Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

White Sand and Grey Sand September 21, 2012 Widgets

Here is my first post in a long while! Now I am trying to incorporate our music group into this blog. So here is my first attempt at using a widget to access some of the music we are using in our class at the moment.

While this recording uses different words than what we use in class, it is the correct melody.

We sang about sticks: red sticks and yellow sticks; who will play the red sticks? Who will play the yellow sticks?

Blue sticks and green sticks; Who will play the blue sticks? Who will play the green sticks?

I sang this phrase through once, then hummed it while handing two children a pair of sticks to play. I did this until all the children had sticks (and the adults). This required the children to wait to receive a pair of sticks, rather than everyone attacking the pile of instruments at one time. We all know this is good for practicing those skills related to patience and waiting one’s turn.

Once everyone had a pair of sticks, we played them on the floor, clicking them together at different heights (in front of lap, above head, etc.). All the while, we sang the melody with different syllables: la la la, dum dum dee dum dum, doo doo doo, etc.

Once we know the melody:

This song makes a great round- in fact, it is a round! We will sing this in class as a round. The children are not expected to do this, but having them hear what we are doing will plant the seeds to get them ready for harmony one day! Until then, we will sing about sticks and maybe other fun things like leaves, fruit, or whatever else we want to focus on.

And a side note:

Thanks for being patient while I get this figured out- I think I posted prematurely here, but should be up and running smoothly in no time!


Singing to an Infant: Lullabies June 25, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 11:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lullabies have been the muse that lures babes to sleep for, well, a very very long time. It is quite natural to sing to a baby. Almost every culture has some form of a lullaby. Lullabies help promote sleep, increase bonding, boost confidence and trust (part of the rhythm, something to anticipate or something expected), and can be soothing to a restless babe.

With our daughter, we sang spirituals and an English song called Ten Green Bottles. It was difficult to sing to Gabriel in the early months because he was colicky and the only thing that soothed him was shhhhing. Now that he isn’t crying all the time, I have been using lullabies to soothe him during his bedtime routine and prepare him for that wonderful slumber. This also helps me keep the routine straight. This way, even if it gets a little off track, I can keep the same basic rhythm leading to bedtime because it is guided by song. This doesn’t exactly put him to sleep every time, but it is a start!

Here is the rhythm I use for now (at 4 months):

      1. Short song to announce bath time (I wrote).
      2. After bath, during massage and dressing I sing All the Pretty Little Horses. I usually end up improvising some and changing words until we are finished.
      3. During his bottle, which is the only time I don’t nurse him, I sing Edelweiss. It’s not a typical lullaby, but it is very soothing and lovely to hum.
      4. After he has finished eating, I rock him and walk around singing the spirituals. Usually Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or Goin’ Down That Lonesome Road, residuals from when we sang Briony to sleep. If it goes on longer, I bust out the Ten Green Bottles.

Since using these songs, I am better able to keep a consistent routine. This is part of our sleep plan and part of our colic recovery. More on that in other posts.


Singing to an Infant: Spirituals June 16, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 9:24 am
Tags: , , ,

When our first child was born, my husband and I had just quit the choir.We were still in choral music mode and much of what we sang to her was from our choir repertoire.

Interestingly, this tended to be spirituals. Nothing felt better while walking a little baby around, dead tired and completely out of our depths, than a little Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or Going Down That Lonesome Road.

There is something about the Spiritual that embraces the feeling of having all your resources taken from you, yet wanting nothing more than to press on. Ah, parenting. The music is simply beautiful. Lilting melodies, repetitive strains, and if you have someone to sing with you, the potential for some fantastic harmonies.

Spirituals were often used as codes by slaves who were trying to reach freedom. This is not to imply that I feel parenting is anything one needs to escape or that it is like being a slave (well, maybe it is a little like being a voluntary slave). I’m simply focusing on the music here. The inspiration and motivation embedded in the music lives on through these songs, and I can feel it whenever I sing it. Hopefully, our baby can feel it, too.


The Songs of Parentsong June 4, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 10:08 am
Tags: , ,

Okay, so far my entries have not even mentioned music or songs, the very thing that inspired me to start this blog. As I said in my first post, we sing to our daughter (and now this includes our son) all day. Not literally, but probably about ten or more times throughout the day. Part of this feeds our need to be making music (we both quit the choir once Briony was born). And part of this is to help explain what is happening throughout the day and develop a musical mind in our children.

I’ll showcase different songs we sing with our children at different developmental stages and how we use them. I’m not going to go all out and analyze the music- that is too academic for me right now.

What kind of songs do we sing?

Some songs will be old favorites (think Camptown Races), some will be songs recorded by musicians that we play on a CD (though this is a rarity for the babes under 2), and others will be songs from Nick’s side of the world (that would be England) or little ditties that I wrote.

Many songs come from our experience in the Joyful Parenting program at Morning Glory Children, a Waldorf inspired early childhood experience and kindergarten in Doylestown, PA. It is one of our morning songs. I love it because it is very sweet and greets nature along with the children in the morning. It also has some pretty groovy hand movements.

            Good morning dear earth, Good morning dear sun

            Good morning dear flowers, and stones everyone

            Good morning dear beasts, and the birds in the trees

            Good morning to you, and good morning to me

I’m working on figuring out how to incorporate video here, so I can demonstrate the songs. That is a mighty task for a one-handed, sleep-deprived, technologically-challenged individual.