Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

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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:

Songs of Travel

I-90, Labor Day westbound traffic

Image by WSDOT via Flickr

Labor Day is fast approaching and with it the end of the summer travel season.  As a child, most of my travel experiences involved cars.  AM radio was the rule of the day with stations often fading in and out.  Rather than constantly changing channels, my parents would lead family singalongs.  I learned many a sing-along classic from “We’re on the Homeward Trail” (which my parents would limit to the last couple miles as we drove into our town) to “Tell Me Why” (both the melody & descant lines).  As we got older, we children would contribute folks songs we were learning in school like “Senor Don Gato”.

We also would change words of songs to meet our needs to move in a limited space.  Mind you, I grew up before seat belts came installed in every car. We would change “shout for joy” (not a car friendly sound) to “jump for joy” attempting to touch our heads to the ceiling in the car if we were in the back seat.

Now when I travel with my family, we listen to play lists on our iPods.    When thinking of this topic for my recent newsletter, I thought of many car themed songs including:

  • Route 66
  • Baby, You can Drive My Car
  • On the Road Again
  • Ventura Highway
  • Low Rider
  • The Long & Winding Road
  • Goodbye Yellowbrick Road
  • Hot Rod Lincoln
  • Convoy
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Little Duce Coop

What do you have on your travel play list?  Share your thoughts and I’ll share an actual play list in a few days, too!

Farms & Fairs

In Kansas, county fairs have been happening events.  My last newsletter shared many fun ideas around farms and fairs.  Here’s an extra for those with children!  One of the favorite chicken songs in my preschool group is “I Know a Chicken”.  It is available for purchase at Amazon (click “Fun Things to Buy” then look at Preschool Music and select the album “Whatddaya Think of That?”), i-Tunes and other retailers.  So, breakout your egghead shakers and sing-along!

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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