Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sing Through the Day

Title: Sing Through the Day: Eighty Songs for Children
Compiled by Marlys Swinger
Country: Various
Pages: 112 pgs.
Rating: 5 out of 5

I first came across Sing Through the Day when I was compiling a list of books related to the Waldorf method of learning. This book of songs comes up on many lists, and I was intrigued. Maya loves music; the songs I have sang to her from birth almost always soothe her when she is upset or having a hard time falling asleep. And I desperately needed to add to my repertoire, I was quickly growing tired of the few songs I knew by heart. 

The songs in the book (with accompanying scores), are categorized mainly by time of day, morning, playtime, nighttime...with other categories such as weather, birthdays, and games, also included. The book includes a CD of many of the songs. While the quality of the CD is not the best, it does help this musically challenged mama learn the tunes. My years of playing the flute mean that I can read music, but I have a terrible time carrying a tune with my voice, and in that way the CD really helped out. The songs are from all over the world, and many include tips on how to incorporate musical instruments, creative play, and fingerplays with the music.

We are having a lot of the fun learning the songs. Proud Missus Sheep is a wonderful alternative to the standard Old MacDonald Had a Farm (a song I was quickly growing tired of) and is easy to learn:
"Proud Missus Sheep, she has a little lamb now, down on Cherry Tree Farm. Hear them together, in any sort of weather, Baaa...Baa...Baaa." (and so on for whatever animals you want to sing about).
Squirrel Nutkin, a Spanish folk tune, is a great accompaniment to reading Beatrix Potter's Squirrel Nutkin. The Japanese Rain Song is also a huge hit in our home. The other day we got stuck out in a thunderstorm. Maya was tired and grumpy, and as we hovered under our umbrella she was quickly getting fussier. I started singing the song, and she immediately calmed down and started smiling:
Underneath my big umbrella, I can hear the rain, 
underneath my roof of yellow singing down the lane.
Pichi, pichi, chapu, chapu,
Rain, rain, rain.

Underneath my big umbrella I can see the sun;
down I bring my roof of yellow for the rain is done.
Pichi pichi, chapu chapu,
Rain, rain, rain.
Some of our other favorites are the Swiss Alpine Song, the Thuringian folk tune The Rooster's Our Watchman, and the Finnish tune Sleep, My Duckling.

I have probably said this here before, but I am a firm believer in the power of music, and horrible singing voice aside, we spend a lot of our day singing and making music. Maya has learned how to bang rhythm sticks together, and loves eggs shakers and maracas. We recently started Music Together classes, so there is no longer any shortage of new music to sing, clap, and dance along to!


Eva said...

Ohhhhhhhh! It took forever to get my niece to start singing, but now she sings with gusto. :D I'll be on the lookout for this for her!

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Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I had this book (an earlier version) when I was a little kid, way back in the 70's, and I have very fond memories of it. I'm looking for a copy now for my own children.

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