Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘Preschool education’

Singable Books: Nursery Rhyme Songbook

I have noticed that fewer children are able to repeat  many traditional nursery rhymes. Many are tied to music. But, I found a source that is helping keep them alive. The “Nursery Rhyme Songbook: A Delightful collection of Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Stories” is published by Amsco Publication. Containing 35 songs, 3 poems, and 5 stories, this book would make a great starter for a parents library to share with a child as well as being a great resource book for childcare providers.

Most of the stories and songs are familiar and traditional with simple, colorful illustrations. The songs are presented in a format playable on piano, guitar, or autoharp. The poems are short, anonymous rhymes sure to delight both child and adult.

Check out this singable book and enjoy some traditional fun.

Planning Made Easy with Themes

Pattern 02

Whether it is for a month, a week, a day, a session, I love building off a theme. It doesn’t matter if I am planning for a preschool music group, older adult music therapy session, or an intergenerational session, I love using a theme.  Why use a theme? Here are the top four reasons .

Themes provide structure to the session.  They help me determine sensory items to bring, songs on the topic, sound clips, pictures, questions.

Themes challenge me to try new things. Often themes push me out of my comfort area. Leading a session for older adults to expose them to different cultures, different countries makes me learn new information, new music, to think out of the box. I love asking for their ideas, too. Putting them in charge gives them purpose.

Themes make it easy to incorporate others materials. While I maintain my general format for groups, using a theme gives me an excuse to share something new with the members of the group. I use various tools/methods of presenting to make the most impact for that group. This was especially true when I worked full-time in Activities. I could find movies, word games, books, famous people, food, art work all on themes. It meant everyone could gain exposure to the theme by participating in their favorite activities.

Themes make planning easy. It means gathering a set of materials for use on that day, week, or month. I feel I get more bang for my buck if I purchase something I can use several times. Now that I provide services to a variety of clients (older adults and preschoolers) I can still find ways to connect many of the  materials. My aim with using a theme is to create continuity for myself and my clients. Themes have guided who I invited for guest presentations. I could go to one website and use the material in multiple ways.

I hope these ideas on themes have helped create some interest in the topic. My July 23, 2011 issue of SPARKSwill be dedicated to this topic. It will be filled with some of my favorite resources and lots of help for others wanting to try planning their own themes. Also, you can click to hear my conversation with Janice Harris, MT-BC on this topic!

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Who are my clients? (Part 2)

On Tuesday I shared a definition of older clients with whom I wish to work in Part 1. Today, I will share my definitions for preschoolers (or maybe I should say the adults in a preschooler’s life).

I do not want to work with you if you:

  • don’t want to join in the activities
  • expect your child to sit quietly for a half hour
  • think your child is too disabled to join in a group
  • don’t see older adults as having something to offer your child
  • don’t enjoy interacting with your child
  • don’t enjoy music

I want to work with you if you:

  • enjoying sharing your musical gifts (yes, we all have them) with your child and others
  • are willing to work with me in finding the appropriate placement for your child to grow
  • look at the abilities and growth potential of a child
  • share a vision of a world strengthen though the interactions of the generations
  • create music in non-session times of life
  • enjoy humor and laughter
  • realize life is sometimes noisy and sometimes quiet
  • enjoy seeing a child be creative

If you live in the Hays, Kansas area and this sounds like something for your child, click here to learn more about classes offered.

If you believe your child would benefit from personal music therapy sessions or adaptive music lessons, please contact me at: .

If you would like some ideas for adding a little music to your child’s life or you are unable to join in these classes, I encourage you to sing up for my FREE newsletter – SPARKS!

Fall 2011 Themes

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

Image via Wikipedia

While spring has just begun, all too soon I will receive an email from the Hays Recreation Commission asking for my fall and winter classes (September 2011 through March 2012)  So, I am in the planning stages for my fall 2011 preschool groups.  I have the school district calendar out and am looking at dates. Contacts are starting to go out to some of my resources and our session hosts for approval.

From my conference and my mind, I have so many ideas floating around my mind. That means, it is time for you to share your theme preferences. You have a week to place your vote! 

Your vote will help create some fun learning opportunities for the Hays area preschoolers.

Time Songs for Children

Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit - Who Killed...

Image by Brandon Christopher Warren via Flickr

Time is a concept that can be difficult to grasp.  With preschoolers, I tend to focus on seasons of the year and daily occurring events (breakfast, playtime, bath time, bedtime to name a few).  Here are a few songs that go along with the general idea of time. Some are for singing; some are for movement & playing activities.  Others are for discussion.

  • All Night, All Day (Gospel)
  • Good Night Ladies
  • House on Pooh Corner
  • My Grandfather’s Clock
  • Rock Around the Clock
  • Syncopated Clock
  • Hickory, Dickery, Dock
  • Time to be Happy

Here are a couple of non-affiliate sites that have songs for preschoolers:

  • Songs for Teaching – They have songs about seasons, calendars, and reading the clock for purchase.
  • Listen & Learn Music – Rachel Rambach has some very affordable music songs about seasons and months to check out.

If you are interested in books for children, here are a few suggestions:

  • A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel Hutchins
  • Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins
  • It’s About Time by Stuart Murphy
  • Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
  • Telling Time with Mama Cat by Dan Harper
  • The Clock Struck One: A Time-telling Tale by Trudy Harris

Do you have other songs or books you use when talking about time with toddlers & preschoolers?  Please share them under comments!

    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:

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