"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!" (Psalm 95:1)
By Jody Courtney
"Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things." (Psalm 98:1)
"Let them sing for joy on their beds." (Psalm 149:5)
Can you just see a little child doing any of these things? Surely he is a noisemaker. And we know she is apt to sing her own songs to herself at play; and isnÂ’t bedtime a perfect time for a soft lullaby? Music should be a very heartfelt type of poetry that comes from within rather than for artful excellence only.
HOW WE DO IT
Children love to sing and be sung to--even if the mother is a bit off-key. In our home, we have sung everything from old folk songs, patriotic songs, songs in round, and hymns. I have always sung to the children when they were babies and the singing continues on into their teens. I usually play guitar to accompany our singing, but not always. We also sing acappella (no instruments) and with tape recordings. Some of the children have learned the piano and so we have another accompaniment. We've especially enjoyed the Lester Family tapes of acappella music in rounds, cannons and hymns. The children like to play their own instruments also which happen to be common household items. Below, I have listed some of our favorite songs and instruments to give you a taste of music in our home.
Shortnin' Bread - Skip to My Lou - Git Along Little Dogies - Dinah - Oh Susanna! -
Camptown Races - Wait for the Wagon - Down in the Valley - Erie Canal
Yankee Doodle - You're a Grand Old Flag - When Johnny Comes Marching Home - Dixie Land - Battle Hymn of the Republic - America the Beautiful - Battle Cry of Freedom
SONGS IN ROUND
Row Row Row Your Boat - Are You Sleeping/Frere Jacque - Canoe Song - Horsie, Horsie! - Upward Trail - The Merry Lark
This is My Father's World - Fairest Lord Jesus - Great is Thy Faithfulness - Doxology -
What a Friend We Have in Jesus - Jesus Loves Me
Because these are some of the younger children's favorites, these may be sung at any time of the year in our home! Often when I ask for requests, my youngest always hollers for Jingle Bells!
Silent Night - The Holly and the Ivy - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! - I Heard the Bells - Up On the Housetop - Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer - Away in a Manger
We are known to use a variety of instruments during our family singing time. Every household has the basics for our rhythm band instruments.
Spoons: two held between thumb, index finger and middle finger and clapping against the other hand and the leg while sitting.
Wooden Spoons: one in each hand and hitting together to the beat of the music.
Pan Lids: either clanging together as a cymbals or one lid played with a wooden spoon tapping to the beat of the music.
Sandpaper Blocks: two wooden blocks with rough sandpaper stapled to edges and rubbing together to the beat or as an accent.
Drinking Glasses: filled with water to different heights, they make a nice ringing sound when gently tapped with a utensil or wooden spoon handle.
Cheeks: mouth opened in an O-shape, tightened cheeks and tapping gently with the hands. Open and close mouth to make different pitches of sound.
Lips and Teeth: practice whistling a tune through the lips or teeth.
Hands: practice clapping different beats and times (4/4 and 3/4), snapping of fingers.
Voice: singing or making your "joyful noise!"
I have found that whenever I tell the children to go get their instruments for music time, they know just what to choose and what we will do with them. Often it becomes a mass of noise, but with the proper help, they can learn to tap out a beat easily. Mother or Dad must be conductor to help clap or show the beat by up and down hand movements.
Just recently I purchased some rhythm instruments from Suzuki. I knew that the children would enjoy some special instruments that would enhance our music time. I chose a triangle, tone block and mallet, maracas, rhythm sticks and bongos for an older child. These rhythm instruments can be purchased very inexpensively and may spark your childÂ’s interest in music.
We also enjoy listening to good music in our home. We have a variety of music too! We like anything from classical to country/western to folk songs to 50's to some pop. If it's good music, we like it!
I did not grow up listening to classical music and so I learned to appreciate it and enjoy it while homeschooling our children. It is amazing how easily a child (or a mother) can pick up on a different composer's music as they casually listen to CD's throughout their lives. I do not demand deep study into the lives of the composers or their styles, but rather choose to gently expose them to the great composers by simply playing it in our home. Soon they find their favorites and even ask for one! "Mother, please play Brahms at Bedtime while we fall asleep."
I have found some fun CDs, by Classical Kids, that introduce the children to some of the great composers. They are in story form and introduce the child to select music of the composer as well. Our favorites are Mr. Bach Comes to Call and Beethoven Lives Upstairs.
Music has been used for centuries to pass on legends, poetry, stories and history. It has been used to sooth crying children in the middle of the night, for dance, for celebrating, in mourning, to learn multiplication tables, to memorize scripture, and just for the plain fun of it! I hope you have found encouragement to give your children the gift of music in your own home.
About the Author
Jody is a mother of five children ages 16, 14, 12, 10, 8. She has been a stay-at-home mom and wife who lives on a ranch in MT doing everything from dishes to gathering cows from pasture. She has been homeschooling the children from the beginning through high school.
Visit Jody at Home-made Living, her homepage.