Have you read out enthusiastic review of our new favorite kid’s international songbook?
Well, we’re excited to say that – thanks to Mama Lisa’s World - we are giving away 2 digital copies of this amazing encyclopedia of 100 songs from diverse world cultures. That’s 352 awesome pages of songs, song descriptions, translations, sheet music and even details of how certain songs are used as games and activities.
Chinese New Year lasts for a full 15 days of festivities. It’s a great opportunity to combine fun and play with learning more about Chinese language and culture.
And if you don’t speak any Mandarin, don’t worry. This popular New Year’s song -Gong Xi Gong Xi - is really easy for both children and adults to learn. Here is a version in pinyin and English as well as two video versions to help you sing or share this song with children at this exciting time of year.
Gong Xi Gong Xi
Měi tiáo dà jiē xiǎo xiàng (Every big street little alley)
Měi gè rén de zuǐ lǐ (In everyone’s mouth)
Jiàn miàn dì yī jù huà (The first sentence (we) say when (we) see each other)
Jiù shì gong xǐ gong xǐ (Must be” “Congratulations! Congratulations!”)
Gōng xǐ, gong xǐ, gong xǐ nǐ ya, (Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to you!)
Gong xǐ, gong xǐ, gong xǐ nǐ (Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to you!)
Have you heard? February 8th marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year and it’s the year of the Fire Monkey.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chinese New Year, here is our compilation post that shares some wonderful ways to learn more and celebrate right in your home or classroom. The first group of posts are music and music-related, but we just could not resist adding ones about food, fun and other festivities!
And stay tuned for our next post that teaches you a very familiar and easy-to-learn Chinese New Year song!
Want to hear an absolutely beautiful version of the song Silent Night in Mandarin? Thanks to our friend; Toni Wang, you can visit the website – A Little Mandarin – and hear her beautiful translation of this classic Christmas song. Just click here to enjoy and share:
Gongs are amazing, loud, inspiring instruments, but where can you find one? If you have some basic supplies, then you can craft one right in your own home or classroom. And you can decorate your new gong with a Chinese zodiac symbol or some other creative theme.
Large metal pan (like a recycled pie tin, pizza pan, or a turkey roasting pan) Pipecleaners or yarn Stick, broomstick or long cardboard tube Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong 12 – 18” wooden dowel or wooden spoon (for the drum beater) Colorful tape (for the drum beater)
Step By Step Directions
You can find step-by-step instructions as a pdf on DARIA’s world music for kids website or in her TeachersPayTeachers store. Both are free, here:
In February 2015, we’ve entered into the year of the sheep or the goat. You can see an image of a ram on the pie tin gong at the top of this post! But, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs so you may also want to use any of the other animals as part of your design. You might also want to find out what year you were born in.
Take a look at the chart below and you can find out if you are a pig, an ox, a monkey or a rat!
The Chinese Lunar New Year is quickly approaching! Here’s a fun musical craft for one of the most popular noise-makers played by children at this time of year.
The Bolang Gu (波浪鼓；pinyin: bo lang gu) is a simple instrument also called a monkey drum, a pellet drum or a rattle drum. It’s a two-sided drum with small beads or pellets attached to it’s sides. When the drum is played the pellets bounce off both sides and create a really unique sound. Although these clever little instruments are often used by street vendors and seen as children’s toys, they also date back to ceremonies held in the Song Dynasty of China and are part of religious rituals in Tibet, Mongolia, India, and Taiwan.
Make Your Own Bolang Gu
Making your own version of this creative little craft is easy. The supplies you need for one drum are: 2 paper plates, 1 cardboard paper towel roll, stapler, tape, a bit of string or twine, 2 beads and any materials you like for decoration.
Decorate Your Drum
If you’re going to decorate your plates, it helps to do this first. In fact, it can be a good idea to have many plates and try lots of designs, then select your favorites for the two faces of your drum.
What themes to use for your decorations? Choose any of the Chinese zodiac animals, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese New Year printables or whatever else inspires you! Once your plates are created, move on to the next step.
Assemble Your Drum
Place your two paper plates “back-to-back”. Apply a few staples to hold them in place. Press the top part of your cardboard tube together slightly and insert about 1 – 2 inches inside the paper plates, where you want the handle to be. Continue stapling around the plates until you reach the other side and staple right up to the handle. This should hold it firmly in place, but you can also add decorative tape to make it even more sturdy and to add a design element.
Add the Pellets
Now it’s time to add the beads. Start my making two holes on the right and left side of the drum halfway up the paper plates. Use a hole punch to make your 2 holes or have an adult help by poking the holes in the paper plates with the tip of a nail or an awl. Knot a bead onto a small piece of string, twine or embroidery thread and tie onto each side, leaving about 2 – 3 inches of string. The length of string allows the beads to bounce back and forth to create the signature sound of the drum.
Play Your Drum
Although this little drum looks so simple, there are actually quite a few ways to play it. Place the handle between two hands and “rub” back and forth for the classic sound effect of a monkey drum. Or hold in one hand and rotate the drum back and forth while you move your arm like a dancer. In fact, if you take a look at the video below, the three dancers are using bolang gu as part of a wonderful and energetic dance routine.
Feel free to get just as creative and make up your own moves and inventive ways to make music with your new drum!
Win A Real Bolang Gu
During the month of February 2015, you can visit DARIA MUSIC for a chance to win this beautifully decorated Bolang Gu. Drop by her monthly song page here for the easy entry: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php
We are so pleased to have a guest post about Chinese Lunar New Year by the very talented vocalist and musician Toni Wang, from A Little Mandarin. Make sure you read until the end to find out how to get a FREE download of her wonderful version of the traditional Happy New Year Song.
There are many ways to enjoy and introduce children to Chinese New Year but one of the nicest is through music. Much like Christmas music seems to permeate the air in the US and Europe for the month of December ‘New Years Music’ suffuses China during the 15 day New Year holiday. Holiday songs can be heard on the radio, in the stores and on the streets.
The Happy New Year Song (Xīn Nián Hǎo 新年好) is a great introduction to Chinese New Year traditions.
This song expresses the joy and fun of celebrating the New Year. Along the way it points out some of the many New Years traditions. The song opens with “Four seasons harvest is in”, like many cultures New Year is a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year and to look forward to the upcoming year.
“In the streets and alleys are firecrackers”, firecrackers are one of the many traditional ways to ring in the New Year. You may have noticed this tradition borrowed in your own country. During New Year people light firecrackers and hang red paper decorations or banners to ward off evil spirits.
“Dragon dances, stilt walking” are two more traditional activities. Stilt walking is a traditional Chinese folk art, practiced especially in Northern China. Dragon dances can be seen in many towns and cities in China and across the world. The dragon in Chinese culture is benevolent and thought to bring good luck. The dragon dance is a vibrant way to scare away evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year. One dancer controls the head and the rest make up to body. The length of the dragon depends on how many dancer the troupe has and can be over one hundred feet long! Proper timing and coordination is essential for the dancers to make the dragon shimmer and wave down the street. Look for the “Pearl of the Dragon”, a person in front waving a stick with a big ball on top. This person serves as a conductor showing the dragon which way to go. The dragon dance is usually accompanied by drums, cymbal or gongs filling the air with music.
“Welcome the wealth god, welcome wealth” The fifth day of the Chinese New Year is the day to welcome the god of wealth into your house. Better leave a door open or stay home to make sure he can get in providing prosperity for the next year. Children will have already enjoyed receiving Red Envelopes on the first day of New Year. The red envelopes have crisp bills tucked inside lucky red paper. “Wearing new clothes, wearing a new hat” During New Year people traditionally don their new clothing to symbolize welcoming new things.
There are many ways to participate in Chinese New Year celebrations around the world. You can see if your city or town has a Dragon dance or Lion dance show or perhaps a lantern festival celebrating the end on the fifteenth day of the New Year. You can listen to that song here and use it to discuss the many Chinese New Year traditions mentioned within the lyrics.
Free Download of Happy New Year Song, Xīn Nián Hǎo
Toni is a Shanghai-born NYC mom raising her three children in English, Mandarin and French. She produced A Little Mandarin as a way to provide high quality Mandarin language children’s music for her own children. Her album has fifteen tracks providing a modern update to classic Chinese children’s music. Anyone who has been to China will recognize these children’s songs and should enjoy the refreshingly modern take.
“The singer has a beautiful vocal range and the ability to sing popular children’s song in Mandarin. The music itself is cheerful, and upbeat! This is a perfect addition to anyone’s musical library, and a must when exposing children to different languages.” – Frances Evans, Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes.
Music can be a great way to learn a new language. While clapping along or tapping your toes, you’re also hearing new sounds and words that slowly become familiar phrases. Ni Hao (Mandarin Chinese) becomes a natural way to say “hello”. And it makes perfect sense that 5 peeping “pollitos” (Spanish) are little chicks. And a counting song in any language makes learning the numbers a snap!
Last week we asked one of our favorite bilingual teaching moms to share her favorite picks for teaching Mandarin Chinese to children. Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett; known to her students as Miss Panda (http://www.MissPandaChinese.com/), helps children everywhere learn Mandarin Chinese through kids songs and stories that are perfect for little ones of any age and adults as well. Miss Panda not only has a passion for languages and is raising her children with English and Mandarin (plus a bit of French and Japanese) but she also feels that sharing languages enables toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and homeschooled children to become young global citizens who can actively explore and participate in their world!
Here are Miss Panda’s excellent picks for learning Mandarin through music:
The “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” Song in Mandarin Chinese
Who doesn’t love to color? No matter how young or old you area, it’s fun to get out a set of crayons or colored pencils and personalize a perfect page! And if you can also learn about other cultures in the process, all the better!
We’ve just released this e-book that’s actually a compilation of readers’ favorite musical instrument pages from the WORLD MUSIC WITH DARIA website. Called “Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” there are 12 pages including common favorites like the guitar as well as more unique instruments such as the balalaika from Russia, the sitar from India or the panpipes (zampoñas) from South America.
In addition to coloring fun, you can also use this book as a creative way to learn about other cultures. For instance, if you listen to any classical or traditional music from China, you’ll probably hear an erhu. In “Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” you can not only see what it looks like but find out what it is made of and how it is played as well.
Exploring the culture of India? You can learn about a sitar or a two-headed drum from Northern India called a dhol. If you’re taking a virtual trip to the Andes, you can find a miniature guitar made from shell of an armadillo or a special rattle (called chapchas) made from the toenails of sheep or goats.
Best of all, during June and July 2014, you can get your copy free at the link below. And in the meantime, here’s a list of the 12 instruments you can discover and enjoy:
Erhu, Guitar, Sitar, Ukulele and Zampoñas.
“Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” From TeachersPayTeachers
Turn a broomstick into Australian bilma for some really versatile rhythm sticks. Or a cardboard box into a Peruvian cajón – perfect to learn hand-drumming! You’d be surprised how many wonderfully unique world music instruments can be made from recycled or repurposed materials. And sound good. And inspire musical play in your home or classroom.
Best of all, many of these instruments mean thinking about things in a new way. Working with these simple crafts, kids can see how many important items originally came from nature – such as Native American turtle shell rattles, rainsticks from chola cactus branches and bamboo reeds were fashioned into panpipes. Or how things take on a special significance when they are made by hand or made with love and personal attention. And how some of the most amazing instruments are the quietest – like a simple sistrum that dates back to ancient Egypt. Or a drum that can do an amazing impression of the sounds of surf.
While crafting with your kids, you can explore a variety of beautiful world cultures and use it as a way of connecting with your class, your family or your community.
Here’s a list of the recycled instruments found in the E-book.
Australian blima clapsticks from broomsticks or tree branches
Peruvian style cajón drum from a cardboard box of any size
Chinese-style gong from a recycled roasting pan or cookie sheet
A South American “quijada” jawbone instrument made from egg cartons
An ocean drum made from a pizza box and recycled plastic folders
A rainstick made from a used mailing tube
An Egyptian sistrum from a forked tree branch or a coat hanger
Tinghsa handbells made from repurposed “Snapple” tops
Native American turtle shell rattle from take-out containers
Panpipes from clean, recycled drinking straws
So download the book, dig into the recycling bin and make a joyful noise today!
If you’re reading this post during April 2014, you can get a free download of this awesomely green musical craft book here: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! is also available from TeachersPayTeachers here: