so a little while ago i got the respond that a few of you were interested to know/read of how i integrate music with the little ones in our everyday life.well, here you go.nothing spectacular.really simple…oh end excuse my greasy unwashed hair (hello motherhood?!) on the photos my husband took on that one morning where the girls and me were singing some of their favourite children songs.
and as always, i’m not a professional and i don’t like to give advise or recommendations or write about theories, i proofed and tested.i’m just a mum who loves music, who grew up with lots of music and singing and instruments.my mum still gives guitar and flute lessons to young children and all of us four kids grew up with singing and playing one to three instruments. i got to know the whole musicworld on a very playful and and easy going level.we were not the professional, serious and ambitious kind of music people.music played a big part of our every day life.my parents were singing and my dad played the guitar all.the.time.it was part of us.of our family.of our life….so now you know i’m not someone who reads about theories of how to raise little musical children.i just do music because its part of me and i try to involve my girls with it.
when walking or hiking, songs automatically pop up in my head. when e.g. seeing the snow falling down i instantly think of wintersongs and my heart wants to sing, so i just do it and the girls listen, sing along or better hum along.lately i realized they start singing with me.so all that they heard and absorbed/gathered, is coming out now.children absorb and learn so much, so just keep doing and singing or playing instruments.when they’re ready, they come out with it and you’re just like “wow”. and because we are a lot outside, go for looong looong hiking tours and walks, singing became a little motivator and timefiller.i’m the kind of person who can sing or hum a certain melody over and over again.that melody develops to another one.sometimes weeks later i take up that melody again and hum it a bit different.its all a pleasure.something that flows and comes out without thinking of it.my mother is the same.and as a younger girl i sometimes was annoyed and embarrased about her humming melodies all the time, no matter what she did.now, i do the same and i realized that one of my girls is humming one certain melody over and over.her own recurring melody.i like that.my girls are so interested in music, in songs, in instruments.and i think they are not special with that. i believe all children own a natural interest and fascination when it comes to music…so what i did, naturally, was that i kept on singing like i always did.even before i had kids.i just sang, whenever i felt like it and whenever it came to my mind.i wasn’t trying to teach them songs.no, first of all, i was being me and i was singing.maybe you think, well, but i’m not a natural singer.maybe you’re more of the humming kind of person like my husband is.oh that is wonderful and kids like that.its the melodies that get to their hearts.the tunes, the vibrations.it connects with them and so do they.so give it a try.
but besides my personal longing and habit of singing and humming, i also love to play guitar.so singing and playing guitar is one big passion of mine and if i don’t get to do that, than you find a grumpy esther.thats why i often take the guitar in our livingroom and sing songs and play songs.i started early to play children songs for them when they were babies and i was just singing and playing easy peacy ordinary children songs for them.songs i was sometimes singing during our time we spent outdoors.so the songs were sang in different locations and circumstances and recurring.
i started singing good-nights songs from my childhood when they were babies.it became a tradition.i wanted that and i experienced it as such a blessing when i was young.my dad and my mum would sing us good night songs every night.the soothing vibrating low voice of my father, who gently hold his big warm hand over my head, saying a prayer/blessing over me, was a huge thing and lovesign for me.it gave me security and i knew where i belonged to.it was this combination of a tradition/rhythm and the familiar voices of my parents plus the time they offered us.so those good night songs from my side or the humming tunes of my husband when he brings them to bed , is a family tradition and ritual.one , i hope, the girls will remember and take a lot out of even later, when they’re older.
2 years ago or so, my parents gifted them each an egg shaker.but they never really used it.not even when i played children songs for them on the guitar and would sing with them. they rather danced to the music.and at this point let me tell you, that movement is a big and important thing that is so connected with music.movement and music, they are like sibblings, especially for children.
last summer i got to know little insights of musikgarten lessons, ’cause one of my sisters is a musikgarten teacher and every time she visits us with her kids, she brings along her music box with all the instruments and silkcloths and we have little sessions.my girls are psyched and never ever want her to finish or end it.and i must say i was so fascinated by her and how she’s working with songs, little games and rimes, instruments, with her voice, using the fascination of loud and quiet, movements and silkcloths.she’s such a good musikgarten teacher with the gift of gently inviting and activating all the kids.when the girls celebrated her third birthday we also had a musikgarten circle and hour with all 7 kids and us moms. so i watched her doing those little units several times and that influenced me a lot.she catched me and got my fire lit for certain songs, games and methods i’ve seen her doing.
so over the past couple of months i ordered simple instruments for the girls.and now we have a music/instrument-basket where we have the girls egg shakers, a xylophon, a triangle, tonewood, a small tambourine, a brass cymbal and their birdwhistles.
the girls know that our music/instrument basket is for a time where we make music together and even though the basket stands in our living room, where they could get an instrument to play with any time they want, they don’t just grab one and make noise.somehow they understood that this basket belongs to a music activity we do together…ok the birdwhistle is blown and used a lot at any time and finds use here and then.so now, if i take my guitar and ask the girls for songs we wanna sing or play, they go to the basket and try out different music instruments.often though, they just like to dance and move around while i sing and play the guitar.sometimes they stand right beside me, listen and sing a long certain songs (those they have heard now for 2,5 years i guess).
i must say though, that lately i found it easier to make music with them when not playing the guitar.just because i feel more free and able to observe their actions and react to them.its easier to quickly suggest something or go in a different direction.let me give you an example for that: lets say your child/children just grabbed an instrument and you started to sing a song (alone or with them) and they start to play those instruments really really loud.so loud that you can’t hear your own voice anymore. without an instrument you can freely move and e.g. kneel just beside them, go with their volume or even top their volume to then give an active sign with hand or bodymovments to continue really really quiet….just give it a try and you’ll see they will probably follow your input.thats one thing i observed very clearly when my sister was leading the musikgarten circle.her use of physical strenght and play was huge.she was so present and in the midst of it all.
so i think to know, that i’m not just the adult or instructor of learning/teaching them songs, rhythms,….whatsoever, but are equally part of our music-movement lessons, makes it all easier.easier for them to follow along my little inputs or suggestions, easier for them to try new stuff and easier for them to show endurance. i can have fun as well.i can dance through the room with them, i can sing really really loud whith them, i can whisper so quietly with them, i can lay and crawl on the floor with them…we can create our very own music world.it then connects and creates a bond between us all.