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

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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


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

 


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

 

 


Music Soothes

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

Cheers

Enjoy Your Day

Lola

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