Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Making With Our Voices

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music. ~Ronald Reagan

To start our 5 days together, I didn't want to neglect possibly the most obvious - Music Making with Our Voices.  For some, this is a no-brainer, and for others, it inflicts self-consciousness and fear.  Remember, I'm not talking of a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall but quality, meaningful interaction with your precious little ones.  Don't worry about your own perception of your vocal quality.  Kids LOVE music and will gravitate towards it even more when Mom is involved.  Below are reasons I encourage you to sing with your child!

1.  Connection
  • While pregnant with Caleb, I was teaching elementary music full-time.  In the womb, that boy was jammin' to quite an eclectic mix of world music and traditional children's repertoire.  He definitely knew my "singing" voice by the time he entered this world, so why stop?  Enjoying my maternity leave, I sang sweet lullabies, silly made-up ditties, and worship songs to my lil' guy all the time.
  • As he grew older, we sang classics together... "ABC Song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, The Itsy, Bitsy Spider, etc"
  • He took the stage with me to sing on multiple occasions at church.  Sometimes "Jesus Loves Me" and other times the chorus of a song I was singing. 
Singing allows for connection because with little ones, especially, it is synonymous with eye contact and touch!  It's hard to sing a lullaby without cuddling your baby close while gazing into her drifting baby blues.  Likewise, the songs and finger plays so familiar to toddlers and preschoolers involve much movement, and if your house is like mine, the songs end in tickle-piles on the floor. 

Connecting the mother and child voice strengthens the relationship... your CHILD knows YOU partially through the sound of your voice.  Want to be known to him as a caring, compassionate, trustworthy Mommy, hold him tight and tenderly sing sweetly to him.  Want to be known as a Mommy who is engaged, hands-on, and willing to have fun? Might I suggest you need to "Shake Your Sillies Out & Wiggle Your Waggles Away" singing in between laughs no doubt!
2. The Universal Language
  • You have probably heard this said many times before, but I experienced this adage very personally just a few years ago.  Sure, I've been on mission trips and experienced worship services in other languages, and there was no denying the peoples' voices raised in praise absolutely ushered me into the throne room.  Powerful stuff!  However, my own bonding with my sweet Ethiopian princess early on was through music.  Meetcha Day - when we first laid eyes and held our sweet Jeremiah and Rachel was so special.  It was a mixture of charades, pointing, doling out fruit snacks and crackers, playing, and building trust.  Miss Rachel, when she got overwhelmed would want to walk, sometimes holding our hands.  She'd be humming so very faintly in the highest pitched, itty-bitty voice.  I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I began singing simple musical phrases on "La."  I'd look in her big eyes and sing a 4 or 5 note pattern, pause, and she'd repeat it back!  Music geek - I was like "She can match pitch!  Awesome!"  Momma - "Hey... we're bonding!"  Even without the words to say, "I love you, I'm proud of you, I will always be here for you," I had the notes and budding song to say, "I'm not that scary!  I can do what you do!  We CAN do this together."
When emotions are running high, the kids are frustrated in their school work, feelings are hurt, or it's just been a lousy day, how about throw a CD in the player or crank up iTunes and SING!  Watch and see it bring your family back together in close community and affirm the bond you have.  I'm going to go out on a limb and trust it will even transform the rotten moods at least to much more tolerable if not great...  this goes for both Mom and the kiddos. 

3. Worship

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs. ~ Psalm 100:1-2

While music is not the only form of worship, throughout the Bible, we read of people worshiping through joyful song.  As a parent, I know that I want my children to draw near to God, know Him for who HE is, and give all glory, honor, and praise to Him.  One way to usher my children into this right relationship with God is teaching them the very nature of God and the truths found in His word through song, and encouraging them to offer their personal songs of worship and praise to Him. 

4.  God does it!
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17
Wow! If God, the Almighty, Creator of the Universe, delights in me...  rejoices over me with singing - Oh my!  how could I not sing with my little ones?

Suggested Activities to get you started...
  • Sing lullabies to your babies.
  • Gather a collections of age-appropriate childrens' songs (CD's, iTunes, etc)
  • Check out CD's and Finger Play books from your library.
  • Listen & sing-along to the radio in the car
  • Use singing to teach (lots of great songs for math facts, phonics, etc.)
  • Make up call & responses ("I sing - You sing back to me")
  • Have kids sing into a microphone  - don't have one, grab your hairbrush like you did in Jr. High!
  • Record your children singing (My family has some of the best laughs when we dig out the tapes my brother and I made as children.  I was both radio announcer and musical talent - quite comical!)
  • Participate in a Kid's Choir at church.
  • Add singing to your family devotions.
  • Memorize Scripture through song.

1 comment:

Kym Thorpe said...

Great post to start the 5 Days! We have had such fun making up silly new words to familiar tunes to help us learn. And thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, my kids have learned math facts and grammar the way I did!