How do we start a new music group?

Monday 2nd February 2015
– Julie Wylie

Today we had a new group of mothers and babies starting their music journey with Musical Play. The group was small, with seven mothers and babies. The emphasis was to help the mothers feel at home within the group and to start with singing games that they were familiar with, that promoted relationship based play with their babies.

We sang songs within the babies’ pitch range: middle C-A. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star uses these six notes. We played lap games with a steady beat. The babies were totally engaged as we did “Play and Stop”. Use of dramatic pauses draws everyone into the music game and it was in these pauses that the babies started to vocalise and “sing”. No recorded music was used, so that the babies could listen and respond to our singing. Use of maracas and improvised singing about what each baby was doing, helped the mothers to see and hear how I was following each baby. The babies shook the maracas, tapped them on the floor, mouthed the maracas and sat watching and listening. One baby was very enthusiastic and beamed with pride when I sang his name as he shook the maraca in time to my improvised song.

We did a circle dance singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” together, going into the middle for the contrasting middle section: “Up above the world so high” and walking backwards to our places in the circle for the words: “Like a diamond in the sky”. When the song returned to the repeat of the beginning part of the song, we resumed walking around the circle with the babies. As they were going into the middle, they all became very animated as we came close together, they watched, listened and the mothers were all smiling as we did our simple group dance.

We started with a Hello song, finished with a cuddle song then the “Goodbye Song” The whole session was simple, predictable and musical. The mothers were all involved, singing and interacting with each other. We had a brief discussion about what was included in the session and why :

  • Musical Play promotes close bonding and relationship between parent and child
  • Musical Play promotes playfulness, interaction and turn-taking
  • Musical Play promotes following the child
  • Music provides predictability and structure
  • Musical Play provides enjoyable learning experiences and stimulates healthy brain growth and development
  • Group music builds a strong sense of music community
  • Group music provides positive music role modelling, thus empowering each parent to sing and interact musically with their baby at home, in the car, anywhere.

For further musical play ideas see Julie’s book “MUSIC, LEARNING AND YOUR CHILD”. (Canterbury University Press) Available through our web site here.