The following is a guest post by Amy Kalas Buser, MM, MT-BC. Amy is the owner of Wholesome Harmonies, LLC, where her mission is to support other music therapists in their work with children and teens of all abilities. by providing quality resources to inspire creativity. She offers E-Books, songs and blog posts that provide creative session planning ideas and inspiration.
My husband tells me that our baby is going to grow up thinking her life is a musical.
I must admit, I have to agree.
My baby Brooke is 10 months old and I spend a good portion of the day singing my way through our daily routine and using instruments to calm, excite, and inspire her curiosity.
I always knew I’d use my skills as a music therapist when I became a mom, but I had no idea just how crucial those skills would be in helping me bond with my baby and move smoothly through our daily routine.
Barney’s Clean Up song has made it a breeze to clean boogies off Brooke’s nose and wipe sticky banana off her hands.
“My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” has allowed me to rock and calm her even after she’s gotten shots at the doctor.
The rain maker allowed my husband and I to road trip with Brooke from Miami to NYC when she was just three months old. (No joke…I shook that rain maker for hours.)
Here are some other ways I use music, and specifically singing, each and every day:
Daily Routine Songs
I created a song for each part of our day. I sing a wake up song, a diaper changing song, a cleanup song after each meal, a bath song, and a good night song.
I also create other songs on the spot as needed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sung something like “Mommy’s in the kitchen putting dishes away!” or “Mommy is folding all your laundry!” Sometimes these are just spoken in a sing-songy voice, but the result is a baby who feels like she’s part of what’s going on and is able to connect what I’m singing with what I’m doing.
Personalized Name Songs
I wrote a personalized song just for Brooke using her name. It goes like this:
“B-R-double O-K-E, spells Brooke (cha cha cha), spells Brooke (cha, cha cha), spells Brooke! Brooke is the one I love, Brooke was sent from up above. Ohhhhhhh… B-R-double O-K-E, spells Brooke (cha cha cha), spells Brooke (cha, cha cha), spells Brooke!”
Sometimes we add a shaker during the “cha cha cha” part; sometimes we dance around as we sing; sometimes my husband beat boxes at the end – the options are endless! :)
The incredible thing is – Brooke recognizes her song! There have been countless times that she’s been crying and when I start singing this song she stops, looks up at me, and smiles. I know it’s because she recognizes her song!
We sing EVERYTHING to the tune of “La Cucaracha.” It’s fun and words just seem to fit in perfectly with the catchy melody.
For example: “Your daddy loves you, your daddy loves you, and your mommy loves you too. Your mommy loves you, your mommy loves you, and your daddy loves you too!”
We change the words to fit whatever she’s doing (“You’re eating chicken, you’re eating chicken!” or “We’re washing dishes, we’re washing dishes!”)
This one tends to be an earworm, so I apologize in advance.
Another piggyback song I sing is to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (the part that goes “someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah”).
I changed the words to:
“You’re the best baby in the whole wide world, you’re the best baby in the whole wide world. You’re the best baby in the whole wide world and your mommy and your daddy and your Mimi and your Pop and your grandma and your grandpa (etc, etc, etc for ALL family members!) just love you so.”
Whenever we list all the family members that love her, she giggles and giggles.
I have to say, there is nothing in the world that compares to the look of recognition on Brooke’s face and the smile that emerges when she recognizes all of “her” songs.
Are you a music therapist with a “mama moment” to share? If so, please submit your story, along with a photo and short bio, via email.