Thank you for being part of our Music Together community this fall. By now, the children will be starting to familiarize themselves with the music and the routine. This is when it starts getting even more fun! All children are musical and it is so interesting to watch as they discover and learn in their own special ways. Some of the children are active participators, some are careful observers and some learn seemingly through osmosis as they explore their surroundings. (These are the multi-taskers ;) Through observation at home and in class we can follow their path to basic music competence.
One of the first responses a child has in class is to sing the resting tone-usually the final note of the song. This tone is the tonic or root of the scale the song is based in. The other core note of the song is the dominant, or fifth of the scale. Many times, this is the first note an infant will sing as they seem attuned to the overtones. These are the two tones we practice a lot in between songs with tonal play. Be sure to listen during those silences between songs for your child’s voice. Children then become able to follow the contour of a song, their voice going up and down with the song, but not always in tune. They will be most accurate at the end of phrases. A next step would be an ability to sing a phrase of a song with a small range of notes in tune and accurate tonal patterns. You might notice that the middle phrase of a song might be less accurate, for instance, if a child sings Twinkle Twinkle, they mig ht be able to sing the first and the last phrase in tune but have trouble with “up above the world so high” because they have to jump up to those higher notes. This is why we practice swoops and playful high and low sounds with our voices, to increase a child’s vocal range. Soon, children will be singing whole songs in tune.
A child’s first rhythmic responses are usually short spurts of movement. An infant may respond first by staying stock still and wide eyed with attention, but soon will show a characteristic gesture or physical response to the music. This may be increased sucking on a pacifier, waving of arms and legs or a rocking torso. Older babies and toddlers will have refined their movements and you may see them playing a drum, patting their knees and clapping their hands. Also, watch their whole body movements, like marching and dancing. These movements will become consistent and steady. At first they may be faster than the beat of the music in the room. Children first follow their own tempo which is closely related to their fast beating hearts. They will gradually connect more and more to the beat of the music until they can keep a beat. Watch as their accuracy grows from being able to keep a consistent micro beat to an ability to switch to different levels of the beat and an ability to chant more and more complex rhythm patterns.
Some children are more difficult to observe, but it is amazing how much they are learning. My sons were the less attentive type who came to play when the instruments came out, but seemed almost disinterested when we were singing. I am glad that I continued to bring them to class and sang to them every night. Now, when I hear them singing Darth Vader’s theme (a difficult, unusual tonality) perfectly in tune, I know that it did seep in somehow!
I welcome you to join our discussion on facebook and share your observations on how your child responds to music. If this is your first session, you will be receiving a Music Together Growth chart which will outline the many things you might observe at home and in class. If you are a returning family and have misplaced or may not have received this before, please let your teacher know and pick one up!
Gwyn Marini and on the behalf of Rosemary Valentine, Erica Levesque, Jennifer Grant, Cheryl Ungar, Ela Quezada and Karen Rodgers of Old Colony Music Together :)
In a couple of weeks you will be receiving an email and a take home letter regarding the winter session registration. Families currently enrolled in the fall session will have a priority registration period of two weeks where they can hold their current spot in class and have priority to transfer to a different class before Open Registration. Since almost all our classes were full this session (thanks to the many families’ referrals and help posting flyers and yard signs!!) I would highly recommend securing your spot in class during this period. Some families missed out on the fall and are anxiously awaiting open registration! You will also receive information about our three week holiday session and our annual holiday party-the tentative date is December 18th. I hope that you will continue to be a part or our Music Together community!