Release Your Inner (Singing) Voice

During my time at Rhythm Rumble I have spoken to a lot of adults about their lack of musical talent. It usually is expressed after they have been watching me conduct a music class and with a tinge of insecurity announce “I can’t sing, I don’t have a musical bone in my body!” But I am here to challenge that statement.

The early learning sector is quite knowledgable and passionate about musical education and there is an expectation that Educators incorporate music in their rooms everyday and what I’ve heard from educators is that they aren’t comfortable singing to the children especially if there are other adults around.

It is definitely a cultural challenge, as some cultures have music and dance so embedded in their culture that it is second nature to sing. I recall a moment I was waiting for a meeting and there was a young African woman holding her baby and she was singing to the baby in soft melodic voice. The child was calm and nestled into the mothers neck. It struck me that she wasn’t concerned about me, the stranger that was sitting near by and could hear her. I find the Australian culture doesn’t encourage this openness with singing, it is revered for those with special talents and not for the “common” person.

I also recall when I was a child and singing the National Anthem in the school assembly, I use to belt it out and was loving life when a friend mentioned I was making to much of a “big deal” about enjoying it. It subconsciously squashed the notion that I could sing, and went through the rest of my life singing in the car alone and never in public!

When we refer to parents singing to their children it is insinuated to be in your home as a lullaby, or to help them brush their teeth, not as a general way of life. So I completely empathise when Educators and parents comment after class that they aren’t musical and they can’t sing.

But the truth is we all have a voice and our hearts all beat a rhythm, we just have to pay attention and listen to it. I obviously had to get over the hurdle of singing in public when I started Rhythm Rumble because you can’t teach music to preschooler’s if you don’t sing!

I started with simple songs with a small range, like so many nursery rhymes that you already know. I recorded myself so I could listen back and make sure it was in tune and over time my confidence grew and so did my repertoire. I have a few song ideas here

Fast forward 7 years and I was at the hospital with my 11 year old for a broken finger and my 20 month old who after 4 hours had had enough of hanging out in hospital. In order to settle him I started to sing Inanay (if you aren’t familiar with the song please listen to it here.) Anyway, it worked he relaxed and settled in his pram. The following day my daughter and I returned to the hospital for further treatment, this time I didn’t bring my baby! As my daughter was receiving her treatment the therapist recognised me and said ” oh you were here yesterday with a baby, we all heard you singing and we thought what a lucky baby!” I was certainly taken aback but I’m glad I wasn’t fearful anymore about singing in public because he is a lucky baby.

Can I tell you a secret? The truth is children don’t care if you’re not an amazing singer, they only ever respond if they feel the love. So sing them songs, especially songs from your culture or childhood that have a special place in your heart because that is what will make the most impact.

Happy Music Making

Lola

Advertisements

Top 3 Weather songs for babies and toddlers

Weather is always a topic of conversation where I’m from. Melbourne. If you haven’t heard or familiar with Melbourne it is renown for having Four seasons in One day. So in the spirit of changing seasons, here are my 3 top weather songs for babies and children.

The first song is fantastic in that it explores different timbres the tambourine makes. And just as important it is developing childrens fine motor skills

Song: Fun in the rain

Instrument: Tambourine

(to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”)

Rain, rain, rain (tickle fingers on the tambourine to emulate rain sound)

Rain, rain, rain

Dribble, dribble, sploosh! (Tickle fingers and for (splosh) tap tambourine)

Dribble, dribble, sploosh!

Grab your boots, your coat, and hat, (tap the beat to the music with open hand)

Jump in a puddle and go kersplat!

Stomp about and become a drowned rat,

Rain, rain, rain

Rain, rain, rain.

My second fav song is using a parachute, which can be used for babies all the way to kinder aged children. The song starts out calmly which you can lift the parachute up and down. Then when the “Thunder and rain” verse starts the children can shake the parachute a little more vigourously. Musically it demonstrates to children how to express themselves in non verbal ways and the different dynamics and expressions music contains.


Song: Come Under My Umbrella

(tune of The More We Get Together)
Come under my umbrella, umbrella, umbrella
Come under my umbrella, it’s starting to storm
There’s thunder and lightning and wind and rain
Come under my umbrella it’s starting to storm

Lastly a beautiful Autumn song, which encourages children to slow down, while they work together watching our felt leaves pulse up and down on the parachute.


Song: Autumn Leaves


Instrument: autumn leaves made of felt & parachute
(To the melody of ring a ring a rosie)
Autumn winds begin to blow
Coloured leaves fall fast and slow
Twirling whirling all around
Till at last they touch the ground

I hope they have inspired you to include these songs in your music classes for children. They are a hoot and has a mountain of musical learning.

Happy Music Making

Lola


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