Did you know that this Saturday, February 27 is National Polar Bear Day?! I didn’t either, until I saw it posted on Instagram, including a mention of my original “Polar Bear” song. Of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to celebrate these beloved creatures AND share one of the most popular songs in my entire collection.
My little students should be experts at counting to 5 by now, because we have included a song for that goal in every single one of our early childhood music classes since August. So far we’ve counted apples, pumpkins, and trees.
This session we’re counting snowflakes, and of course we have our visuals (laminated snowflake cutouts) to accompany the song. Our kiddos love gathering around and pointing to each snowflake as we count, and then they ALL want to help take one away at the end of each verse. It’s times like this that I’m happy to have my intern, Alisabeth, by my side managing the chaos ;)
We have another counting song in the works for our next session, which begins in mid-February. At the end of the summer, it will be so neat to have an entire collection. In the meantime, if you want a colorful and musical resource for counting to 10, check out this resource I put together a few years ago.
Members of Listen & Learn Plus! have access to all of the above in our shared Dropbox folder. Membership includes just about everything else in my resource library and collection — come over and join us!
As I type this blog post, there are snowflakes flying outside my office window. It’s no secret that I am not a fan of winter, and luckily the Midwest hasn’t been hit too hard with the white stuff so far this year.
I shouldn’t speak too soon, though, because we are expecting almost two inches on Thursday; good thing I’m prepared with plenty of snow-themed songs! The newest addition to the collection is Snowflakes, Snowflakes.
One of my favorite types of songs to use in music therapy sessions and classes is that with varying dynamics or tempos, and this falls into the latter category (going from slow to fast). My kiddos are always up to the challenge of playing their instruments along “even faster” — sometimes it’s hard to keep up with them!
Falling to the ground
Down they come without a sound
Little ones, big ones
Swirling from the sky
Down they fly
(Repeat, getting faster each time)
Last week’s song featured a picture of a ukulele on a sandy beach…so this is just about as opposite as it gets! But it is January, after all, so I’m getting in those wintery songs while I can.
I actually wrote “Clackin’ On the Ice” in just a few minutes while putting together my Church Mice curriculum for this session. I needed a song that would go well with rhythm sticks and provide the opportunity for changing dynamics.
When I use this in person with my little mice, we start by singing and playing loudly. Each time we repeat the verse, we get softer and softer. In my recording, I reflect the gradual diminuendo by removing instrumental and vocal lines after each verse.
The rhythm sticks make the perfect “clackin’ on the ice” sound, though castanets would work very well, too. It might also be neat to experiment with vocal ostinatos and other instruments for a really progressive sound. I love a song that covers all kinds of objectives and provides so many fun possibilities!
Ask any of my friends or family and they’ll tell you: Rachel is NOT a winter person! I despise the cold and am deathly afraid of driving in any kind of hazardous weather condition.
So when I saw that snow was in the forecast this past week, I ran all of my errands and did my grocery shopping for the week. The next day I was able to admire the freshly fallen snow, only because I didn’t have to step foot in it. Have I mentioned how much I love working from home?!
I know that all of my students are enjoying the (very delayed) first real snowfall of the year, and I’m happy that all of these snowy songs are getting some play. But come February, I think I’ll be ready for spring! ;)