Tag Archives: music rhapsody

Musical Mondays: Favorite Baby Music

We live in a day and age where music is readily available to us. There is Pandora, and iTunes, satellite radio and even music channels on your TV. With all of our options, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I was recently asked by some of my students to identify some of my favorite children’s music. So here is a short list of musical collections Harper and I are currently enjoying.

Animal Playground

First of all, have you heard of the Putumayo Kids collection yet? Talk about variety! They have over 20 CDs that feature music from all around the world. I first learned about Putumayo through Pandora and have been hooked ever since. I love the Animal CD best because it is a great learning tool for teaching our little ones about the different types of creatures that live on our planet. The music is fun and upbeat and makes you want to dance. And Putumayo is not just limited to kids music. They have an extensive collection of music for all ages.

Brilliant Beginnings in Music

As I have mentioned before, exposing your child to a variety of music helps them to appreciate different styles and sounds from an early age. Brilliant Beginnings offers beautiful music from all over the world. You can dance with your child to flamenco, drum to an Irish jig or explore your maracas to the traditional sounds of the Cahuilla people. The music is simple enough for your little ones to treasure but sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy.

Family Time

There is something magical about reggae that just makes me want to groove. And now your little ones can groove along with you. A wonderful collection of original tunes and a few covers, Family Time resonates with themes of fun, responsibility, and freedom. Sing along with a new twist on the ABCs, play a musical version of “Ziggy Says” and enjoy story time with a message that promotes unity and love.

Farm Songs and the Sounds of Moo-sic

There is nothing better than a family sing-a-long. A fan of all things created by Lynn Kleiner, Farm Songs has quickly become a new favorite in our household. This CD is a delightful combination of music, learning, humor, and fun for people of all ages! Through the engaging songs, orchestral music, and activities, children will learn about music making, movement, and listening. It is sure to put a smile on your face :)

Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George

A musical collection to be enjoyed by the youngest to the oldest, Jack Johnson’s playful tunes and laid-back approach turns out to be the perfect musical alter ego for a the character of Curious George. With songs like “3Rs” which reminds us to recycle, reduce and reuse, and “The Sharing Song” children are taught age-appropriate lessons in an upbeat and fun way. Highly listenable many times around, this music makes me happy.

Your turn: What are some of your favorite children’s song/CDs? Looking forward to hearing your responses :)

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Musical Mondays: Starting Early

There is no greater gift than the gift of music.  One of the things that makes music so wonderful is that it has no limits, especially when it comes to age.  Which means, you can start making music with your little one as early as 6 months in utero.  And the sooner you start,  the greater the benefits.

When it comes to music education, starting your little one in music soon after birth can give your child a jump-start on learning.  Like I have mentioned before, we are all born with a natural ability to sing.  Which is why we find that our youngest babies and toddlers can easily learn to match a pitch because they are no yet distracted by formal language, allowing them to easily focus on the task at hand.  Music has the tenancy to encourage babies to speak sooner and more clear as singing enhances how the child enunciates and also brings phonetic awareness.

Young children learn music similarly to the way they learn to speak.  Research and practice have taught us that children who are spoken to will learn to speak and that children who are read to will learn to read.  So, doesn’t it seem obvious that children who are sung to will learn to sing?  Children learn to speak and make music by listening and repeating.  Music also teaches children to make fine distinctions in what they’re hearing.  Training your child’s ear to internalize rhythms and tones at an early age can help children recognize emotion in spoken language later on, helping to promote social and emotional skills.  In addition, music teaches children that they can use a variety of tools to communicate their thoughts and feelings, including sound and movement.

Music classes are a great opportunity for our little ones to become familiar with social settings.  Group music instruction provides a foundation for the development of healthy social skills by encouraging cooperation, turn-taking and sharing.  In the process of singing, dancing and having fun, children learn expectations of how to behave in a structured setting.

While early music teachers agree that musical skill can be learned at any age, natural talent is nourished in environments where children as young as newborns are repeatedly exposed to quality music.  These early experiences provide a foundation for future success as children who get music education from a young age will simply think of music as something they could always do.  Remember, we love what we know.  So through repetition, our little ones gain the confidence they need to build on their musical foundation.

While we are busy enhancing your child’s language, social and emotional development, why not increase spatial intelligence?  Experts say music forms strong connections in the brain that are the same as those used in cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and mathematics.  Music helps the brain lay down neural pathways that will be used later in life or later for higher learning.  Exposure to weekly music education provides a practical foundation for success in a classroom setting as musical activities help children to focus their thinking, encouraging them to follow directions in a fun and creative way.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better?  The incredible benefits of early music education are all happening while you and your baby are enjoying the pleasure of music together.  Does life get any better than that?  So, what are you waiting for…hurry up and get started!  Time is ticking…

This photo was taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Musical Mondays: Listening Ears

The simple act of listening to music can have a significant impact on both parent and child.  Listening to music together is an inexpensive and easy activity that can be wonderful bonding experience shared by the entire family.  Not to mention, the extensive benefits for your child’s development.

Listening, comparing, and responding to various types of music helps to develop thinking skills.  Early music exposure can help promote critical language and literacy as well as creativity and coordination. Listening to music will help teach your child about patterns and sequence, and about rhythm, beat and tone which are useful for problem-solving and reasoning.  Research has shown us that children with a strong sense of beat are more likely to read well and excel at math.  Listening to music helps put babies and toddlers into a relaxed and receptive state.  Music also has the ability to raise your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem and can become a form of expression for your baby when they can’t yet talk.

So now that we know the incredible benefits of listening to music, how can we make music the most important fixture in your home?  Nowadays, music is always available because it is so easily accessed.  Many people can play music from their phones, computers and televisions.  Putting on your favorite tune and dancing around with your baby is a great way to spend time with your little one.  Think of your family’s daily life as a movie that needs a soundtrack.  Having songs playing all the time will help cultivate your child’s interest in music, so that as they grows, they’ll have an ear for it.  Make music a part of your day by breaking into sing songs during playtime.  A simple game of peekaboo can spark a musical moment.  And as the day winds down, listening to music at bedtime is a great way to help your child get ready to sleep.  Recorded lullabies are sweet, but babies love the sounds of your voice the best.

When it comes to playing tunes for your kids, think cheerful and simple songs.  Let your personal preference be your guide.  If you like classical music and your baby appears to enjoy it too, go with that.  Anything with a good melody will do, although slow songs tend to work best for bedtime and fast ones for playtime.  Your goal should be to cultivate a love for music in your child.  It should be about having fun and exposing your child to new sounds and rhythms.  Looking to spice it up a bit?  Bring your children to listen to live music.  These are great opportunities to expose them to many different instrumental sounds and styles of music.

When listening to music with your child, help them to become an active listener by calling attention to particular sections in a recording or song.  For example, comment on the tempo (slow, fast), the pitch (high, low), the volume (soft, loud) or the different types of instruments (drums, flutes, etc.) that you hear.  Over time, auditory discrimination is enhanced as the child learns about these concepts.

In my classes, one of our favorite songs to listen to is Aquarium, from Carnival of the Animals off of the Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move! by Lynn Kleiner.  With the help of their parents, children move to the music using scarves or instruments.  Each movement is intentional, dancing down low as the melody descends and back up again when the music ascends.  The kids love to practice their jumping at the end when they hear the oboe.  Moving our bodies with the music is a great way to teach children to be active listeners as well as teach musical form.

Introducing your child to the wonders of listening to music is truly a gift .  And the earlier you expose them, the better.  At 6 months in utero, your baby is able to discriminate sound.  Although most of the sounds in the womb are muffled, the melody and rhythm of music are not much altered. A baby’s brain is able to register the rhythmic patterns of the music, and changes in beat and melody are picked up.  So, take time to sit quietly and invite your baby to a concert in the womb.  Singing and listening to music is a beautiful way to begin your relationship with your baby.

Whether your baby is in or out of the womb, putting on your listening ears and cranking up your favorite song is a wonderful way to share the joy of music with your child.  And the best part?  There are no rules.  Just sit back, relax and listen :)

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Musical Mondays: Lullabies

As infants, some of our first and fondest memories of music are of a loving parent singing a familiar lullaby to us as they rocked us to sleep. It provided us with a sense of security, calmness and love. Since response to sound is one of the most highly developed abilities in a newborn, it is important for infants to be nurtured musically. And lullabies are the perfect opportunity for physical and emotional attachment.

Lullabies have a magic to them that seems to easily sooth babies who are fussy and tired. Babies tend to respond best to songs that are familiar to them. They love what they know. So repetition is key when introducing your little one to their favorite lullaby. While I was still pregnant with Harper, a close friend and mentor of mine suggested that at six months in utero I begin to sing Harper a lullaby. So for the months leading up to her birth, we would sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to her as often as we could. Once Harper was born she was easily soothed by this song, as it was familiar to her and would remind her of the comfort and security that she felt in my womb.

Besides using lullabies to sooth an infant, rocking and singing to music helps infants become accustomed to the feelings of sound and motion. This type of gentle introduction to music helps to reduce babies natural reaction to startle due to sudden movement and loud noises or sounds. In addition, gentle rocking to the pulse of the music helps to instill that sense of the steady beat.

Another benefit of lullabies is the communication that occurs between parent and baby. It is not uncommon for an infant to respond directly to the singer by cooing and babbling, thus encouraging the development of speech and singing. In a recent conversation that I had with my dad, he recalled a special moment that he says he will never forget. When I was a baby, my dad used to rock me to sleep and sing me a litany of lullabies. One night, in the middle of one of our favorite lullabies, I began to sing along with him. I was still fairly young and had yet to say my first word, but I began to accompany him in perfect pitch as we engaged in an unexpected duet. Now that I have become a mother myself, and have experienced this with my own daughter, I can truly say, it is one of the most rewarding moments of my life. There is nothing sweeter than singing a lullaby with your baby.

Unfortunately, so many parents feel inadequate in making music on their own. They are insecure about the quality of their singing voices and as a result are ashamed to even attempt to sing to or with their children. But when it comes to singing to your children, the good news is, regardless if you can sing in tune not, they think you have the most beautiful voice in the world. What is most important is that you sing to your baby.

At the end of each of my music classes, I like to sing a few lullabies with my students and their parents. I enjoy it best when families share their own traditional lullabies with us. It becomes a wonderful opportunity for a cross-cultural musical experience and is a great way for all of us to learn a few new songs.

Having a small repertoire of favorites lullabies is a great tool to have in your back pocket. You never know when you might need to bust out a tune in the middle of the grocery store to calm your tired or fussy baby. But don’t feel limited to singing only music that is labeled “lullabies”. Try singing contemporary songs or show tunes. This is a great time to introduce your baby to lots of different styles of music. Remember, they love what they know, so repetition is key, especially with familiar recorded music and lullabies.

So go ahead and explore Pandora or iTunes and stock up on a short list of songs that you can easily memorize. Because one day, that memory you have of your parent singing you to sleep, will become their own.

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Musical Mondays: Sing a Song!

Believe it or not, singing is a natural ability that we are all born with.  Babies sing before they talk.  They are constantly exploring their voice, playing with different sounds and pitches.  Unfortunately, so many times this organic musicality goes unnoticed.  In a culture where so much emphasis is put on language, babies often receive more positive reinforcement for their talking voices then their singing voices.  Therefore, they begin to focus more on their middle range.  They learn that when they use their talking voice, they get attention.  And so, in many cases, they end up losing their singing voice.

So how can we change this?  Easy.  Sing back!

When you hear your baby singing, sing back what you hear and label what you are doing.  Say things like “we’re singing!”  or, “are you using your high voice?”.  It is such a simple way to keep your baby’s natural singing going!

Try making a game out of echoing each other’s singing voice.  Encourage your baby to sing, helping them to copy your starting pitches.  Always try to sing where the baby is singing (the same pitches).  Usually you’re child’s voice will be higher than yours because they have shorter vocal chords.  So do your best to think high for your voice.  Invite dad to play along and use his falsetto (high) voice as babies tend to respond better to a higher pitched voice.

Singing with your child at times of personal interaction such as bathing, dressing, eating is a great bonding activity.  Use singing to make daily tasks such as cleaning up and doing chores  more enjoyable.  Singing can take the edge off stressful times and is a great way to calm a fussy baby or make the car ride more enjoyable (bring your instruments along too!).

We have found a lot of success in singing songs to transition from one activity to another.  This not only makes whatever you are doing more fun, but it helps your child to know what is coming up next.  Get creative and make up your own songs with silly lyrics.  Whatever works for you and your family.

In music class, we like to encourage our little ones to sing on their own.  Yes, even our babies get a solo!  And some of them totally ham it up!  (I may or may not be referring to my daughter Harper :)…)  One of the babies favorite activities is the Little Clown song.  Click on the link to hear the melody and see the lyrics written below.

Little Clown

Pair this song with a Pop-Up Clown Puppet or doll.  When baby vocalizes, reward them by making the clown appear and echoing what you hear.  

All:  We know you’re hiding in there!  We know you’re crouching down!  We really want to see you!

Solo:  Come out!

All:  Little Clown.

Of course, at three months, none of my students are singing “come out!”, but you better believe they are singing up a storm with “ba”, “ma”, “ooh” and “ah” to get the little clown to come up.  The babies don’t always sing the first time, or even the second or third time, but through repetition, babies will eventually catch on.

My youngest babies happen to be the best singers.  They have no inhibitions and enjoy exploring all their different sounds.  As with many things, the earlier you get started with this activity the more success you will have.  This is also a great activity to help reinforce the steady beat by bouncing your baby on your lap while singing.

Singing is important for many reasons.  But the best part about your singing voice is that it is the instrument that you take with you wherever you go.  So giving your baby the gift of singing in tune is a present in which they will be forever grateful.

All information presented is property of Lynn Kleiner’s Music Rhapsody.  For helpful music materials and more information on baby music activities check out Lynn Kleiner’s Music Box.

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Musical Mondays: Movement with Scarves

I think it is safe to say that pretty much every baby gets a kick out of a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo.  It might seem like the simplest concept, but the joy it brings to their faces is infectious.  You can’t help but giggle.

Well, being that it is Musical Monday, lets spice up that game of peek-a-boo a bit and add a fun melody to it.  And then let’s explore the scarves a little more and see how many other fun activities we can enjoy with them.

In the instrument kit I told you about last week, there is a little red scarf.  We use this prop for lots of dancing and movement activities.  But of course, we can’t help but sneak a short game of peek-a-boo in too.  The scarves we use are see through so it’s not scary for the babies because they can still see their mommies and daddies through the fabric.  We like to take turns hiding between the babies and their parents.  Check out this fun tune for a new twist on this old favorite.

After we get our giggles out from playing peek-a-boo we like to take our scarves for a dance.  Playing a variety of different music encourages our little ones to explore new ways to move their bodies with their scarves.  Moving to music is a great way to promote the development of gross motor skills and rhythm.

What’s great about this activity is that it is an easy one for you to participate in at home.  All you need is some music and a bunch of light weight, colorful scarves.  You can purchase some here or check your local thrift shop for a cheap find.  You can also improvise by using handkerchiefs, cloth napkins, or bandanas.  Feel free to get creative.

Then, find some space that allows you and your little one to move about freely.  Lay out the scarves so that they are accessible to your little one, while choosing a few for yourself.  Turn on the music and begin to explore your own movement, making your scarf dance in time.  Your little one might just want to observe you for a while or they might just jump right in.  Either way, I like to label their actions.  For example, “Are you watching mama dance with her scarf?”.  Or, “I see you shaking your scarf.  Nice dancing with your scarf”.

As you move from song to song, switch out the music so that you can explore different tempos.  Help your little one to notice the contrast in the various music types by demonstrating them through your movements.  Float your scarves gracefully for slow music and jiggle them jauntily for quicker music.  Promote language development and color identification by saying, “Do you want a turn with the green one?” or “Is Mommy under this blue scarf?”

When you are all done, encourage your child to help you put the scarves neatly in a bag.  In my classes, we always sing the “Colors are Gliding” song which ends with a verse about folding.  It is a great way to teach our little ones how to take care of their things and doubles as a fun song to sing while doing laundry :)

Babies are born to dance.  Researchers have discovered that infants respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and even find it more engaging than speech.  This shows that babies may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.  It was found that the more the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music, the more they smiled.  So it is never to early to start moving and dancing with your baby.  And why not grab some scarves to go along for the ride :)

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Musical Mondays: Grab Your Instruments!

Who’s ready to start a baby band?  We got everything you need!  Drums, maracas, bells…we are set :)

If making music with babies wasn’t fun enough, try throwing baby instruments in the mix.  Have you ever seen a baby get busy with a drum solo on their baby tot drum?  It’s pretty awesome!

So what types of instruments are we talking about?  When it comes to babies making music with instruments, we stick with percussion instruments that are unpitched.  What that means is that the instruments that they are using are not meant to play any specific notes.  So whatever way the baby chooses to play, will sound wonderful.  Giving children the freedom to play their own way with success, helps to build confidence both in music and in life.  This is a key component of the Orff Approach.

As children master playing unpitched instruments, their creative responses and improvisational skills blossom.  In my weekly music classes, we always have a few activities that incorporate our instruments.  We generally only use one instrument at a time so the babies can focus on the sound of the instrument that they are playing.

Here is the list of instruments we use:

Maraca:  Perfect for little hands, this small and durable maraca has a crisp clean sound that all little ones will love.

Baby Tot Drum:  Sure to be great fun as little ones “beat” this durable and colorful rainbow covered drum with handle.  And it comes with a matching rainbow mallet that is just their size!

Baby Tot Bell:  A securely attached large silver bell with cage and easy to grip handle.  It is great for small hands and will jingle with every shake!

All of these instruments are available through musicrhapsody.com.  You can also purchase them all together in cute little kit.  And as the babies grow older, there are other instruments to match their developmental stage.  All of Lynn’s instruments are professional quality and safety tested.

So whether the babies are exploring how to play their bells while parents sing along to Mr. Sun, or they are participating in a more structured activity such as Shake and Stop, they are building their confidence in their ability to make music while learning simple musical concepts.  And nothing makes them more happy than being able to make music on their own!

All information presented is property of Lynn Kleiner’s Music Rhapsody.  For helpful music materials and more information on baby music activities check out Lynn Kleiner’s Music Box.

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Musical Mondays: Circle Dances

There is nothing more joyful than dancing and moving to music with your baby.  Unless of course you have the pleasure of doing so with a group of parents and babies.  Because coming together as a unit to celebrate music together makes it that much more special.

In my weekly music classes, our lesson plans always include a circle dance.  Not only is it a great opportunity for our little ones to move their bodies through space and explore different types of music, but it is also a fun way for them to experience social interaction.  Through playful activities, babies are able to acquire social skills such as eye contact and appropriate greeting gestures as they observe their parents interacting with other adults.

Circle dances also allow the babies to enjoy movement in relation to others.  As we move in towards the circle and out again, babies love to see their friends faces and look for their reactions.  Working together with their peers on a common activity, makes them feel a part of a music making group.

Like I mentioned in last week’s post, movement is a wonderful way to help our little one’s develop their vestibular system as well as their spatial orientation.  Spinning, changing directions and levels all help to improve balance.  Dancing in and out, up and down, and labeling these movements is also a great introduction to language development.  The more we repeat these activities, the more we are showering them with familiar language, increasing their vocabulary.

As circle dances are performed to the phrasing of the music, babies are experiencing advanced levels of musicianship such as form, melodic and rhythmic changes.  Although we don’t expect them to label these concepts at their age, they are able to easily recognize them later due to their early exposure.  As in many of our activities, the concept of steady beat is continually reinforced through movements such as bouncing and marching.

There are lots of wonderful circle dances that are popular in our culture.  Think about the Hokey Pokey, or Ring Around the Rosie.  Here is a fun circle dance that incorporates a traditional children’s song.

B-I-N-G-O (Click the title to hear a preview of the song)

SONG:

There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name.  There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name.  B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name, oh.  B-I-N-G-O.

DANCE:

A group of parents with babies and toddlers carry their children facing outward as they perform the dance.

Form a circle.  Walk to the right (or to the left) to the beat while dancing the first half of the song.  Face the center and take little steps forward, one for each elongated letter.  “B-I-N-G-“.  On “O” everyone shuffles backward to reform the original circle.

No large group to dance with?  No worries!  Enjoy this dance at home in front of a large mirror.  Holding your baby facing outward, walk around the room during the first half of the song.  On the slow spelling part of “B-I-N-G-” walk closer and closer to the mirror.  Retreat from the mirror on the final “O”.

The reason why the B-I-N-G-O song is so great is that you can change the lyrics from the dog’s name BINGO, to a child’s name.  For example:  “There was a girl, a little girl, and Harper was her name.  H-A-R-P-E-R…”  As they grow older, this will be a great tool for them to learn how to spell their name.  We tend to remember things better when they are learned rhythmically.  Think about how we learn our alphabet as a child or even our country’s states when we get older through “Nifty Fifty“.  Put it to music and it magically sticks!

As you can see, dancing to music with your little one can teach them a lot!  But it is enough reason to enjoy music for music’s sake alone.  So go ahead, crank up your favorite songs and dance away!  (Don’t forget to keep the steady beat!)

All the information presented is property of Lynn Kleiner’s Music Rhapsody.  For helpful music materials and more information on baby music activities check out Lynn Kleiner’s Music Box.

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Musical Mondays: Floor and Chair Games

I don’t know about you, but music makes me happy.  And by the look on my little girl’s face, she seems to be a pretty big fan of music too.  It brings me so much joy to be able to share my love of music with you every week.  Introducing your children to music is the best gift you will ever give them.

I hope you are enjoying some of the activities I have presented in Musical Mondays so far.  As a quick recap, we have talked about the general benefits of music for babies, the importance of the steady beat, massage and tickle rhymes and action and beat activities.  And even after all that musical goodness, I still have loads more to share.

Today, I am excited to introduce one of my most favorite activities with you:  floor and chair games.  These activities are yet another way to reinforce the steady beat.  And at the same time, expose your little one to so much more.

Music evokes movement.  Children delight in and require movement for their growth and development.  Timing games and movement activities develop motor skills, body awareness and spatial concepts.  Floor and chair activities help to naturally develop and improve balance as movements such as rocking and swaying provide stimulation to the vestibular system.  Spatial orientation, such as up, down, and moving through planes, helps orient children to space which is one of the most important development behaviors for infants and toddlers.

Social skills are also developed through floor and chair games.  Important concepts such as eye contact and bonding are encouraged through movement and play.  When we participate in these activities in my weekly classes we encourage the babies to face outward so they can see their friends.  Participating in a group activity is a wonderful way to create a sense of community for our little ones.  At home, this activity can be done with parent and child facing towards each other so that they can see you speaking and you are able to  watch their reactions.

Floor and chair games can be done to almost any song or rhyme that contains movement related language (up, down, side, front, back).  Actively moving your child to these words while listening to the sounds, helps to foster language development.  Similarly, it is important that our singing voices vocally match the actions of the words to further associate the movement to the sound (see action suggestions for activity below).

A great floor/chair game that we can all participate in is Humpty Dumpty.  Check out the action suggestions to this familiar poem.

Humpty Dumpty

Parent sits on the floor/on a chair with baby perched on top of bent knees.  Bounce baby to the beat by lifting toes.  

POEM                                                          ACTIONS

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.                        Bouncing.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.                    Add a vocal sounds effect here; a long “Ooooooo”.  

                                                                   At the same time, straighten legs so    

                                                                   that baby “falls” but remains upright on your knees.                                                                                                    

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men    Recite the remaining lines with legs straight, but keep

                                                                  little bounces in your knees. 

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.              Now make a vocal glissando upward on “Oooooo”

                                                                  while moving back up to starting position.  Pause and

                                                                 repeat.  

What makes this activity even more fun is that as your little one memorizes the rhyme, they will begin to anticipate the “fall”.  So we encourage our parents to pause before the “fall” so that you can add an element of surprise.  With younger, newer babies, this rhyme can be done slow and gentle. But as the children begin to grow, the rowdier and the sillier, the better.

Repetition of these activities is important for language development and timing.  As the children become familiar with the rhymes, they begin to own the material and this builds confidence in their skills.  If you are not singing these activities to yourself while you brush your teeth or take a shower, you might not be practicing them enough :)

So whether it is to Humpty Dumpty or your favorite nursery rhyme, feel free to bounce, sway, move and groove with your baby.  The joy it brings is infectious!

All the information presented is property of Lynn Kleiner’s Music Rhapsody.  For helpful music materials and more information on baby music activities check out Lynn Kleiner’s Music Box.

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Musical Mondays: Action Rhymes/ Beat Activities

There is no doubt that children respond best to music when they are actively experiencing it.  Looking for opportunities to get your child rocking, rolling, tapping, clapping and moving to the beat will not only help to promote their love for music but will help to enhance other forms of development as well.

Like I mentioned in my last few posts, the steady beat is an essential component to baby music.  This one concept can be executed in so many ways.  A fun and exciting way to teach the steady beat is to move your baby’s body to the pulse of the music.  And while you are at it, why not throw in some fun rhymes to help promote their language development.

In my music classes, we do at least one or two action rhymes/beat activities after finishing our massage rhymes.  It is a great way to keep that parent/child bonding moment going while offering a new way to connect.

Some of my favorite action rhymes and beat activities are songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus.  Their repetitious verses are a great way to enforce language development as well as introduce action words such as up, down, high, low, etc.  Not only are they hearing the words of the rhyme, but parents and children  are making a music demonstration of the content in the rhyme which means they are learning through doing as well.

When practicing these action rhymes with your little ones, they are learning the steady pulse through your rhythmic speech.  The rhyming words in the rhymes help in learning new words and sounds which will eventually assist them with reading and spelling down the line.

But beat activities are not just limited to songs with words.  Sometimes throwing on your favorite tune and allowing your little one to explore how their body moves is a great way for them to experience the steady beat.  Here is a fun and easy activity you can practice with your baby at home.

Exercise to the Beat

You can perform the following beat-keeping motions to the steady beat of any favorite song while your baby is lying on their back, sitting in your lap or however else they are comfortable.  Do each motion several times before going on to the next.  Feel free to make up your own too!

Motions:

1.  Gently holding baby’s wrists, move them to the beat in a bouncing motion: up, up, down, down (repeat), or out, out, in, in (repeat).

2.  Gently move one wrist and the opposite ankle to the beat, diagonally, toward each other and away.  Tap ankle to wrist on the beat.  Switch to baby’s other rise and other ankle.  Repeat many times.

3.  Hold both ankles and tap feet together, keeping the beat.

4.  Hold both ankles and move in parallel motion, bending and straightening baby’s knees.

5.  Hold both ankles and move in a bicycling pattern.

Babies will let you know which of the movement routines they like best.  And who knows, they might just teach you a few moves of their own :)

If you find yourself having trouble remembering the words to the songs or rhymes, make it up as you go along.  Get creative and silly.  Come up with your own hand motions and gestures.  The most important thing is that you are having fun.

Or you can always check out MusicRhapsody.com, where you will find a variety of music for you and your little one to dance and sing along with.

All the information presented is property of Lynn Kleiner’s Music Rhapsody.  For helpful music materials and more information on baby music activities check out Lynn Kleiner’s Music Box.

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