Mr. Mark's Musical Notes February 2014


Mr. Mark's Musical Notes, 2-28-14

Pop Quiz (Multiple choice, I'm making it easy.)

Q. What is your young child's favorite sound in the whole wide world? 

Is it: 

A) Toy commercials?
B) Bulldozers and Backhoes?
C) The Music Together® character Uncle Jerry singing "Don Alfredo Baila" ("R-r-rapido!")
D)Your alarm clock<snooze>going off<snooze>repeatedly<snooze>for an hour<snooze>each morning<stretch>?
E) The voices of primary caregivers, like parents (that would be YOU!), that make a child feel loved and secure and content?

If you guessed E), congratulations! Keep reading below. If you guessed something else, well, please go back to the top of this newsletter and start reading again--Thank you.

Your child dotes on your voice, for all the above reasons (makes her feel content, confident, focused, affection, etc.). When you read picture books to your child, it's your voice that keeps her attention above all else. Even though you are probably not a professional actor hoping to win an Oscar this week. (If you ARE hoping...I hope you win! Um, what was the name of your movie again?...) Just as you don't need to be a voice-over artist to mesmerize your child with a story, so, too, you don't have to be opera-ready to sing a song to your child. Your child LOVES your singing voice, regardless of whatever you think of your singing voice.

By now, you have memorized practically all the song on the STICKS CD. You probably have some of your own versions of some of the songs. ("May, may all, may all children everywhere--GO TO SLEE--EEP!!!")

Why sing? Human interaction is not just key to child development--it is THE KEY to child development. And, as great as the STICKS CD is, YOU interacting with your child is going to trump 44.1kb digitally recorded studio sound every time. Sing along with the CD (Singing "Trot Trot to Grandma's House" on your own in the shower is fine, but singing "Trot, Trot..." in front of your child is more germane to what we're talking about here.) Sing on your own, without the CD (without a net, as we say in the biz)

Here, try this. Every time you get in the car with your youngster, after he's all buckled in and as you are buckling in, sing "Driving in the Car." Your cue will be the buckle: <Click>"Zoom, zoom, driving in the car, here we go, here we go...." One of the cool things about doing this is that you can surreptitiously watch your child in the rear view mirror as you as singing to see how he responds. And just how will he/she respond? I will leave that as an exercise for you, the reader, to definitely try-this-at-home. PS, if your spouse and/or older children are in the car, you ALL have to buckle and sing simultaneously. D'accord!

Children and Music and Development and Science 

Babies' Brains Benefit from Music Lessons, Even Before They Can Walk and Talk.
                     --McMaster University study

This study found indications that even "infants can engage in meaningful musical training" [age appropriate] and that "active musical participation in infancy enhances...musical acquisition" as well as "social and communication development". There are lots of sites summarizing this study. Here's a link to one of them:

Music Together Resources Online

Make sure you avail yourself of the FREE extra resources available to families on the Music Together Corporate Website. There are:

  • stories about the REAL people singing on the CD, 
  • coloring pages (like the pictures from the song book)
  • videos for parents and caregivers, full of instructional stuff
  • even videos to help YOU play some Music Together songs at home on the gee-tar!
  • Other marvelous and magical items as well, I am sure
The web link for these wonderous resources is:


DRIP drop DRIP drop DRIP drop DRIP 

The LONG-short LONG-short rhythm of the chant "Water Play" is a rhythm  used by other long-standing staples of the nursery rhyme genre. So when you're using Water Play at bath time or meal time or whatever time, you can try keeping the rhythm going but swap out the watery words for something else all together.

HUMPty DUMPty HAD a great FALL
ALL the king's HORSEs and ALL the king's MEN
COULDn't put HUMPty toGETHer aGAIN!


JACK and JILL went UP the HILL to FETCH a PAIL of WA-TER (etc)

This rhythm is also used in one of my favorite poems, "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost.

whose WOODS these ARE i THINK i KNOW
his HOUSE is IN the VILLage THOUGH
he WILL not SEE me STOPping HERE
to WATCH his WOODS fill UP with SNOW. (etc.)

Or "The Tyger" by WIlliam Blake

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the Forests of the Night,
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Make up your own chants to the same rhythm. Great way to get dressed with your child, for example.

NOW I'm PUTting ON my SOCKS!
TUG tug TUG tug TUG tug TUG
NOW I'm PUTting ON my SHOES!
PUSH push PUSH push PUSH push WHEW!

The technical name for this Long-short-long-short-long-short-long rhythm is Trochaic Tetrameter, but you already knew that, right?

Spring Session 

The SPRING Music Together session is approaching--first week of April. (Let's hope SPRING is approaching PERIOD!) New collection of songs and silliness--MARACAS! Why don't you just sign up to attend with your child now, while it's still cold outside?


Get a new family to sign up for a Music Together class and YOU get a tuition credit!

Mr. Mark 847-207-2936