Tag Archives: child

“Me, me, me, me, little star…”

15 Apr

blog_me-starSTORY FROM A MOM

This weekend I co-led a workshop on how children’s brains are wired to make music and how families can use music to deepen the bonds with their children. After the workshop, a mom pulled me aside to share this story: Her 3-1/2-year-old daughter just recently made up a singing game using “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” in which the daughter sings the first phrase on the syllable “me” (“Me, me, me, me, me, me, meeee”), then points at the mom, commanding her to sing the second phrase onĀ another syllable (say, “La, la, la, la, la, la, laaaaa”), then the turn comes back to the daughter, who chooses a third syllable, and so on to the end of the song. The mom told me that they’ve been singing together as a family since her daughter was born, making up words to songs, inventing up goofy songs about diaper changing and dinner-making and the like. Given all the family music-making, it makes sense that this little girl comes up with her own ways of singing songs and, now that she’s getting older, her own song games. The mom was so happy to learn that she was instinctively doing “the right thing” musically with her daughter (and to hear me use the very grown-up word, “improvisation” to describe her child’s creative music-making–it’s a word that freaks out adults, but children do it all the time!).


Take any song that you know well (“Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Happy Birthday”), drop the usual words, and put in your own syllables. Maybe you’ll sing “me” and “you,” or “yes” and “no,” or “hi” and “bye,” or just “la-la” or “dee-dee.” Oh sure, you’ll be modeling musical “improvisation,” but you’ll also be joining in your child’s way of learning by simply playing around with the music. One day, like the mom in this story, you’ll find your child taking the lead in her own music game, and you can play along knowing you’ve laid the groundwork for her independent music-making.


The Horse Was a-Galloping, But the Cowboy Was a-Lookin’ Out the Window

12 Apr


While we were riding along to “William Tell” in class this morning, one little boy left his mom’s lap to take a look out the window. His mom, to her credit, kept right on galloping away as if her little cowboy had never left the saddle. After ten seconds or so of checking on cars and buses out the window, he turned and spent the rest of the time watching all the bouncing and brrrrrum-bum-bumming. He was 100% engaged in the class activity, even though he wasn’t sitting on a lap, singing, or even moving a muscle. For reasons only he knows, that’s how he needed to process music at that moment. (And now I think about how the class must have looked from his vantage point — all that lap-bouncing and smiling and singing. It must have been dazzling to his eyes.) How wonderful that his mom (and the rest of the class) gave him the space to experience the song on his own terms.