Intergenerational Music Classes

Intergenerational Music Class

Intergenerational Music classes have become the “buzz” at the moment. And it’s for good reason too. Research has shown how the elderly’s well-being declines and that for a lot of residents in Aged Care facility there is a good portion of people who rarely receive visitors.

Since conducting Intergenerational music class from February we adapted the classes to ensure that both the children and the elderly are receiving equal value from the music class experience. Because music education is paramount for children’s developing brains, motors skills and social skills. But equally important music plays a very important role in memory, well-being and encouraging being social for the elderly.

Here are the top factors to ensure the intergenerational music class is successful and beneficial for everyone involved.

The type of music is important.

When developing a music class for children songs that encourage finger play and hand movement are fantastic. At Rhythm Rumble we encourage the children to explore keeping a beat, tempo changes by tapping on tambourines and shaking instruments. As well as teaching children how to use their voices with various methods such as the “invisible whistle” or parachute play.

In regards to music for the elderly we use music from their teenager and 20’s to help them register feelings and memories from their past. Music such as Que Sera sera, Doris Day has been a massive hit. This type of therapy is referred to music from their reminiscent bump and there is strong research that shows how music from this era of our lives has stronger memory recollection.

How to encourage connection

Just because people have a shared reason for attending your intergenerational music class doesn’t mean there will be instant magic in the room. Some people are naturally more reserved and shy when confronted with a room of strangers and some children are also shy and reserved. Over the time Rhythm Rumble has developed games that encourage the children and parents to walk around the room and talk to the residents. Such as encouraging the children to pack away the instruments and playing a musical card game.

Floor Plan Magic

Make the space work for you. Residents are not always mobile, so before the class starts position chairs in a circle. This also acts as a grid for the children not to venture out of! I always ask the parents to sit on the floor to complete a full circle. By doing this the children will be more inclined to participate because Mummy or Daddy are going to play as well.

Music Teacher is paramount.

The Music Teacher is key to having a successful class, they act as the facilitator and moves around the room learning everyones name. A great music teacher can command the attention from their students by using their voice and understanding the limitations of their music class participants so to introduce games and activities that will encourage participation. They should also have a strong musical understanding as be able to turn every experience into a learning experience.

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Happy Music Making Lola


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


Teaching children to work together musically

The latest music lesson plan on the Rhythm Rumble list is called “Friends”. I have been toying with the idea for a while but couldn’t put together the idea of how to write a lesson plan without the usual well known friends songs

Such as, “Whats your name”song or Hello song. At Rhythm Rumble we already sing Hello and have just written a beautiful Good Bye song (which i will share here). They definitely have their place but didn’t want to do something every other music class is doing.

Then it came to me, making music is essentially working together to make attractive sounds. What if the lesson is all about working together. A big feat for 2-5 year olds

We are trialling it this week, and have had some amazing reviews from the teachers so far. Here is a glimpse of our favourite songs.

I love an echo song, and this one is so much fun.

Flee Fly Flo song lyrics (ECHO SONG)

Flea!

Flea Fly!

Flea Fly Mosquito!

Oh no no no no Mosquito!

Get that big bad bug with the bug spray!

PSSSSSSSSSSH (spray can sound) 

The more we get together 

instrument: tambourines

The more we get together together together

The more we get together the happier we’ll be

Because your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends 

The happier we’ll be

Repeat with the suggestions below:

The more we tap together

The more we shake together

The more we scratch together 

The more we tap and rest together

Beethoven-Symhony No.5 C minor op 67

The idea for this activity is for the children to hear the famous motif at the beginning of the piece and with their instruments tap or shake the rhythm of the motif.

In the remaining time of the piece the children should sit with their hands behind their backs or on their heads

This is aimed at 5 year olds, although I had a class with 3 & 4 year olds and worked just fine, you just need to fill the “inbetween: time with controlled movement. For example I used rhythm sticks and while we waited for the motif to return, I moved my sticks high and low depending on the dynamics of the music and the children followed.

These activites work in a musical sense of developing their auditory skills, singing together and in tune as well as following directions

I have included how this link to the EYLF

  • EYLF Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing – Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.
  • EYLF Outcome 4. Children are confident and involved learner
    Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
    develop an ability to mirror, repeat and practice the actions of others, either immediately or later
  • ELYF Outcome 5. Children are effective communicators
  • Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
  • NQS: Areas 1.1 An approved learning framework informs the development of a curriculum that enhances each child’s learning and development.
  • NQS: Area 3.2 The environment is inclusive, promotes competence, independent exploration and

So far I’ve been loving this lesson, hope you enjoy some of these songs too

Cheers Lola


Rhythm Rumble’s Intergenerational music class

I have a 19 month old, who is a cutie patootie and is now at the age when you begin wanting to start activities with them. So in an effort to scratch my own itch , we have started Intergenerational music classes at BlueCross Aged Care, Melbourne conveniently located 3 min drive from my home!

But seriously I was so super excited about the baby music class it will be bringing generations together and connecting people thought music, which is the absolute equaliser.

Haven’t you noticed when you go to a wedding and you know about a 1/4 of the people (if you’re lucky!) and as soon as the band opens up the dance floor, everyone is up and dancing regardless of age, gender, strangers and family all connected by the music.

The requirements of this particular Rhythm Rumble baby and toddler music class was is was multi aged and needed to be super interactive for adults and children.

I rock up with little Z and there are already elderly ladies sitting in the chairs that had been arranged in a circle, some mums on the floor with their children. The age ranged from 8 month to 3 years old. Mr Z thought he was running the show and paraded around the circle smiling to the ladies. My heart was already pumped with joy.

My very talented teacher Virginia did an amazing job, catering to the needs of the children first by singing a nursery rhyme using a puppet and effortlessly moving into a shaking song with egg shakers. The children who could walk, loved the idea of handing out the instrument’s to a “friend” and helping pack away again.

But what I loved the most was the little moments in-between the songs and activities when one old lady, Joyce told me with tears in her eye she has twin great granddaughters up in Queensland. She hasn’t met them yet, only seen photos and this experience has made her feel nostalgic. Another resident had pure joy in her voice when she claimed ” I haven’t seen so many babies in one room in almost forever”

To say I had a wonderful time would be an understatement, the residents and parents made this music class so special, that I cant wait for Fridays.

Happy Music Making

Lola

To find out more about Rhythm Rumble’s classes please visit. https://www.rhythmrumble.com.au/


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



Music Appreciation

shutterstock_128158010Currently 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

Carnival of the Animals: V Elephants – Camille Saint-Saëns.listen here

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   

listen here

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.

Carnival of the Animals: IX Cuckoo in the heart of the woods – Camille Saint-Saëns listen here

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

Lola


What to look for when booking a music program for your Childcare Centre

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,
Lola