- Rudolf Steiner, The Inner Nature of Music
I was just having an email exchange with a friend over music.
Children's music actually.
She wanted to know what children's CD's she should get for her new baby that would be coming in a few months.
This baby is her first child, so she's getting all prepared. Ah, I remember that.
Anyways, I told her...none!
She said "What?". I told her all she had to do was sing to her little one, even now, while still in her belly, and keep singing to her when she arrives.
She launched into this whole discussion about why classical music is best and how playing certain types of music can help the unborn child's IQ and all sorts of other info she'd read or heard about somewhere.
So I laughed and told her to go out and buy all that stuff then...if that's what she thought.
I went on to try and explain that of course music is amazing, wonderful, spiritual, moving, powerful etc... I just believe that the best way for a new little being to experience it is through "real life". For example; sing while you do the dishes, wash the laundry, get dressed, and make breakfast. Make music a part of your everyday life and they will learn and appreciate it way more than leaving on Mozart while they fall asleep...although I'm sure that doesn't hurt.
To be fair, I enjoy singing. I used to sing a lot when I was young and I was very involved in musical theatre, so it comes naturally. Oh how I wish I could play an instrument though! To be able to hold a guitar and be my own guitarist would be a dream come true! I could not get it together and learn how to play...it just did not make sense to me. I kind of forced my husband to learn guitar, but it's not really his thing either. Maybe one of my children will take to an instrument?!!? Little F is asking for Violin lessons these days.
Back to my convo though...
I told her that we tried to bring a lot of real life music into the home and their surroundings, but we did listen to CD's as well. She knows we don't watch TV, so I think she was a bit relieved to hear we didn't throw out all the radios too! I was just trying to tell her that she didn't have to go out and buy 15 kid specific CD's to bring music into her little one's life. Maybe a few good ones that speak to your soul and make you feel good, since that's what your baby will pick up on anyhow.
We like to turn on the music and sing along with it, have it on in the background while we have some down time, or just crank it up and dance! Then there's always the long car ride where you simply have to have the calming effects of familiar tunes, and your own voice is simply not going to cut it!
There are a some amazing children's albums out there that I would definitely recommend to anyone and everyone. I'll share our families top 5.
A Basket Full of Nuts by Lisa McCarthy and Ryan Noble
I wish I had a link to send you to for this one, but you can only pick it up at Maple Village. Try our school store at the May Faire! This is an album done by our Playgroup teacher. She goes through the rythym of the seasons singing all of the circle songs/poems she uses in class. My girls love this album. They know the words to almost all the songs and they sing them on their own daily. Of course it helps that they experience them in class too...
It's a Big World by Renee and Jeremy
This is my favorite children's album. It's a couple who just strum the guitar, harmonize, and infuse every song with love for each other, their child and the world. You can truly feel the love in their music. Each and every song on this album is beautiful. Little E's first solo was Night Mantra from this album, while her big sister strummed the strings on her little guitar. Oh where was my camera for that moment?!? I also really like the way these artists represent themselves too. The have free downloads on their site and you can even get the chords and lyrics for free so you can play them at home right away. How cool is that? In fact, someone who can play guitar should go do that and then come over to our house and we'll all sing together, ok? Check them out here.
You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
This is another sweet, mellow album. Elizabeth Mitchell has taken some old songs and put a new simple twist on them. Her voice is soothing and I love how she has her own kids in the background chiming in. She has quite a few tracks in foreign languages. F's favorite is Zou-san and E's favorite is Little Liza Jane. Her other albums are worth getting too, but this is our favorite. Check her out here. She also is incredibly generous with her music and has free songbooks to download so you can play all the songs on the album yourself.