Musikgarten Recordings Make Classes and Musical Play at Home More Successful!
At the start of each session we announce to our parents and caregivers: Grown-ups, do you know that here at Musikgarten we think of you as our primary students? Your enthusiastic and focused participation in class is the all and the all. To be sure, your bright shining example lights a fire in your child’s heart and is the grand impetus for their joyful musical discoveries and play.
We encourage everyone to share Musikgarten’s excellent music all week and all session long. Day in and day out you will find ways to bring music to life in your home. To that end, we encourage you to learn the music by heart and to find a hundred and one ways to integrate the songs, dances, poetry, stories and musical activities into your daily life with your children. The home materials, especially the recordings, will be a key component in facilitating the musical and dramatic play you accomplish with your child throughout the week.
What are the varied and wonderful attributes of the Musikgarten recordings? Below is a fine Musikgarten article that highlights the reasons to use your recordings at home.
Familiarity breeds success: Children love to hear a song over and over and over again. They will request the music on every car trip. When they enter the classroom they embrace the activity because they KNOW the songs from listening to the recording at home.
Children singing on recordings: All Musikgarten recordings have children singing several of the songs, sometimes in a children’s choir and other times as a solo. This is magical for children because they love hearing other children sing. They can easily sing along because the vocal range is optimal for their voices.
Expands the classroom experience: So often I have parents share how their children are “practicing” their songs. This could be a baby or toddler singing the songs on a syllable like la or bam in their crib or in their car seat. Or an older child singing a complete song while dancing.
Develops vocabulary: Songs, especially the folk material that Musikgarten uses, are rich in words. When children sing with the recording or later by themselves, they are developing their growing vocabulary.
Parent’s important role: Parents are the model the child will follow. I notice more parents sing in class when they have listened to the recording with their children or on their own. How many times have I heard parents say they continue to listen and hum along to the music long after they drop off their children to school or other activities? Parents love the music!
I always encourage families to listen to many different types of music, and I embrace the tremendous variety of musical choices in our society that we can access 24 hours a day. However, I want to emphasize the strengths of the Musikgarten recordings that are created specifically for young children:
Instrumentation is diverse: This is so important! So many children’s CDs limit their instrumentation to drums, guitar, piano and voice. But take a look at a typical Musikgarten CD. The listener will experience a children’s choir; instruments from the woodwind family like the clarinet, oboe, and bassoon; large orchestras, brass instruments; folk instruments like bamboo flute and jaw’s harp; plus the traditional guitar, drums and piano. Oh, and did I mention an ensemble of Renaissance instruments? When it is time for a child to choose the instrument they wish to study, teacher and parent can be sure they have heard a wide selection of musical instruments before they make that lifelong choice.
Tempo: The tempo of the music is just right for children. I have found when I listen to CDs that are labeled for children they are just too fast. In my classes I am constantly slowing down the speed of the songs we sing to match the speed of the children singing. At the same time, I want the tempos on the recordings to be lively and catchy and the CDs have the speed that is ideal for the children.
The singers are often children: This needs to be repeated! This means a child has a model of singing that is just like their voice. They hear a sound that they can easily understand and recreate.
Music includes activity: Remember in class we don’t just sing a song, we sing and MOVE to the song, whether it is tapping the beat on our knees, rocking to and fro, marching through the room, folk dancing or playing along with sticks. This brings another dimension to the song, something a recording by itself cannot do.
May you find a myriad of opportunities to play your recordings and to make them a part of their daily life.