Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘Family’

Family in Song

A large family having fun by the water.

Image via Wikipedia

My family is important to me. I love my husband & daughter. My dad, siblings, their spouses/significant others, their kids all fill my thoughts. Then there are my many aunts, uncles and cousins. These are special people to me. And, I hope they know that.

I know from conversations with older adults and with young children, families are important to them, too.  With that in mind, here are  few family songs you could use to create a family themed music event.

  • Daddy Sang Bass
  • We are Family
  • I want a Girl
  • Take My Hand My Son
  • Que Sera, Sera
  • Daddy Little Girl
  • Cats in the Cradle
  • Sunrise, Sunset

If you like these, be sure you are receiving my SPARKS newsletter. When you do, you’ll be able to access my July 9th Family Reunion theme for even more ideas.

Singable Books: Neighborhood Sing-along

Singing has been a great way for me to meet and to interact with people my whole life. I’m guessing it has also been that way for Nina Crews – the creator and artist for The Neighborhood Sing-along. This would be a wonderful book for:

  • sharing standard sing-along songs with young children
  • a book for reminiscing with grandparents
  • developing a list of songs to use in an intergenerational group.

Here are some more insights on this fun book. 

Hope you enjoyed this installment of Singable books. Here are some past posts to keep you reading and singing with your child.

My Mom

Mom & me 1960

My mom was an amazing woman. I don’t think she ever thought of herself in that way, yet she was. She influenced my life in so many ways. While I no longer have her around to thank in person, I can let others know about her and how they (like her) influence the lives of others.

My mom was good with her hands. While not fond of sewing, she made mounds of clothes, curtains, pillows, and other items. She crocheted toys. And, it wasn’t just handmade items, she would often fix the washing machine or other household mechanical items. When diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she made sure to finish embroidering great grandma’s tea towels so we would have memories pass on.

My mom was creative. She could create things out of nothing. She could create an activity out of odd resources. Two strong memories are of a summer evening defrosting of the fridge from which mom created frost balls which she threw at my dad when he returned home. The second is off a pow-wow in the lot between the parsonage & the church. Mom built a fire and had the family share frustrations. Then she insisted we march around the fire and together yell the alphabet to excise all the “evils” from our life. (Can’t say the issues left, but we felt silly, laughed, and had lots of the town driving by to figure out what we were doing.) She set an example to try other media for expression when she tried her hand at painting and ceramics as an adult.

My mom loved music. She played the piano. In fact, she was my first teacher. She encouraged my singing as a child along with my other musical interests as I grew. She played all types of music on the stereo. My parents took us to concerts, sang with us in the car, and spoke about why they like certain music.

My mom was a  force. I mean that with great love & respect. She knew what she wanted, when she wanted it, and how she wanted it. I grew up with strong women in my life. For their example, I am grateful.

My mom had an eye for details. She could tell by looking when we had not followed the correct steps when polishing the furniture and wold have us polish it correctly. She noticed things like praying mantis walking down country roads. Her comments made me aware of things in my environment. I’m sure this eye for detail was part of why she was so gifted in science and math.

Most of all, my mom loved and cared for people. I grew up with loving parents and extended family. We had a house full of foster brothers and sisters, along with our friends. We made May baskets filled them with flowers from the garden delivering them to members of the congregation and the neighborhood.  Mom voiced her fears and concerns for others – whether it was a family friend deployed in Vietnam or a church member in the hospital. She was a Girl Scout leader willing to camp in the cold, allow us to get her wet when canoeing,and to eat the food we managed to burn.

Know that you, just like my mom,  impact the lives of those around you. And, Mom, I miss you!

May Resources

Chiot's Run 2011 Calendar

Image by Chiot's Run via Flickr

The month of May is filled with holidays and events for many people. Here are some resources on this blog for a handful of them:

May Day:

Cinco de Mayo:

Mother’s Day:

Older American’s Month:

Older Americans Month Songs

Old man

Image via Wikipedia

May is designated as Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is: Older Americans: Connecting Community.  According to the US Administration on Aging, the theme:

“pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities, and highlights how technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier, and more engaged lives.”

Music can inspire us. Music can engage us. And, music can connect people. Thus, it seems fitting to take  time to share some songs about “old” things that seniors might sing and enjoy. Grab the family and take some time to share these or other music with an older friend. You’ll be glad you did!

Heeding the traffic light

Traffic light in Spain

Image via Wikipedia

For many people, the start of the school year and the passing of Labor Day signals a start to many activities.  For Music Sparks it means sessions are in full swing.  That was my cue for themes this month.

Most of the September sessions have themes to do with being “on the go”.  As one of the group activities, I am allowing people to lead instrument playing using red & green lights/plates.  My August 31st newsletter introduced this theme with many ideas around traveling by land and sea.  The newsletter being released on Tuesday will deal with “High Flying Fun”.  I love singing all these songs about means of transportation and places to visit.  It can also be great conversation starters for most ages.  Consider:

  • To where have you travelled?  What was the most memorable?
  • How did you get there?
  • Where would you like to visit? Why?
  • What is your favorite way to travel?

So, why should we heed the traffic light?

  1. Go/Green –  We oft have places to visit whether it is for work or pleasure.  Make sure you have both types of appointments on your schedule.
  2. Caution/Yellow – Stop & go are important concepts for children to learn especially for safety.  But, learning to wait – observe the yellow light – is a concept we  should also consider.  Slowing down can be important in our lives no matter our age.  Rushing doesn’t allow for much observation of surroundings.
  3. Stop/Red – As the song says “You better stop and smell the roses.  You better count your many blessings everyday.”  Taking time to just be present, to breath, to appreciate is so important for our health and our relationships.

So, heed the traffic lights in your life.  Be sure to use all three lights in your life.

Wishing you joy & peace!

The Love of Toddlers (& Older Adults)


Image via Wikipedia

Some people are surprised by my love of working with older adults and young children.  I find both groups to often have a concentrated playfulness with musical activities.  Both groups require me to plan yet to be flexible and work in the moment.  Both groups enjoy routine but also enjoy novelty in moderation.

Working with the two ages at the same time brings amazing interactions.  Hugs, smiles and laughter are common in these groups.  The older adults reminisce about their children as I set-up and clean up our groups.  Their range of motion observably increases as they play instruments along with the children.  The preschoolers seem to thrive on the positive attention they are receiving from the adults in the group.  Efforts to clearly verbalize names, ideas, and objects seems increased when compared to my preschool music groups. That is why I enjoy offering Intergenerational Classes at Cedarview.  For those in the Hays area with preschoolers, check out this Monday morning class.

Parents of preschoolers all know play is important both for the child to learn and for the parent to have some sanity.  Recently I found an easy to read article on the importance of games: “Toddlers Invent the Silliest Games”.    Author Janet Lansbury shares what can be learned from self-directed play.  As a music therapist, I would encourage making child safe instruments available for self-directed and parent directed play times.  Instruments can be played traditionally as well as allowing for exploration of alternative methods.  Think of all the different sounds you can produce on a hand drum!  As a parent, I often would overhear my daughter singing songs or melodies she had learned at preschool and from me.  My childhood memories include changing song lyrics to meet my moods.

So, be playful as you make music.  Explore the child (and the older adult) within yourself.

* Here are some previous blogs that relate to this children and music:

6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music

Looking for some ideas to use with  your children?  Check out this news article6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music.

For my Father…

My father is a very special man.  He and my mother raised me and my siblings in a house filed with faith, love and music.  Many foster children also shared our lives.  Hearing my dad chant the liturgy, preach a sermon, share a tender moment with a parishioners, was the stuff of my life.  Though the loss of my mother a few years ago was traumatic, he continues to live a life filled with faith, love and music.  So it is, I share this musical tribute in his honor:  

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I love you!

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