old, so it hasn’t been a longtime since teaching but feels forever. I stopped teaching in early June. I feel as though I have changed so much in these last 3 months. Personally speaking my father who I treasured and loved passed away after a long battle with cancer. So when I stopped teaching I wasn’t really relaxing waiting for our new arrival I was travelling to the hospital daily and trying to support my dad with his swift decline.
My mind was far from preparing to have a baby and certainly far from my music classes. The things that brought me joy were put on hold while I started my grieving process. Dad passed away on the 1st July and my little baby Zayne was born 4 days later on the 5th July.
My father was an accomplished musician and song writer and listening to his music has given me solace as I hear him sing and play his bouzouki. I just want to hear his voice sometimes, this has made me cry at the beginning, but now makes me smile. Dad also promised me his bouzouki which I am so very grateful I have and is sitting proudly in my music room.
So tomorrow I am teaching a music class, interestingly enough it is at a Rehab centre which the residents have their children stay with them and I feel like I haven’t taught in “forever” when the reality is it is only 4 months.
I feel altered by these recent events the oldest man i loved and the newest man I love today have changed who I am and I wonder how I will translate that into my music class. I’m excited to go, I miss teaching. It is a guilty self indulgence as I receive more from teaching music than my students do from learning.
I will be singing one of my own songs which my father helped me transpose. The purpose of the song is to teach singing in a Major scale. I have included it below:
Song: Going To The Moon (sitting on floor tap your knees) Get in the spaceship we’re going to the moon, going to the moon, going to the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 Blast off (jump up) (sing in Major scale) touch Toes (8), knees(7), hips(6), tummy(5), shoulder(4), head(3) house(2), crouch down(1), Blast Off (stretch arms out and fly around the room) Get in the spaceship we’re flying to the moon, flying to the moon, flying to the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast off (walk a slow moon walk) Get out off the spaceship, we’re walking on the moon, walking on the moon, walking on the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast Off (crouch back down to the floor and pretend to be asleep) Get into the spaceship we’re going back home, going back home, going back home Where are we going? We’re going back home going back home going back home
Thanks for listening, and I hope you like the song there is a lot of learning in this piece, such as the movement and physical touch for each step of the major scale, singing and is a lot of fun.
I have a new baby boy. YAY! He’s beautiful and enchanting and whadaya know he loves it when I sing to him. He’s 2 months old now and when he likes something he smiles and one of the best ways to make him smile is to sing.
The most common repertoire for babies are lullabies and here are my top 5.
A beautiful Aboriginal lullaby sung about shooing away a goanna. When i have sung this song in my classes children of all ages are mesmerised by it and it is certainly a lulling kind of song perfect to soothe any crying baby.
Ay ay ay oola
Oola Oola Oola Ay
Yippee Ay Yippe Ay
Gowanna Gowanna Gowanna
Goowanna Gowanna Gowaana
Ah Kounelaki – Greek Song
My father sang this song to me as a child and although it isn’t a lullaby it tells a story of a cheeky rabbit digging holes in the garden and now I find myself singing it to my little boy. Traditional songs from your childhood are a beautiful way to pass your memories and culture to your children.
Ah Kounelaki Koynelaki < Rabbit>
Xylo pou tha to phas < I’ll give you a little tap>
Mesa se xeno perivoulaki < if you come to my garden?
Tripes yiati tripas < whhy do you dig holes>
Min mou serfronis ti mitoula < you screw up your nose>
Min mou kounas t’aftia < pull your ears>
Min mou klinis to mataki < and squint your eyes>
Ise san zografia < you’re as cute as a photograph>
Good Night Sleep Tight
I wrote this little lullaby when I was a child myself, and now sing it to my children and they love it.
You’re a wonderful baby
Good night, sleep tight
have some happy happy dreams
Good night, sleep tight
you’re a wonderful baby
Sleep tight. Tonight
Big Yellow Moon
This is more of a poem, but children love positive thoughts before bedtime and encourages peaceful happy thoughts before sleep time.
Big yellow moon shines so bright, (Arms above head in circle shape.)
Glides across the starry night, (Arms move from left to right.)
Looks down at me (Hand shades eyes.)
Asleep in bed, (Hands together at side of face.)
Whispers, “Good night, sleepyhead.” (Forefinger in front of mouth.)
Big yellow moon, your turn is done. (Arms above head move down in front of body.)
Here comes Mr. Morning Sun. (Arms move above head in circle shape.)
I wake up. (Arms stretch out.)
You go to bed. (Hands together at side of face.)
“Goodnight, Moon, you sleepyhead.” (Forefinger in front of mouth.)
Rock a bye baby
its a classic so thought i’d include it sits also a winner when singing and rocking your baby to sleep.
Rock a bye baby on the treetops
when the wind blows the cradle will rock
when the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
I have had the opportunity to teach a class of kinder students that has been challenging, and when I say challenging it is one of those experiences that when I finish the class and sit back in the car I have to take a deep breathe.
Please don’t get me wrong I enjoy the class, but feel I am failing this group of 4 year olds
When I was first introduced to them I was advised “we have 3 students with autism in the class” which I had worked out as the class progressed, but that same old chestnut arose that the children without autism were following in their shoes and the class became rowdy and difficult to manage very easily.
As the weeks have moved on I have developed relationships with the children, but the quiet children remain unheard and the extroverted children are my main focus and of course I remember their names first. Which is why I feel I have failed the group because the children who are quiet and introverted, ready to learn are sitting patiently for our next music activity and the disruptive children are gaining more and more of my attention.
So over the last month I thought I would test a theory of mine and it worked!
I found the more challenging and difficult I made the game the more engaged and attentive the students became. I am so intrigued by this and believe that we undermine children’s capabilities sometimes.
What I did:
Song: Charlie Over The Ocean.
In order to make this activity intriguing to the group I had them sing and play an instrument in unison following my directions. “Charlie over the Ocean” is an echo song so it is easy to repeat the lines. The next instruction was to tap wooden claves together and then tap the floor as a rhythm. The first week some children were refusing to accept the instrument so I moved on to the next child. When the song started and the children that were participating started concentrating on the rhythm and singing the other children noticed that the music activity was the most interesting “thing” in the room.
The following week all children participated. All eyes were on me as they sang the lines and repeated the rhythm.
The third week I didn’t play the recording, instead I told them they had to use their listening ears because I was going to try to trick them! little giggles and oohs and aahs from all the children. I was going to sing the song and they were going to repeat it.
In the original recording the song repeated the same line: Charlie caught a Big Fish
When we sung it ourselves we got to make up the lines
For example: Charlie caught a Black Bird
Charlie caught an Apple Pie
Charlie caught a Caterpillar
Last week I went to the class, they were all sitting in a circle waiting for me to start. As I walked around the circle offering the instruments a couple of the introverted children stopped me to talk and ask a question. The class continued and I noticed the quiet children were opening up more and more. They had found their voice within the class!
I feel like now I’m making progress with this group of 4 year olds and hopefully music will be a central motivator in their life because they have become engaged and this experience has put all the children on the same playing field with everyone getting a piece of the attention pie.
We had moved onto a new lesson but there were requests for Charlie Over the Ocean, which I promised to do this week.
I would like to add that the Educators in this class do an amazing job and not inferring this positivity is all due to my 30 minute a week music class (just my observations how my music class has progressed)
I am so looking forward to watching how this group develop and grow and glad to be a part of it all.
I have a link below for the song if you are interested in hearing it Charlie Over The Ocean
Enjoy Your Day