Thursday, 20 September 2018

Trains and rocket ships!

Trains and rocket ships!

Here at Do Re Mi, we work with tiny babies right up to year 6 children who are age 11 and everyone in between. Our Musical Learning baby classes welcome babies who are only a few weeks old, our nursery caters for older babies up to age four, and our after-school musicianship classes continue the musical journey right through the primary school years. I love the challenge of working across such a huge age range, as it means every day is different!

We have a huge bank of songs and resources, and I will always choose material appropriate for the age group I’m working with. However, it is often possible to use the same song and adapt it in different ways, which is great as it retains that familiarity which is so important for young children. Using one song in a variety of different ways is something I find particularly interesting, and I thought I’d share a couple of examples as it gives a real insight into how we work musically with the children.

Up like a rocket
One of our favourite songs at Do Re Mi is “Up like a rocket” which we use in the baby room, lifting the babies gently up, down, forwards and backwards in time to the beat. This physical movement in time to the beat helps them to develop a sense of pulse. Once mobile, we use this rhyme in our Diddies and Explorers room, and our Musical Learning classes, where the children are encouraged to jump up and down independently, helping with both physical and musical development. By the preschool room, we play around with the rhyme, often challenging ourselves to perform the actions without saying the words and seeing if we can stay in time with the beat!

Engine engine number nine
Another example is the rhyme “Engine engine number nine” which is also our rhyme of the week this week. If you haven’t already seen the video of some of our preschool children performing this beautifully, check it out on our Facebook page. We introduce this rhyme with our little ones around about age two, as it has a strong beat and a lovely rhyming structure that they can tune in to. Our Diddies and Explorers love to pretend to be a train in a circle and listen to us chanting the rhyme clearly, joining in with more and more words as they develop.

By the time we reach the preschool room, the rhyme is so familiar that we can start playing around with it to encourage more musical development. We perform it quietly or loudly, fast or slow, and we can change our destination to keep us on our toes. We also introduce the train whistle at this age, to enable the children to explore different timbres and have a go at playing a simple instrument in time to the beat (and most importantly, trains whistles are great fun!).

In our school age musicianship classes, we use this rhyme to discuss the difference between the pulse of the music that never changes, and the rhythmic patterns that lay over the top which can change. We tap or stamp the beat, but we clap the final line “yes, no, maybe so” and identify the rhythmic pattern on a rhythm card. This forms the beginnings of reading musical notation.

Hopefully this blog has given a little insight into how we can take a simple song or rhyme, introduce it at a young age to bring familiarity and confidence, gradually developing different activities and techniques that mean our primary age children can begin to read and write music for themselves. That’s the Do Re Mi difference!

As always, if you’d like any more information about anything here at Do Re Mi, please do get in touch.

Lizzie x

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