Singing the major scale for children

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.

 

Cheers Lola

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3 Ideas to keep the beat

I attended my childrens school concert a few nights ago, which was very entertaining and adorable.  Each grade got to perform a dance and was very creative.  But the music teacher in me noticed how many children couldn’t find the beat and missed their cue with the dance steps.

To keep the beat, seems such an easy thing to do but really it is a skill that needs to be ingrained from an early age.  Here are some ideas and songs that may help you help your child.

Tideo

This song encourages the child to pass to the child next to them.  During Rhythm Rumble music class we pass the tambourine on the appropriate beat and removes the randomness of passing the tambourine and makes it intentional.

Tideo, Tideo

jingle at the window Tideo

pass one window Tideo

jingle at the window Tideo

Pass two window Tideo

Repeat(pass the tambourine on Pass one window phrase

Chi baba – The Wiggles

We use this cute song and sing the chorus and

Pass the ball to each child for them to feel the beat while singing the song

eventually it progresses to children passing the ball uninitiated

Chi baba chi baba chi baba

enchilada goomba lagoomba

Chi baba chi baba chi baba 

my bambino go to sleep.

I’m a nut

We sing this song using rhythm sticks and tap to the beat and rest.  You can watch me sing this song I’m a Nut

I’m an acorn small and round

lying on the cold, cold ground

please pass and step on me

thats why I’m all cracked up you see

I’m a nut (repeat 3 times)

Singing and tapping or singing and walking helps establish a strong beat keeping in young children, try singing these songs and watch your children step to the beat.

Cheers Lola


Lullabies – Music for Baby

 

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.

Inanay:

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.

Inanay Gupawana

Inanay Gupawana

Ay ay ay oola

Oola Oola Oola Ay

Yippee Ay Yippe Ay

Gowanna Gowanna Gowanna

Choo

Goowanna Gowanna Gowaana

Choo

watch me sing Inanay here

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>

Watch here

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.

Good Night

Sleep tight

You’re a wonderful baby

Good night, sleep tight

have some happy happy dreams

Good night, sleep tight

you’re a wonderful baby

Good night

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.

 

Enjoy

 

 


Benefits of a Music Education

Music Education for children is paramount and essential.  Learning Music has many benefits.  Studies have shown children who participate in a structured music class do better at:

  • children’s language development
  • literacy
  • maths and problem solving
  • Social skills

Incorporating music in your childs life from infancy gives your child a head start to a fulfilling life. This can be done by singing lullabies and finger play.  As your child grows the types of music games can change to action songs and using percussive instruments to tap out beat and rhythms.

Learning music in a structured classroom uses both sides of the brain and forms connections to both sides of the brain, this aids in problem solving and language (reading and comprehension), as opposed to listening to music passively on the radio or iPod.

I have only touched on a few of the benefits of incorporating a music education to your child’s life, there are plenty of positive outcomes and some as simple as creating joy!  there are certainly no negatives to music.

If you want your child to do well in maths, science and reading start with music.  It seems crazy that music as a subject is being cut from Primary schools for lack of funding and more money put into literacy programs when music is the answer.  Knowing all this information, how could you not include music as part of your child’s education?

 


How To Teach 3 Year Olds Music

Music Classes have begun 2 weeks ago, and it has been a a great start to the year. Firstly I have hired another teacher so she has been attending all the classes with me which has been a massive help, as my belly is growing and its getting harder and harder to lift myself off the floor with any gracefulness.

We have been teaching the children about Rest & Play  and Fast and Slow and what a great way to teach children these lessons by using Trains, Planes and Car as the theme.

I had so many ideas for this theme it was easy to get carried away with, so I have narrowed it down and produced a lesson plan for 2-3 year olds, with a learning focus of teaching:  Rest & Play and Presto & Lento

To start the lesson and to get the children singing it is always helpful to use a familiar song such as:  The Wheels on The Bus

To teach children the difference in tempo, we sing “The Wheels on The Bus” in walking speed (Andante).  Then I ask the children to move their wheels slowly (lento) and start to sing in a slow tempo.  The focus the children have on their faces is so intense and can tell they are working really hard at keeping the slow tempo going.  We repeat the same verse, but now we are moving our wheels very fast and singing fast as well.  There are always giggles at this point.

A freeze song is a great way to teach Rest & Play, but I find they are always High Energy songs and not the best formula for conducting a calm and focussed music lesson for 2-3 year olds! Until I came across Lisa Loeb’s “Stop and Go” from her Album Catch The Moon.

You can check out her Album here it is worth a listen to

Next, we move to the parachute, where I demonstrate how to shake the parachute presto (fast)and Lento (slow) and rest(pull the parachute towards yourself).  The songs I sing are:

If You’re Happy And You Know It

If you’re happy and you know it, shake Presto

If your happy and you know it shake presto

if you’re happy and you know it and you really ought to show it shake presto

If you’re happy and you know it shake Lento

If you’re happy and you know it shake Lento

IF you’re happy and you know it than you really ought to show it 

If you’re happy and you know it shake lento

If you’re happy and you know it take a rest

If you’re happy and you know it take a rest

If you’re happy and you know it then you really ought to show it

if you’re happy and you know it take a rest.

And

Row Boat Row Boat

Row boat row boat go so slow (shake parachute slowly)

Row boat row boat go so fast (speed up the shaking)

Row boat row boat the waves are getting worse (shake the parachute fast)

row boat row boat pull it in reverse (pull the parachute towards yourself)

The children’s reaction to this lesson has been engaged and focussed, a mix of giggles and most importantly they have been educated in the difference in rest and play as well as understanding the difference of fast and slow while using the correct music terminology.

Hope you enjoy

Lola


The Power is in our hands

 

As a music teacher I have been thinking of lots of different ways to influence and inspire adults to include music education in their children’s lives.  I mean children naturally love music, but as those children grow into adults the participation rate declines, and adults are more self conscious about singing or the realisation of learning an instrument is actually hard work deters them from learning!

Eventually they don’t include music in their lives, which would be fine but these people have children and then these children don’t get the richness of a musical childhood/life.  I know, I know I’m making it sound very dire but there is research that supports singing to children improves their ability to sing in tune and this has to be done in the first 7 years of their life!  So there is only a small window of opportunity to increase children’s musicality  to its full potential.  Not to say you can’t be musical if you start later in life but your ability to sing in tune is hindered.  OMG! now you see why I’m freaking out.

So as a music teacher what do I do to encourage parents and adults in general to include music in their children’s lives.  Well the most obvious solution is to run dynamic engaging music classes that encourage parents to bring there children every week!

In this day and age lots of children attend Childcare centres, so I took the route of engaging the children through the centre and delivering an awesome music program, which has been an effective way to teach children.  But if you know children, they keep the details of their day pretty secret from Mum and Dad, so it hasn’t ticked the criteria of influencing and inspiring parents for a music education.

So my next solution was to write a children’s story which parents could read to their children but sneakily include a music education within.  Everyone loves books.  I love books, so do my children.  My little tale “Melody Goes To The Spring Fair” encourages the parent and child to clap and tap their way through the story, and to make it all about children, my 8 year old daughter illustrated the book too.

As I’m writing this, there is a news report on the ABC news which is  talking about how music is helping troubled homeless children and giving these children direction and is a light at the end of the tunnel for them.

The power of music is in our hands to pass on to children.  Why is music so important?  well that is probably a question for another Blog post because it deserves all the attention it can receive.

 

Cheers Lola

If you would like a listen to my story you can hear it here:  Melody Goes To The Spring Fair Book ReadingIMG_0249

 

 


The Magic of Music

 

Lately I have been paying particular attention to the effect or affect my music lessons are having on the children that participate in my program.

Recently I attended a Childcare centre and in the group of children aged 18 months to 2 years there is a child who has  special needs.  He regularly attends the class and sits on the carers lap and we sing and pass shaking instruments to him, while the other children giggle or sing along.

But on this particular occasion I sang a beautiful Aboriginal Lullaby called “Inanay” ( if you haven’t heard it before you must! it is truly beautiful and epitomises what children’s music should be.)  Anyway I started to sing and in the corner of my eye I noticed the little boy started to move his body.  The Carer gasped a little, we locked eyes in unspoken wonder that the song had moved this child to react.

I had been attending the Child care Centre for 6 months and he would sit quietly and listen, but today was different it was as though he was attempting to clap along.

The Magic of Music.

Today I conducted a class for a group of babies and while I was waiting for the children to finish their afternoon snack I got to coo at the babies that were waiting on the mat.  I rarely get that opportunity “to play”with the babies because I have to move on to other classes waiting for me, but today they were running behind schedule so I took advantage of the opportunity to play peak- a – boo.  One baby boy started to cry, and instinctively I sung a Greek baby clapping song Palamakia.  His reaction was immediate and began to giggle and smile.

The Magic of Music.

How many times have I played music on my iPod for the Kinder room, and the energy is electric, the children are energised and like a puppeteer pulling the strings, I change the energy in a heartbeat and  sing a song with the children’s eyes watching me intently following my actions and words, they are transfixed for that moment in time.  The music has taken the lead and directed there energy to another place.

The Magic of Music.

So many studies are done about the benefits of music, which there are many.  But some elements can not be measured but only witnessed and felt, and that is called the Magic of Music.

I fortunately witness this on a daily basis and can not fathom a life without music.  It is passed down from generation to generation.  Music feeds the soul, fuels the celebrations and is uniquely human.

So in the spirit of passing down music, I pass these 2 children’s song to you.  The Lyrics for both of the songs mentioned are below:

Inanay:
Inanay Gupa wana
Inanay Gupa wana
Ay Ay Ay Oola
Oola Oola Oala Ay
Yippee Yay, Yippee Yay
Goo wanna Goo wanna
Goo wanna Goo wanna
Goo wah - Choo


Palamakia (Lola's Version)
Palamakia peksete
Ke o babas too erhete
Ke too ferni katiti
Kooloorakia sto kharti

Cheers

Lola