Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sing, Sing a Song

I listen to Thumper trying to sing to herself. All her not-yet-two self can bring together from "Baby Beluga" is “baby” which she repeatedly sings as she looks lovingly at the book featuring Raffi’s classic song. She loves music. She responds to it automatically whether a CD is started at home, we encounter some piped in store music or, like yesterday, we hear a pulsing bass rhythm from someone else’s car.

Sadly, we’ve become a culture that doesn’t make music at home much anymore. I’ve known so many parents who won’t sing to their kids because they fear they don’t have good voices. Why should that be a barrier? I have heard stories to the contrary, but for the most part, young children do not care. They love you. The sound of your voice is generally one of the most comforting sounds in the world to them. So try to sing in a soprano voice and be consistent. It’s all you need to do.

Some parents have given me the excuse that they can’t remember any children’s songs. Libraries are full of CD’s with classic kids songs. It won’t take many playings before you will be gleefully reliving your younger years singing “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. I suggest starting with Raffi. He’s heartwarming, generally soothing, and to my ear not at all obnoxious.

Music is wonderful in and of itself, but it is also an extremely important tool for language acquisition and comprehension. Sing today. Don’t wait. Don’t worry about how you sound.

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