I love music: listening to it, playing it, dancing to it, singing it. I am doing my best to be sure that the children in my care will be inspired to groove when the music starts and wail along in grand style until it stops.
“Music” conjures up a million different sounds. I’m not very cool. I rarely keep up with new artists or listen to the radio. However, I certainly do not enjoy children’s music that is too tacky to be fun. I have some background in classical music. I love oldies (late 50s and the 60s) and the rock ‘n’ roll of my youth (the early 90s, if you must know). Because I grew up in the cab of a pick-up truck on a farm, I also am very well versed in the country music of the late 70s… (though it doesn’t appear much on my playlist ). I also love classic musical theatre – the brassier, the better. It’s a pretty mixed bag.
Music is a functional tool in my childcare day. We always have a music time at which I lead some songs and / or play the piano for some acting or dancing. We have clean-up songs (usually “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles) and quiet-time songs. I sing to little ones when I put them down for naps. If it is too cold outside our fitness time is always set to something that inspires movement (often “YMCA” by the Village People or “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers). Oldies are great because they have moderate, predictable rhythm and the lyrics are often pretty innocent.
Even when chaos builds, I find it quite helpful to rouse my singing voice rather than my frustrated voice. It demands attention more effectively while garnering a more positive moment for everyone.
I play music I like because I can get authentically involved. Music time gets loud. Wild, random dancing and enthusiastic participation is heartily encouraged. Usually anyone who is feeling reluctant has joined in the first 30 seconds because everyone else is having so much fun. It doesn’t always go perfectly.
Even if you are no musician, it only takes some bravery and enthusiasm to create music culture in your home. Start by making a playlist you love and sing along – regardless of skill – and kids will get into it with you. The library is a great resource if your own collection is limited.
You can do better than songs in the spirit of a purple dinosaur, and certainly the children you work with will be more inspired.
Stay tuned for more music-based activities and ideas in the next few months.