In addition to (hopefully) going out like a lamb and the wearin’ o the green for St. Patrick’s Day, March is Sing With Your Child Month.
Before we’re presented with an option to play an instrument, singing in a group is a fantastic tool for educators and parents. It aids in the development of the brain, encourages socialization, and for me was just plain fun. What could be wrong with that? Music was my favorite class when our public school music teacher rolled into school with her phonograph with a wonderful smile and played records and piano and encouraged us to sing along with her. It was all positive, uplifting and so much fun. No worries about being right or wrong, just sing along and enjoy!
Participation in music can increase reading comprehension and contribute to math and problem-solving skills as well, not to mention the social interaction with classmates and skills that are introduced. Singing with the family and peers creates a bond and shared experience that continues into adulthood. I’m reminded of an experience while attending a performance of St. John’s Passion by J.S. Bach. It was a lovely setting, the Washington National Cathedral, and I knew some parts of the Passion, but had never been to a performance in a religious setting. To witness the Easter story presented with choruses, solos and duets was rewarding, but my favorite moments were the chorale settings sung by the congregation. It was as if Bach was asking everyone to reflect on what they had just witnessed in the performance, take note and think about it. And it was enhanced even more when the person in front of me sang the chorales with the chorus in the original German, participating just as Bach had intended for his parishioners.
While some may identify with Bach, others may have a childhood experience of a classic Disney song, or folk music. Remember, just because we’ve heard these folk songs for a long time doesn’t mean they’re out of style; learning your ABCs is a big achievement, and what better connection to have to the alphabet than a song? Check out some of our titles below.
Peg Hoenack. “Songs I Can Play” for individual children or groups. (BRM22100)
Elton John. “The Lion King: Original songs.” Piano solos. (BRT37080)
Milton Okun, arr. “Something to Sing About! The Personal Choices of America’s Folk Singers” (BRM32001)
Doreen Rao. “We Will Sing!” Choral music experience for classroom choirs. (BRT37357)
“Contemporary Disney” Includes Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata, Let It Go, Under the Sea, Written in the Stars, You’ve Got a Friend in Me. (BRM36812)
“The Great Big Book of Children’s Songs” by various composers. Includes The Candy man, Chim chim cher-ee, Meet the Flintstones, Frog went a-courtin’, Happy Trails, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man and many others. (BRM36188)
“The Reader’s Digest Children’s Songbook” (BRM29765)
“Reader’s Digest Family Songbook” 10 volumes. Includes popular old fashioned songs from early 20th century, Gershwin. (BRM29977)
“Sesame Street Songbook” Includes many songs from the show like the ABC song, Bein’ Green, Rubber Duckie, Everyone Makes Mistakes. (BRM33903)
Materials listed above are available to borrow by mail and through BARD. Please contact the Music Section to borrow talking books on digital cartridge or to borrow hard copies of braille music. Call us at 1-800-424-8567, ext. 2, or e-mail us at [email protected]
Here is a link to Resources for Family Engagement from the Library of Congress, including an introduction to braille for children from NLS.
Music connects people in so many ways; start kids off early and they’ll have a connection for life.