At first this might sound obvious. Kids and adults are always singing, at least the ones I hang around with are :) But when I stopped to really think about it, a lot elementary instrumental programs attempt to start kids off learning a musical instrument, when they haven't had any musical training at all yet. Learning the music basics (melody, rhythm, reading music) AND learning how to make an acceptable sound out of a trumpet, saxophone or (shudder) a violin, can be very difficult even for adults.
We all hear songs that we love to listen to and hum along to. If you start kids off learning how to sing some of their favorite songs, they will learn a lot about how to a musical phrase together, and about different types of melodies and rhythms. You can first start off with songs of the Sesame street variety when they are small (3-4 years old), and then graduate slowly to slightly more complicated songs (Nick Jr & Disney) by the time they are 6 or 7. This will gradually and eventually lead to them learning popular songs from the radio by the time they are 9 or 10 years old. Not the trashy songs from the radio mind you, but the ones that convey a positive message and are appropriate for kids. Believe it or not, there are still some great songs played on the radio every year that are appropriate for all ages. I'll run a separate post later this month and point out some of my favorite examples :)
We recently came across an article about award-winning conductor Richard Gill who is the driving force behind the National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Program now beginning in Australia. Core to Gill's program is a mentorship for music teachers by more experienced music teachers. The teachings are led with the philosophy that teaching kids how to sing first is a better when to introduce them to music. Here's a link to the full article on the ABC News website down under ABC News - Singing the Key to Teaching Children Music
All this talk of singing makes me remember a song written by Sesame Streets Joe Raposo and made popular by the Carpenters (top 5 hit in 1973) and by almost every character on Sesame Street over the years. Yes its "Sing" or as you may remember it "Sing a Song" - Check out this beautiful rendition of the "Sing" by the Carpenters
That's all for today folks - I'll be back soon with another post. In the meantime please consider teaching your little ones how to sing as soon as they can talk (maybe even get them humming sooner than that). You may be surprised how many other benefits they receive from this very early "musical" training!
Music, Love & Laughter,
~Vincent James @ LoveSongs.com