African fun!

After a week away from the Birkdale kids, I was excited to get back and share more musical moments with them. This time I brought my tongue drum from Africa. I demonstrated how each and every note sounds wonderful together, and then had the kids play duets (two kids at a time striking the tongue drum with their mallets) to practice sharing and cooperation. Each pair of kids ended up working really well together. I had all of the caregivers and children clap for each duet pair, and I think it really made each child feel proud of their contribution! I taught them an African song called Funga Alafia, which is a call and response song. Everyone got really into the song, to the point where a dad hopped up and started dancing, which inspired three more moms to get up and dance. That was the best part of the class!

african-tongue-drums

The Return

This week I returned to Gooch after a 2 week break, and everyone was eager to get back to Rainbow Songs. The group gathered ’round as we sang Hello, and then quickly shifted to movement. The group jumped and danced with fantastic energy as we went through song after song. Some of the kids were calling out song titles and I was happily obliging. Eventually we brought out the instrument bag and finished off with a loud and enthusiastic jam session.

Using Our Hands

We had a great mix of older and younger kids at Robertson House this week, but luckily the older kids were keen to teach the little ones as my go-to “assistants”. We started off counting up to five with One Little Finger, Tap, Tap, Tap, and the older kids took great delight in shouting out the next number in the song and showing off the correct number of fingers. We practiced our opposites with Roly, Poly, and Hands Together, Hands Apart. The one-year-olds of course didn’t quite understand the concept, but they loved watching the older kids tap on the ground and followed suit by the end of the song!

We continued with last week’s theme of springtime with How Now Brown Cow and Trees Need the Sun, which is a challenge due to all of the sign language. But these kids never seem to back down from a challenge, and by the end of the song the older kids had confidently learned two new ASL signs – “tree” and “we”. From counting our fingers to tapping on the ground to using ASL to symbolize the lyrics, our hands were the stars of the show this week and a great way to enhance our music-making!

Little Green Frogs

We sang lots of songs with our energetic group today, but Little Green Frog came out as one of the favourites, with eyes blinking shut, tongues sticking out, hands clapping, and arms waving! Our group also made for some really excellent sleeping bunnies, who turned out to be really excellent hopping bunnies, too! Our Instrument of the Week was the spoons, and the kids did a great job of listing ways we usually use spoons, and then learning that we can also use them to make music!

Spoons

A Strong Finish

I was happy to be filling in at Jessie’s for Rebecca today. The class was very small, just two toddlers, and they both felt like wandering a lot today. I tried a variety of songs and activities to reel them in. Participants did a great job with Head and Shoulders. We got the instruments out early and jammed for a good portion of the class, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The class had a strong finish with the parachute, which got everyone giggling!

Energy Balancing

I was happy to be back at Rosalie Hall today. The daycare kids arrived before the babies and they were very excited for the music to start. Once the moms arrived we reviewed our signs for The Hello Song and we were off. The daycare kids had a lot of energy today and the moms with their babies kept up with it well. Everyone had a lot of fun sticking their tongues out for the Little Green Frog. Then, when we were all on our feet, the daycare kids got a lot of energy out by dancing, shaking, and bouncing then stopping. Lots of giggles and smiles all around!

Springtime Fun!

We started our class looking at a 1-2-3 pattern found in many songs: Clap Your Hands and Sing 123, I Wake Up My Hands, and Six Little Ducks. The older kids were wonderfully adept at catching on to the rhythm and the little ones seemed to groove to it in their own way. We marched around the circle as we went Zoom, Zoom, Zoom to the moon, and then came back to Earth to sing about the beginning of spring. Trees Need the Sun was the perfect segue into making music with the rain sticks and thunder tubes. We welcomed the warm rainy weather yet to come with Thunder Pounding, and If All the Raindrops.

Our class at Robertson House now has a contingent of four or five preschoolers who have become the de facto singalong leaders, and I am both delighted and grateful for this powerhouse team! Like in any group, all it takes is a few people to set the mood and the whole room quickly becomes just as cheerful and enthusiastic as these young ladies are!

rain stickthunder tube

March Break Madness!

Since today was part of the March Break there was a lot of energy and a lot of children! I took advantage of their energy and did a lot of dancing and movement songs. The kids really enjoyed standing up and moving their bodies to the music. We did the Freeze Dance, and more complicated movement songs, like Let’s Dance Today, where I instructed them to reach up, touch the ground, turn around, stomp their feet and wave their hands in the air, all to the beat. They were so amazing at following the instructions,  and did everything I challenged them to do.

Packed House!

We had a record attendance of 18 children, 7 caregivers and 3 staff members on Friday. I brought a couple of special instruments from around the world and they worked well to focus the big energy in the room. We looked at the Tibetan tingshaw bells and the Nepalese singing bowls. At one point the room got so quiet that you could almost hear a pin drop. That was a really cool moment.

Singing BowlTingsha Bells