"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sing, Sing, Sing

When I was a music teacher, I would often have some loving parent of a 1st grader say to me, "Oh Johnny is just FABULOUS on the drums. Can I sign him up for lessons with you for the band program?" Or "My little 5 year old Jenny plays the recorder around the house all the time. I think she's ready for flute. Can she be in the band program?"

I was super excited that these parents noticed interests and possible talents in their children. I am glad that we encourage our kiddos to know and love instruments. But, what I always said to these well-meaning parents who wanted their kids to jump into something a little too early was this: Get them SINGING. If you want your kid to be a good musician, get them to sing. Do it now - while they are young.
Sing in the car. Sing in the bath. Sing while setting the table. Sing, Sing!!!!

Instruments are great in time... but instrument + a child who has already developed an ear for melody = priceless.

You may say, "Well that's fine for you - you're a music nerd, you can sing! I can NOT sing."
Au contraire!
Your tot does not need you to belt out O mio babbino caro for this to be meaningful. 

Can you sing "Twinkle, Twinkle little star" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or "Hot Cross Buns"? If you're even close on any of those, that's a great start. 
Little kids (ages 1 through whenever) naturally LOVE to sing. So, encourage it as much as possible. Sing whenever you can. Put new words to old tunes to describe what you're doing in song:

For example, (to the tune of Hot Cross Buns) 

Where's Your Coat? 
Where's Your Coat? 
Go and find out where it's hiding,  
Where's Your coat? 

Or, (to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle or The ABC's)

Where oh where did your doll go? 
Let's go find her, yes let's go. 
Up the stairs and down the hall. 
We will search and find your doll. 
Where oh where did your doll go? 
We will find her, yes you know! 

Those are very unglamorous examples... but the point is - you don't need anything exciting to sing about. Just sing. Set the example. If no one is around but them, even better! No one for you to feel silly in front of. They will love it and will join right in when they are able. :-) 

So, in the words of Dory the forgetful fish, "Just keep singing..." 

What are your favorite songs to sing with your little tykes? 


  1. I Love your blog, Marji! Isabelle's favorite song to sing is, "If You're Happy and You Know It." We always start with "clap your hands" and then follow with other things she can do...kick your feet, touch your nose, tickle your belly, etc.

  2. Thanks so much!
    And - that song is a gem - no wonder it's been around forever because kids LOVE to sing it and do as many motions as possible! :-)