Tag Archives: preschooler

The Pow-Wow Drum – Making a Beat, Together With Friends!

#31daysofrhythm FB

Did you now that March is Music In Our Schools month? What a great way to focus on how music enriches the lives of all students, young and old!

I’m part of a group of music educators that want parents, teachers and everyone to find lots of fun and creative ways to share music with kids. This year, our theme is “31 days of rhythm” so I wanted to share a bit about how pow-wow drumming.

What’s A Pow-Wow Drum?

Seven Cedars Sing At University of Pensylvania MuseumIf you’ve ever been to a Native American gathering, the pow-wow drum is at the center of the event.  At most pow-wows you’ll see a group of either men or women gathered around a big drum and everyone is playing and singing at the same time. They are all playing in unison, meaning the goal is to strike the drum together. And when a great drum group is playing, it sounds like thunder and shows the power of what people can do when they work (or play) cooperatively!

Make Your Own Pow-Wow Drum

DALLAS girls making drum at women's museumActual pow-wow drums are beautiful and many are very special and sacred. But I’ve done a post that explores the first pow-wow drum and you can easily make that at home. You can find it here as well as check out the sound of a traditional drum group playing and singing: http://www.dariamusic.com/drum.php

You’ll Need a Drum Beater

To play a pow-wow drum, each drummer needs their own beater. Check this link feathered drum beaterfor an equally simple craft to make your own pow-wow drum beaters: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/make-a-little-drum-beater-for-a-big-drum/

Now Let’s Play!

Every child can find a place around the fabric drum, holding the drum with one hand and their beater in the other. Then, they strike the drum together – at the same time. At first, a teacher or adult may want to tap out a beat to any familiar song and encourage the children to play along, hitting the drum at exactly the same time. Once the kids get the idea, the leader can also ask the children to kids drumming in DARIA workshop - ISRAELlisten carefully and do what she/he does. While playing the same song, she/he can play softer and they should tap softer.  He/she can play harder or a bit faster or slower and the drum group should do the same.

In Native cultures, drumming is just one way of teaching cooperation and listening skills as well.

Drumming Together

To practice drumming together, you might wish to try a simple song I used while teaching music and English in the Middle East. The students wanted to learn the days of the week in English so they drummed to the following little song. Whoever was leading set the pace and played the rhythm as they sang. When they finished, they pointed to someone who had listened and played well to be the next leader.

(one beat) Sunday,
(one beat) Monday,
(one beat) Tuesday,
(one beat) Wednesday,
(one beat) Thursday,
(one beat) Friday and
(three beats) SAT-UR-DAY (beaters must stop and raised in the air).

Happy drumming and check out all the posts for the 31 Days of Rhythm right here: https://musicedblogs.com/

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Kaleidoscope Rattles

kaleidoscope rattle and shayHave you ever looked through a kaleidoscope to see an ever-changing array of beautiful colors?

Here’s a fun little rattle that creates a lovely flow of colors when it’s played. And it’s nice and quiet so it’s perfect for music-making with a large group of children or for kids who have noise sensitivity. It’s also one of our favorite projects for creating with kids on the autistic spectrum as it’s fun to make, easy to control and the sound is soothing and not harsh or abrupt.

Here’s what you need to make your own kaleidoscope rattles.

Supplies

Clear Recycled Plastic Bottles (like from water or juice) with a lid
Q-tips
Washable markers
Electric tape (for sealing the rattles)

What To Do

Clean and dry the plastic bottles thoroughly. You can do this easily by rinsing them out and placing them upside down in a regular glass or a jar.

Kaleidoscope Q tipsNext take the washable markers and color the tips of the Q-tips any color that you like.  Color as many as you like and drop them into the bottle.

Every so often, shake the bottle to see if you like the sound. The tone of the rattle will change each time you add another Q-tip to the container!

When you’re satisfied with the array of color and the sound of the rattle, put the lid on and seal it up with electrical tape to keep the contents inside.

Time To Play!

kaleidoscope tableShaking the rattle around in a circular motion displays a wonderful changing series of colors.  But since this is a rattle, you can play it any way you like. Shake it up and down, side to side or get up and dance with it!

Shake it along with a favorite song that you love to sing. Or play along to recorded music. Make several and compare the sounds as well as the colors as you enjoy your handiwork.

Have fun and keep making music!

Everybody Has A Farm, E-I-E-I-O!

Don’t you just love those easy folksongs that can be personalized to delight your family or your classroom?

Here are some simple instructions for turning “Old McDonald” into a song that everyone can participate in.

Good Old McDonald

In case you’re unfamiliar with this “oldie but goodie”, here are the standard set of lyrics:

daria and sheep PMOld McDonald Had A Farm, E-I-E-I-O
And on this farm he had a (name an animal) E-I-E-I-O
With a (animal sound x2) here                      and a (animal sound x2) there
Here a (animal sound), there an (animal sound)
Everywhere an (animal sound x2)
Old McDonald Had A Farm, E-I-E-I-O

 

For instance, if you chose a “sheep”, like the friendly sheep in the picture here, it would be:

Old McDonald Had A Farm, E-I-E-I-O
And on this farm he had a sheep – E-I-E-I-O
With a baah baah here, and a baah baah there
Here a baah, there a baah …
Everywhere a baah, baah!
Old McDonald Had A Farm, E-I-E-I-O

Repeat as much as you like with any animal you wish to add.

My Friend Sandy Has A Farm

pollitosIf you’re singing to a group or a class, sit everyone in a circle and go from child to child, letting each one pick an animal for his or her verse.  You can ask the whole group to come up with the animal sounds.

Two quick suggestions.  If you think you may have run out of animals for the song, remember that you can use the names for the full grown animal and baby animal or the names for the male and female animal as well. For instance, you sing about both horse and pony, sheep and lambs, cows and calves, etc.  And don’t forget hens, chicks and roosters or billy goats and nanny goats, too!

With names, the only tricky situations are using names with three syllables or more.  In that case, drop the “My Friend” and simply use their name to fit within the first line of the song.  In other words, instead of “My friend Isabella”, or “My friend Jeremiah” try… Isabella has a farm… or Jeremiah has a farm, E-I-E-I-O and it should fit perfectly!

Your Family Farm

Here’s a fun family version of Old McDonald.  It uses the same idea, but you ask the child which animals a family member might want to have on their own fantasy farm.  In that way, the child gets to imagine what other people would want as their favorite farm animal.

It might sound like this:

If my sister, had a farm, E-I-E-I-O
On her farm she’d have some kittens, E-I-E-I-O (etc.)

If my brother, had a farm, E-I-E-I-O
On his farm he’d have a dinosaur, E-I-E-I-O (etc.)

If my mommy had a farm,
On her farm she’d have a parrot, E-I-E-I-O (etc.)

If my daddy had a farm,
On her farm he’d have a puppy, E-I-E-I-O (etc.)

An Animal Rescue Farm

Which brings us to a good point.  Kids love to imagine and this song can be very imaginative.  Feel free to sing your own barnyard version, animal rescue version or even an imaginary animal version.  Unicorns and dragons, anyone?

Need Music?

Naturally if you play guitar, piano, ukulele or a similar instrument, it’s awesome to strum out the music.  Below is a link for free sheet music for guitar.  But if you don’t, no worries.  Everyone knows the melody and you can easily, clap, tap, tap on desks or play simple percussion (like shaker eggs) along with this song.

Need some simple instrument or percussion ideas?  Below are four suggestions all made from handy items found in your kitchen or recycling bin.  So tap and clap away as you create some memorable music and a fantastic farm or animal song for your lovely little ones!

Links and Resources

DIY Shaker Eggs
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/a-child-safe-version-of-easter-shaker-eggs-directions-in-english-and-spanish/

Milk Jug Shekere
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/turn-a-milk-jug-into-a-recycled-shekere/

Nature Walk Rattle
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-an-earth-day-nature-walk-rattle/

Make Your Own Maracas
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/an-easy-musical-craft-for-young-children-back-to-school-maracas/

Old McDonald – Free Sheet Music For Guitar
http://www.8notes.com/scores/15036.asp

5 Fun Noise-Makers For New Year’s Eve!

Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 1.00.10 PMHow will you be merry-making with your kids this New Year’s Eve?  Here are five fun ways to make a merry musical start in 2015!

Make a Vuvuzela!

There’s a reason this horn (pictured below) is called the most annoying instrument in the world. It’s loud and silly sounding. And it’s also an easy craft to enjoy making as you attempt to stay awake all the way to midnight on New Years vuvu brazilEve. Find a free craft pdf with step-by-step instructions here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Vuvuzela-Make-Play-Your-Own-South-African-Stadium-Horn-1242716

An Elegant “French Horn”

The blog; Savvy Homemade, has this easy craft where you can create a much nicer sounding horn to welcome in the New Year. The supplies are simple, just make sure you have a funnel, some electrical tape, a bit of plastic piping and a few other basic items on hand to master this craft.

http://www.savvyhomemade.com/homemade-french-horn-for-kids/

Homemade Fireworks!

Sounds scary? Not when you bring out some large bubble wrap that you’ve saved up for just such an occasion. This can be a big hit with younger kids who can’t stay up until the New Year but want to feel the excitement of bringing in a New Year with lots of noise! To get the “full fireworks effect” have the kids hold the bubble wrap while you play a video of fireworks and they can create the sounds effects live! Need a fireworks video suggestion? Here’s the BBC’s version of magnificent London Fireworks from New Year’s Day 2011.

Make A Monkey Drum

Our friends from the Activity Corner in Australia have this easy craft to create a monkey drum from a paper plate. You can check out the easy instructions here:

http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/Trash-to-treasure-craft-ideas+38/Make-a-monkey-drum+12587.htm

Make and Takes Crazy Kazoo Noise-Makers

We love this clever version of a homemade kazoo from the wonderful blog: “Make and Takes”.  The craft uses paper towel or toilet paper rolls plus wax paper, a hole punch and a few rubber bands to make a wonderful, workable kids kazoo. Complete instructions here:

http://www.makeandtakes.com/new-years-eve-noise-makers

kyra pl;ays a vuvu
And whether it’s noisy or not…

We’re wishing everyone out there a Happy New Year!

More Annoying Songs To Sing (Or Avoid)!

Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 1.00.10 PMHere are more of our reader’s top choices for songs they love to hate!  Silly, repetitive and definitely earworms, these songs might be fun to share during a ride in the car – or not!

Both of these are “infinite loop” songs. The first one comes from a reader in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where they have plenty of bears and mountains.

The Bear Went Over The Mountain

The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
And what do you think he saw?

He saw another mountain
He saw another mountain
He saw another mountain
And what do you think he did?

Back to… verse 1

And who could forget that not-so-merry old kind of England?

Henry The 8th

I’m Henry The 8th, I am
Henry the 8th, I am I am
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married 7 times before
And everyone was a Hen- er – y
Wouldn’t be a Willy or a Sam (oh no!)

I’m an 8th old man, I’m Henry
Henry the 8th, I am I am
Henry the 8th, I am I am

(Spoken: Second verse, same as the first
A little bit louder and a little bit worse)

That last part really says it all!

And although these songs are not “infinite loops”, here are two more songs that kept coming up in our readers comments.  The first was  Magdalena, Hagdalena- or one of her many incarnations.  You can read about all of them, right here:

http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/family-fun-2/magdalena-hagdalena-and-her-many-aliases/

And “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” and it’s many, many verses.  You can find a post about that one, here:

http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/silly-songs-for-kids-do-your-ears-hang-low/

And,  let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites…!

Best-Loved Songs For Children – Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad – What a wonderful way to wish someone a merry Christmas.

This upbeat Christmas song written by Puerto Rican composer, Jose Feliciano is a great way to bring out holiday cheer and maybe even learn a few new words in Spanish at the same time.

The lyrics are very simple with the first verse in Spanish:

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Año y Felicidad

And the second verse in English:

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart

Need a Spanish/English cheat sheet?

Navidad is Christmas

Feliz is happy

Año (pronounced anyo) is year

Año Neuvo is New Year

Prospero means prosperous

Felicidad is Happiness

And best phrases for Holiday greetings?

Merry Christmas is ¡Feliz Navidad!

Happy New Year is ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

To wish someone a Proserous New Year – Prospero Año

Or to put it all together and say

I wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year

Te deseo una feliz navidad y un próspero año Nuevo. 

And that’s exactly what I’ll be wishing for you!  Here’s the full video to enjoy!

Links and Resources

Feliz Navidad Lyric Sheet Print Out
http://www.dariamusic.com/feliznavidad.php
DARIA’s Feliz Navidad on I tunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celebrate-season-multicultural/id344193347
DARIA’s Feliz Navidad Amazon mp3
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00302IO26/ref=dm_dp_trk2

Creating Meaningful Music Experiences For Children

Looking for creative ways to combine music, play and learning for young children?

We love the recent article by Carla from Preschool Powol Packets (nice blog!) with 5 different activities young children and their and parents can do to explore music together.

Plus, there’s a give-away of a DARIA cd and a beautiful, authentic fair-trade rattle from Africa.

(Give-away open until September 16, 2013).

Check out the great ideas for musical play that include making simple instruments, ideas for a rhythm band and creating songs to express feelings.

Stop by to check out the fun and learning here:

http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2013/09/musicactivitiesDaria.html

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Introducing MLK’s message to Young Children – Through Music!

It’s never too early to share important and powerful messages with young children.

This is especially true when choosing books, music and other positive and kid-friendly media that become part of your children’s lives.  In fact, this was exactly the reason I wrote a children’s song based on MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech made during the March On Washington, whose 50th anniversary is today!

Although most people recall mainly the “I Have A Dream” section, the entire speech is worth reading or hearing.  And MLK’s messages are easy for kids to grasp and live out.  What child does not want to be included and treated fairly?  Every child appreciates an environment that is fair, balanced and gives everyone a chance.   Big concepts such as respect, equality and dignity aren’t lost on little ears.

In honor of the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, I’m offering free downloads of this song on my website (link below).  I’m also encouraging parents to seek out and include books, music and other media in their child’s life that show inspirational leaders, such as MLK.  Find ways to help your children “meet” spiritual and inspirational leaders and their lives will surely reflect these positive ideas and worthy goals.

Remember, no child is too small to make a difference.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve.”

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

———

Watch an animation of the I HAVE A DREAM children’s song here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBQ36WnekVM&w=500&h=281]

Links:

Free Download of the I Have A Dream Song

http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

Free MLK Coloring Page For Young Children

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MLK-Rainbow-Coloring-Page-for-Younger-Children-475121

Free MLK Coloring Page For Older Children (With Many MLK Quotes)
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MLK-Rainbow-And-Popular-Quotes-Coloring-Page-for-Older-Children-475123

Best Songs For Young Kids – “You’re A Grand Old Flag”

grand old flagFeeling patriotic?

Almost anyone can sing the chorus to this popular patriotic song that dates back to 1906.  But did you know it was originally written with the title – You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  Created by a popular composer of that era, George M. Cohan, this particular song was the first to sell over a million copies of sheet music as part of a musical revue called “George Washington, Jr.”.  Perhaps that makes it one of the first chart-topping hits of American history.

Here’s an animated video of the version that most folks recognize and enjoy.

But what about the original “Grand Old Flag?”  Why was the title “You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  The story is told that George M. Cohan found himself seated next to a veteran of the battle of Gettysburg from the civil war one day. The soldier had a worn and torn, but carefully folded American flag.  When Cohan asked about it, the vet replied – “Ah, she’s a grand old rag” and that became the original title of the song.   As time went on, many performers and groups objected to calling the flag a rag.  After several years, Cohan relented to popular sentiment and the song became “Grand Old Flag”.

If you look at the complete lyrics, there are some odd lines and references in the song.  It seems that the writer slipped the titles and lyrics to other patriotic or popular songs into this piece of music.  It was a clever way of sharing some of other songs that he used in his George Washington musical, such as “Yankee Doodle” or “I Wish I Were In Dixie” (Way down south in the land of cotton). And the lyrics “should auld acquaintance be forgot” is clearly from the old time classic “Auld Lang Syne”.

When this song is sung by kids or for kids, most people use the chorus only.  That’s probably because the two original verses have language that seems a bit outdated  to modern ears.  It would be hard to find anyone today that might say: “by gum!”, “I’m no cranky hanky panky” or” I’m a dead square, honest Yankee”.  Still, with all that said, the chorus of the song is a patriotic gem.  It’s easy to sing and shares powerful feelings of what it means to love and cherish your country and treasure one of it’s most honored symbols.

When I recorded a version of this song, I used old timey instruments. I played the spoons as the rhythm and had an old-fashioned jaw harp as well.  I remembered my uncles who had served in the 2nd world war using really simple instruments like this and how the song made them feel proud of their service to the USA.

Here are the most popular version of the lyrics from the chorus:

You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

——————

Daria’s Children’s song version of You’re A Grand Old Flag (complete with spoons and a jaw harp) at:

ITunes

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024XD1SY/ref=dm_dp_trk6

Amazon mp3

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024XD1SY/ref=dm_dp_trk6

Lyrics:

http://www.dariamusic.com/grandoldflag.php

Downloadable lyric sheet:

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/songs/Grand%20Old%20Flag%20Songbook.pdf

George M. Cohan was a prolific songwriter as well as a playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. You can find out more about him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M._Cohan

Complete Lyrics to You’re A Grand Old Flag

By George M. Cohan

Verse 1

There’s a feeling comes a-stealing,

And it sets my brain a-reeling,

When I’m listening to the music of a military band.

Any tune like “Yankee Doodle”

Simply sets me off my noodle,

It’s that patriotic something that no one can understand.

“Way down south in the land of cotton”

Melody untiring,

Ain’t that inspiring?

Hurrah, Hurrah, We’ll join the jubilee!

And that’s going some, for the Yankees by gum!

Red, white and blue, I am for you!

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!

Verse 2

I’m no cranky hanky panky,

I’m a dead square, honest Yankee,

And I’m mighty proud of that old flag

That flies for Uncle Sam.

Though I don’t believe in raving

Ev’ry time I see it waving,

There’s a chill runs up my back that makes me glad I’m what I am.

Here’s a land with a million soldiers,

That’s if we should need ‘em,

We’ll fight for freedom!

Hurrah! Hurrah! For every Yankee tar

And old G. A. R.

Ev’ry stripe, ev’ry star.

Red, white and blue,

Hats off to you

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!

Chorus

You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

You can hear a 1906 recording of the complete song – sung by Billy Murray here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_a_Grand_Old_Flag

Version of the entire song performed by the United States Air Force Band

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_a_Grand_Old_Flag

Best Instruments For Quiet Time With A Child!

playing rainstick in the grassMost people associate making music with expressing yourself, having fun and making noise!  Although its great fun to sing, dance and play an instrument, there are also many world traditions that use music to quiet the soul, to learn to listen and to encourage rest, sleep or meditation.  Quiet time instruments or music are perfect for sharing with your children around naptime, bedtime or for a break during a busy  day.

The Rainstick

Originally, rainsticks were made from a special cactus whose long “arms” dried and fell to the ground. They were filled with seeds, beads or pebbles and as these tiny objects fell from one side of the cactus to the other, the sound that emerged was like a gentle rain or a quietly trickling stream. The sound of a rainstick (known in South America as palo de lluvia) is so peaceful and relaxing that it is often heard in meditation tapes or used as part of music therapy.

How do you play a rainstick?  You turn it up-side-down or hold it at an angle so that the contents can flow from one end to the other.  Notice the difference in sound when you hold it vertically or at an angle.  You can also “shimmy” the rainstick gently as it flows or hold it horizontally and shake it like a rattle.

How can you use the rainstick as a quiet time instrument?  “Play” the rainstick along with relaxing music until you feel like resting or try some of these games.

          A class or group of children listen to rainstick while a teacher turns it over.  When the last pebble falls, the first child with their hand up gets to be the new leader or wins that round.

          Try the above game with the children’s eyes closed.

          Try this game with young children at naptime in a preschool setting.  After each child has a chance to play the rainstick, they lie down to rest.  The teacher picks each student by seeing which one is waiting most quietly and giving them the first turns until everyone is ready to rest.

Use your own ideas and make up your own games or rainstick activities.  Don’t have a rainstick?  You can win one from DARIA’s world music for kids website or make your own version from simple, recycled materials, by checking out the links below.

The Ocean Drum

The sound of the surf can be so soothing.  And playing an ocean drum, can help you bring the quiet sound of ocean waves right into your classroom or home, creating a relaxing space to rest or refocus your energies.

What is an ocean drum?  It’s a two-sided drum with clear material stretched over a round frame.  Inside the drum are small round objects such as bee-bees or pebbles.  As the drum is tilted back and forth, the tiny objects move across the head of the drum creating a sound remarkably like ocean waves gently breaking on a beach.

By holding the drum at different angles, the player can control how the waves move – quickly and enthusiastically or softly and quietly.  Along with the repetitive sound, the look of the small objects moving back and forth can create a relaxing experience that is remarkably comforting for any child but one that is especially appreciated by children on the autistic spectrum.

Don’t have an ocean drum?  You can make your own version from a shipping box.  Find the simple instructions at the link below.

bronze singing bowl 2Singing Bowl and Tingsha

In the near future, we’ll do a detailed article on using these additional two instruments for relaxation and quiet time with small children.  In the meantime, you can to find more general information and a “Make Your Own Tingsha” post at the links below.

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Links:

Make Your Own Rainstick

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/RAINSTICK%20Instructions.pdf

Make Your Own Ocean Drum

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/Ocean%20Drum%20Instructions.pdf

The Singing Bowl

http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/gongs-handbells-and-singing-bowls-three-great-instruments-for-exploring-the-culture-of-china-tibet-nepal-and-asia/

Make Your Own Tinghsa

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/MakeYourOwnTingsha.pdf