The Value of Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes contain all the rhythmic movement patterns of early childhood: walking, running, skipping and galloping. They provide young children with a rich musical vocabulary of rhythmic patterns, melodies/tunes, emotional expression and predictable phrases that they can incorporate into their own musical play. With practise, children delight in making up their own songs and words based on this nursery rhyme vocabulary.

Nursery rhymes have a predictable musical form with a clear beginning, middle and end. This helps children to anticipate each phrase of the song, and to join in with singing, gesture and movement. Think of the universal favourite nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. This song has six notes all within the child’s pitch range C-A.  The song starts and ends the same way, the middle section is repeated. The song is simple, predictable and highly memorable.

You can play this on a set of chime bars. The notes are:

C C G G A A G, F F  E E D D C, G G F F E E D, G G F F E E D, C C G G A A G, F F E E D D C.

It can also be played using the numbers of the notes:

1 1 5 5 6 6 5, 4 4 3 3 2 2 1, 5 5 4 4 3 3 2, 5 5 4 4 3 3 2, 1 1 5 5 6 6 5, 4 4 3 3 2 2 1

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Singing and dancing to nursery rhymes promote listening, timing (being able to move sing and play in time with others), expression and playful interaction. The nursery rhymes include much use of predictable phrasing, accent, word patterning, dramatic expression and repetition. Rhythmic patterning lays the foundation for language.

As well as nursery rhyme play and lap games, rhythmic babbling games can be played without the need for words. Baa, baba, baa, dada, dada, daa.   Track 3 “Rock-a-Bye Blues. Rhythmic patterning starts firstly with the mouth and vocal babbling. Play echo games together.  Let your baby or young child be the vocal leader. Copy your child’s vocal sounds and gestures. These echo games help the young child to develop listening, singing and turn taking skills. By validating your child’s offerings, the child learns to become a proud performer.  Julie Wylie CDs “Sing Baby Dance Baby and “Sing and Play” contain many catchy nursery rhymes, songs and lap games that promote tuneful singing, steady beat, rhythmic patterning and musical play.

 Saturday 12th July 2014
– Julie Wylie


Testimonials

Thank you for your wonderful presentation at the IRMTNZ conference Julie. I had so many comments about how inspiring your session was.

Katherine Jones, President of Canterbury Branch, Institute of Registered Music Teachers of New Zealand IRMTNZ
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