They were pie-eyed and completely open to anything that came across their path. In this case what came to them was a song on the wind with their names in it.
It was 9 am on a Thursday morning and the children at the child development center were just finishing their good morning activities. I watched and listened to their voices as the teachers led them through their routines.
When they finished, it was my turn. The director introduced me and I began to play a call and response name game with them to see what they would best respond to. We started by extending vowels and calling out “hello” to one another. The older children, ages 3-5, caught on quickly. But the younger ones, 18 mos. – 2 yrs. seemed puzzled by what we were doing and didn’t join in. So I worked with the older ones for about 20-30 minutes. They sat in a circle on the floor with me, two teachers, the director and one mom as I continued the game using their names. Everyone joined in.
The song was in these precious little ones and traveled on the wind of their musical inflections as I showed them how to follow the tones of their names. Their eyes sparkled as they discovered that they could match musical pitches.
If someone was listening close enough, that is.
And that’s where I came in. I heard what was already in them and how they were trying to communicate, then turned their sounds into a spontaneous and natural singing game.
Later, I asked for notes from Michael about how the session went.
“You have to start with the younger ones because their language skills aren’t as advanced.”
“And so the older ones overwhelm them?”
“Yes. The little ones need to be the leaders.”
“Ah, that makes perfect sense to me.”
Each child had a rhythm, a melodic curve, an expression of who they were.
All I had to do was guide them into what they already knew about making music, about singing.
Without informed guidance, most of them will lose this God-given ability before they turn seven.
But maybe if I keep working more than 14 hours a day for SingBabySing, I’ll reach a few to sing the song before I die and leave it all behind me.
A grateful Joybug