About our music: I hope my music allows people to feel that anybody can participate and create their own songs. I grew up hearing a lot of music in my neighborhood. I’d go to the movies (Regal Theater in Chicago ) and was introduced to vaudeville. One of my favorite types of activities I wanted to emulate was tap dancing. I’d go home and try to imitate what I’d heard. My mother added little taps on my shoes so that they’d make the tapping sound. I didn’t study music formally. I love poetry, and I remember reading Langston Hughes’ poems “Living is hard, dying is mean, so you better get a little loving in between. “ I just liked the sound of that.
Music was just something that became a part of me. I even tried to imitate Bing Crosby. I grew up making music informally, starting by imitating sounds that I liked. I hope children aren’t too self conscious about their voices. Imitation can lead to creation.
About this song: “Follow the Leader” is pretty simple, voice and ukulele.
As a child, I remember all sorts of “follow the leader” songs to sing and play along with. Songs like this is are a good way to encourage children to listen and to remember things. When they’re listening, and when they learn the song, rhythm or rhyme, they create their own songs. Each child has the chance to become the leader of the next part of the song. As children get older, they might introduce more rhythms, rhymes and body movements. The game could go on for a long time.
What I hope children, teachers and families get from this song: I hope listeners will sing along and try making up their own music, too. When you’re listening to music – on the radio, TV, etc. – and it’s a melody you enjoy, you’ll try to hum or whistle along. Next, you’ll sing along, and then you might create something of your own.
Each child wants to be important and to be a leader from time to time, so a song like this allows them to take a leadership role in an easy way. In any class, there are some children who always step up to be leaders. It’s very important for the teacher to help other children have the chance to initiate something.