Updated: Oct 12, 2020
October - Singing in the home
"Every child is a musical instrument and inwardly feels a kind of well being in sound."
My Mother told me that it was the songs she sang to me when I was a child that I loved more than anything.
I would sing them in my day and I would sing when I went to bed.
To carry a song with you in your heart that you sing each day, is a wonderful way for a child to grow each day and to carry a song with them wherever they go.
When children sing to themselves, it is a sign they are happy.
I felt inspired to choose Singing in the home this month because it's something I felt in my heart that was perhaps something that is easily overlooked and yet it is something so simple that can nourish our lives and the lives of the children we come into contact with and have a positive influence on their well being and development.
Why is music important?
Rudolf Steiner stated in a book on early child education:
" For early childhood, it is important to realise the value of children's songs as a means of education. They must make pretty and rhythmical impressions on the senses; the beauty of sound is to be valued more than words. Dancing movements in musical rhythm have a powerful influence in building up the physical organs and this should likewise not be undervalued."
- Music develops both sides of the brain
- Music teaches language
- Musical participation strengthens the immune system (Lazarev)
- Music alters our emotional state through it's relationship with respiratory function
-The music of language is often performed by children long before they are ready to speak
-The brain retains memory through music and rhythm
- The vibrational stimulations from music can also produce dopamine in the brain which can support well being and pain relief
-Music can be a form of speech training and can enrich vocabulary
-Singing, talking and reading with your child support speech and development
Lazarev's theory of prenatal development.
" Mama's voice is the main instrument in his pre -natal education. This is tuning fork to attune the strings of the soul to vibrations of the outside world, to get into a universe of human culture. These vibrations are the first to form the deepest structures of his personality."
There has been much research over the years in how young children develop and learn during the early years. The early years environment is key in creating the best conditions for learning and development throughout life. Children are curious and progressive learners from the very start of life. Young children are influenced greatly by their surrounding environment with their relationships to parents which is crucial for brain development . Sharing songs and rhymes with young children from birth benefits young babies and children vastly. Mother's have sung to their children for generations and research has found that babies are particularly responsive to the sound of the mother's voice.
What does singing bring into our family life?
Singing brings a feeling of safety, love, and connection and Joy into our homes.
It also supports your children's overall well being and development.
I often feel like when I feel a little low and I sit with George at the breakfast table for circle time when I sing and the candle is lit I immediately brighten up, I suddenly feel lifted in the gentle melodies I sing which also bring me a great, deep feeling of love, belonging and brightness to my heart.
Singing lifts our spirits and reminds us that we are much greater than we realise.
I also reflect particularly on videos of African people I have seen dancing and singing, and I am reminded of the great joy they have in singing and dancing.I wish our culture danced like that, It looks like a wonderful community experience. That same joy is within me when I also sing. Music is very powerful. For music is a vibration and we all vibrate at different frequencies. So music is a powerful way of lifting our vibration.
Confidence in singing to and with our children
The meaning of confidence is the willingness to try.
I remember a couple of years ago when I first had the idea of setting up a Waldorf parent and child group.
I had all these thoughts come into my mind and these worries such as:
" I will need to have singing lessons."
" I am not a good enough singer."
" What if I look stupid and forget the words."
" What if people say she sings out of tune."
"What if I don't know enough about Waldorf, what if I can't answer people's questions"
I also said to myself, "someone else will be better than me, I will wait for someone else to do one."
Your brain is a funny old thing. It tries to keep us safe. But in the trying to keep us safe it can stop us from reaching new heights. We have to go out of our comfort zone and get uncomfortable to grow. It is our job to push through those feelings and challenge them. So I started spending more time singing in general and at home, because it turns out we can all sing, and I actually really enjoy singing. I feel joyful and happy and content when I sing. I realised that the only thing I needed to do was to have a willingness to try, an open heart to just give it a go if it was something I really wanted to do. Because the truth is creating a group was out of my comfort zone to some extent. I mean I have created and taught courses to adults before with large groups, I have worked with children, I have spoken at events and documented peoples weddings, I have documented families all over the world, I have done much bigger engagements that were out of my comfort zone I realised that these were natural feelings of discomfort but that it certainly wasn't anything that I wasn't absolutely capable of doing and doing well. It was that understanding I had that made me realise that I could do this, and maybe that someone was me!
I see now, how nourishing that first parent and group was, and all the lovely words people spoke about it, How they felt, how connected and simple and beautiful it was. I realise that it is something to be shared because it's not just about me, it's about the community and how I had this desire to give to my community. The understanding that I didn't have to be the best singer or know everything, I just needed to be humble and willing to have a go and learn and to be there to support parents and children and that actually I can do just as good a job as anyone else could. This is why I work through the negative talk now because who's to say you can't do something out of your comfort zone, that you can do something that you really love. No one can stop you. Go and have a willingness to give it a go. it's OK to learn as you go along.
How do you feel about singing at home?
Would you like to sing more than you do?
It's possible! It's all about getting into a Rhythm
Singing lullabies at night time is a good place to start as I think it is one we are most familiar with as mothers rocking the babies to sleep. Slowly bring in a good morning song, seasonal songs outside along nature walks, circle time, baking, transition through the day for washing hands and before you know it you are singing more and more and bringing more and more joy into your home.
We become more confident as we do it each day and built up a memory of songs we regularly sing. It's also a lot of fun to make up your own little songs too.
Singing also roots a child is his culture and plays a valuable part in appreciating and learning about other cultures too and awakening to our world. The Earth we live on has much richness and diversity within in, how wonderful to offer this is something as simple and delightful as songs from all around the world.
Using the Pentatonic scale
The pentatonic scale is a scale or (mood of the fifth phrase id often used in Waldorf circles) is found in music all over the world. It is from the most ancient times. Parts of the scale are used quite naturally with children in their games and popular phrases like " I'm the King of the castle and your the dirty rascal" and " I'm coming, ready or not!" in hide and seek! The tunes that are played using the pentatonic scale are always harmonious.
" If a child has a firm grasp of the five pillar tones of the pentatonic scale, he will later find it easy to fit in the half step between them."
The pentatonic scale is a scale using 5 notes. You will know Twinkle Twinkle little star, this uses the pentatonic scale. The scale magically creates this safe and dreamy feeling for young children as the tunes do not have an end note and could go on forever and ever.
Young children are very content with listening to these simple songs and melodies using the pentatonic scale and these songs are very simple for adults to learn, memorise and sing.
What songs shall I sing with my children?
With young babies traditional nursery rhymes, finger rhymes and songs are wonderful as well as lullabies.
Songs that are in the mood of the fifth (pentatonic scale) are also wonderful.
Seasonal songs as you follow the seasons.
I recommend Candy Vernys books. These books have brought us a lot of joy in our home singing these simple tunes throughout the day and seasons. They also come with a CD which is more for use to learn the songs as oppose to playing it. Your voice is the voice your children want to here. It is heart - warming for the children.
The Singing day - contains songs for throughout the day as well as nursery and traditional rhymes
The Singing Year - contains songs to sing through out the year seasonally
We sing many of the songs from these books throughout the year in The Rooted Family -Waldorf Parent and Child Group.
The Heartbeat of the Home
I recently created a course which is all about the Heartbeat of the Home. It's all about learning more about the importance of Rhythm for supporting young children. Within that Rhythm, music is an important factor and I talk about singing and how to use it in the home through transitions and to create a more flowing day for your children to help them to feel more secure. If you would like to find out more about it I will be teaching it again now in February 2021. It is a 5 week self paced course and includes written words, audios and videos. You can find more information about the course details here.
I believe that music and singing are a key part of life and Rhythm within our homes.
I encourage you to reflect over the coming month about your own experiences of singing, and song in your own childhood and what memories these conjure up for you. I encourage you to reflect on the importance of childhood and what singing brings to your children and the children in our community. Singing brings people together. I encourage you to sing your heart out and sing as you do your washing, as you go about your day when you feel sad sing a merry tune and you will lift yourself higher. Notice how singing makes you feel. Your children love the sweet sound of your voice, you don't need to be a professional singer to sing and enjoy singing with your children. You just need an open heart and a willingness to try and that it more than enough.
Love and Joy