Together with the Beat

Washing dishes? Cooking dinner? How do you get all this done while staying connected to you children? One way is through singing. Here is a brand new Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home to help you and your child stay together with the beat, even while you are not missing out on any other beat!

Together with the Beat

Hey, I’m so glad you’re here

We’re going to clap and cheer

We’re going to stamp our feet together to the beat

We’re going to sing and play

We’re going to shout ‘hooray’

We’re going to stop and say – “Have a Really Great Day!”

How’s the Weather Where You are Today?

Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home:” It’s Cold, Cold, Cold.”

How’s the weather where you are today?  No matter what’s outside, the way that weather affects us can make us comfortable or miserable.  Here are two brand new musical chants to sing at home with your little ones about those outside feelings.  One to help you understand what your child is telling you; and one to help your child understand the world around them. Enjoy!

Beth

What’s Wrong?    E.K. Schwartz 2014

Are you hungry? Are you tired?

Is your diaper ripe and bold?

Are you sick? Are you lonely?

Are you hot? Or are you cold?

It’s Cold, Cold, Cold.    E.K. Schwartz 2014

There’s a tingle in my fingers

And a jingle in my toes

There’s a shiver in my belly

And a crinkle in my nose

My elbows and knees are feeling cranky and old

And that’s how I know that it’s cold, cold, cold.

Brr…It’s cold, cold, cold.

Brr…It’s cold, cold, cold.

Brr…It’s cold, cold, cold.

And that’s how I know that it’s cold, cold, cold

The Best Present…

A popular saying this time of year is “The best present is your presence.” This is so true with young children. Here is a different kind of jingle bell song as well as another saying to remember when thinking about young children and healthy development:

“Sixty Seconds of Singing Strengthens Social Synapses”.

 

I Hear the Bells 

I hear the bells, that’s how I tell

Winter is here; Christmas is near

Jingle, jingle, jingle Merry Christmas

Ding dong ding dong ding

Enjoy!

Beth

Elizabeth K. Schwartz LCAT MT-BC

Growing = Changing = Growing

Just when we get used to our children’s habits and likes and dislikes; they go and change on us! As a grownup, we know that change has to happen in order to grow, but that doesn’t mean it is easy for us – or for them. Here is a new Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home that on the surface is about the change of seasons as the trees shed their leaves. But it is really a chance for you to celebrate your child’s new found interest in the world and the excitement that comes from leaving the comfort of the old to embrace the new. Dance and rock with your little one, and then swirl and twirl. Enjoy!

The Leaves are Falling

E.K. Schwartz 2012

The leaves are falling from the trees; they’re twirling round and round.

The leaves are falling from the trees; they’re falling to the ground.

Down, down, down, down, down, down, down.

Move with Me to Make Me Nicer

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Moms and Dads and all kinds of caregivers have known for years that babies and toddlers love to bounce to music. Now new research from McMaster University in Canada has shown that babies that bounce along in the synchrony with their grownup showed more altruistic behavior than babies who were not bounced in the same rhythm.  Here is a new Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home all about bouncing with your baby and sharing the joy of mutual movement and singing.  Try it and you might just find out that singing and moving together will make you and your baby nicer. Enjoy!

Beth

Here With Me!  (Adapted from an Irish Folk Dance by Elizabeth K. Schwartz 2014)

I’m so glad that we’re here in music. I’m so glad that you’re here with me.  Diddle dee dee.  Here with me.

I’m so glad that we’re here in music. I’m so glad that I’m here with you. Doodle dee do. Here with you.

I’m so glad that we’re here in music. I’m so glad that you’re here with me.  Diddle dee dee.  Here with me.

I’m So Glad You’re My Baby

It hits you like a ton of bricks – that special feeling of love and connection and responsibility we feel for our baby! How can we show our baby how much we love them? Singing to them, and singing for them is a great way. No matter what your voice sounds like, it is YOUR voice that your baby wants. It is YOUR voice that your baby needs.  And no matter what else happens in your life, send the message that you always will be glad “That you’re my baby”.  Come on and listen and learn this new song from the Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home series.

I’m So Glad You’re My Baby

I am really glad; yes I’m really, really glad; and I always will be glad that you’re my baby, baby, baby.

And sometimes I get sad; look, my face looks really sad; but I always will be glad that you’re my baby, baby, baby.

And sometimes I get mad; and my face looks really mad; but I always will be glad that you’re my baby, baby, baby.

I am really glad; yes I’m really, really glad; and I always will be glad that you’re my baby, baby, baby.

Enforcer? Eavesdropper? Equal Partner? What is Your Role in your Child’s Music Group?

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I was leading a music group for little ones at a day care center the other day when a moment of tension arose with a staff member who was substituting for the regular teacher. The usual routine is for all the children and adults to gather together for music making. Everyone sings; everyone moves; everyone plays. This particular stand-in teacher herded the children into the room and then sat down outside the music, directly behind a little boy who might have been known for being ‘difficult’. I asked her directly to move her chair into the music circle, and she looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I could only imagine her thinking about the chaos that would ensue if she was not there to impose order and calm.

Then there is another group that I do at a local library. We sit on colorful mats on the floor. Off to the side are a set of benches that are usually filled with coats and shoes and bags and books that the children discard in order to be comfortable in the music circle. But on the first day of each new session, there is always a grownup or two who settle themselves firmly on the bench and shoo their kids off to the mats to play.

As a young mother I spent lots of time in music groups in my kid’s early years. I am also a music therapist who facilitates weekly early childhood music groups. What was my role in these groups as a mother? What is my role now as leader of these groups? What do I expect of the other grownups in the groups I lead? And what did I think I should be doing in my role as mother? What is your role in your child’s music group?

Some Roles That Don’t Work Well

‘The Enforcer’

The first story above is just one example of the kind of grownup that I call ‘The Enforcer’. The adult adopts the difficult job of making sure that the child adheres to some standard of behavior or performance. This could be making sure that the child is quiet and compliant. It could also be ‘helping’ the child accomplish some music task. That might be taking the child’s hands and pushing them together to clap; or grabbing a drum mallet with the child so she beats a steady beat. As care-givers, we need to model and shape behavior with respect for developmental level and individual personalities. ‘The Enforcer’, though, often sets expectations that are not in line with the child’s needs or the child’s style of learning. ‘The Enforcer’ sets up a situation where the child does not have the opportunity to learn and practice independence.

‘The Eavesdropper’

This role removes the grownup from the music action and puts them in the place of on-looker and observer. The child, as well as the rest of the group, is open to scrutiny without any real sense of the excitement and energy that comes from participation. Sitting on the sidelines ‘The Eavesdropper’ is limited in understanding both their child’s responses as well as the subtle moments of engagement between the child and the music. Since they are not fully involved in the activity, ‘The Eavesdropper’ generally does not learn or integrate the music and so there is not chance to carry over songs or actions into the rest of the child’s life.

‘The Eloper’

Any parent, caregiver, or early educator knows that raising children can be demanding and exhausting. When a parent sits down in music group and slumps down with a blank-looking face it might be that she was awake at work all night, or that he had to jump start the car just to get here in time. We can all empathize with those moments. ‘The Eloper’, though, makes a deliberate choice to ‘check out’ of the situation. They sit with their child and they might go through the motions of a song or limply shake a maraca. But their attention will drift off to check their smart phone, or they will look at their watch every few minutes. ‘The Eloper’ might find a partner and will begin to discuss last night’s dinner or how expensive it was to fill up her car. The message to their child is very clear. “There is something more important than you right now”. It also conveys to the child and the rest of the group that the music experience is not worthy of attention.

Roles that Work Well for You and Your Child

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‘The Enthusiast’

The motto of ‘The Enthusiast’ might be “This is awesome!” Words, actions and affect all combine to give the clear sign that there is value in the music group. ‘The Enthusiast’ supports the child, the group and the music leader through joining in with delight. This might be singing along, dancing, playing or just smiling broadly. The gusto of ‘The Enthusiast’ positively influences the group and makes the music experience more fun for everyone including themselves and their child.

‘The Engager’

This role really takes advantage of perhaps the most important underlying purpose of joining an early childhood music group – being together with your child in an experience that has meaning. ‘The Engager’ participates fully in all the music experiences in a way that is responsive and reflective of their own child’s engagement. ‘The Engager’ and the child move and sing and play in synchrony and show joy in matching their music. If the child is quiet and reserved, ‘The Engager’ might soften their own singing and playing. If their child goes after things with gusto, the music response is just as active. ‘The Engager’ is alert to all the musical moments – big and small- and celebrates each one through imitation, encouragement, and focus.

‘The Equal Partner’

It might seem to some parents and caregivers, that society feels that their child’s development is best left to ‘experts’. Programs and schools sometimes give the impression that they alone know what is best for the child. ‘The Equal Partner’ knows that it takes everyone and every role to create the best growth opportunity for children. This role combines ‘The Enthusiast’ and ‘The Engager’ as well as ‘The Educator’ and ‘The Experiencer’. ‘The Equal Partner’ takes responsibility for making the music group work best for their child, the group and the music leader. They sing and play within the group. They also share the music at home or in the classroom while also letting the child lead the music.

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What is your role in your child’s music group?

Here are some suggestions for creating the best possible role for you and your child:

• Have clear expectations of what you want from the music group for both you and your child

• Ask the music leader what is expected of you and of your child during the group

• Talk with the leader if you find yourself falling into one of the less productive roles. Tell them if you think you   have to be ‘The Enforcer’ because of management style or lack of consistency in expectations. If you feel like ‘The Eavesdropper’ or ‘The Eloper’ because you don’t feel included in the experiences, make sure to discuss this with the leader

• Be open to constructive suggestions from the leader. Go in with the attitude that they also want what is best for you and your child

• Give it some time. All groups need to be together and get to know each other before they can work smoothly

• Keep everything in perspective. Growing up and helping children grow up is a process and happens through all life’s experiences

Here is to celebrating you and your child! Keep making music.

Beth

“Do Not Touch”…and Other Christmas Confusion

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We say that Christmas is a time for children…but then we tell them to wait and not touch.

How frustrating this must be!  But as adults we know that delayed gratification and persistence are important skills for later learning.  Here is a fun Christmas song to sing and play with your little ones that makes a game of waiting while teaching simple ways to manage the excitement of the season. [Read more…]

Sing at Home – November

Welcome once again to Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home.

November is a time for  family, and food and fun… and frenzy!

Click on the video below and join us here to learn some simple songs to sing with

your child that help keep everyone part of the celebrations! [Read more…]

Sprouting Melodies Sing at Home – Halloween

Halloween from Elizabeth Schwartz on Vimeo. [Read more…]