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Playing with Music at Home: Tips to explore music and connect it to children's learning

10 Ways Babies Learn When We Sing to Them: Listening skills, new words, and so much more

 

Featured Artists and Songs

This month we celebrate Ella Jenkins! Listen to Ella's songs, and read our recent interview on her music and new album! Be sure to come back each month to hear a new selection of children's music—and don't miss the growing archive of children's songs.

Canadian Friendship

Ella Jenkins

 
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Tell us about your music: The songs on More Multicultural Songs from Ella Jenkins reflect my 60-plus years of playing music with and for children across the globe. I draw from my travels and experiences with people from many cultures, and I like to share this with others.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  In order to respond, the children have to listen very carefully so they can imitate the new words and sounds in "Canadian Friendship," though these responses are in English and French. I wrote that song after a trip to Canada.’

For more information, check out our interview with Ella Jenkins!

 
 
© Ella Jenkins
Photo credit: Lynn Orman Weiss
 
I'm Going to Cairo

Ella Jenkins

 
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Tell us about your music:  I'm not a formally trained musician. I don't read or write music; I make it and help others to make it. I like to play with call-and-response, rhythm, rhyme, and movement. 

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  "Going to Cairo" is just a fun play on the sounds of words—e.g., Cairo, Egypt, and Cairo, Illinois. They're spelled the same, but they sound different. Teachers can use a map and point out the places to children as they say and sing these place names. These songs help children experience something new.’

For more information, check out our interview with Ella Jenkins!

 
 
© Ella Jenkins
Photo credit: Lynn Orman Weiss
 
Where is Mary?

Ella Jenkins

 
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Tell us about your music:  I create songs to put everyone at ease. When an adult starts singing, humming or whistling, they're encouraging children to be a part of the music-making. 

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  I play ukulele, harmonica and various percussive instruments, and of course I sing with children in all of these songs. For "Where Is Mary?" the children respond in English and Spanish. In order to respond, they have to listen very carefully so they can imitate the new words and sounds.’

For more information, check out our interview with Ella Jenkins!

 
 
© Ella Jenkins
Photo credit: Lynn Orman Weiss
 
I’m a Little Fish

Laura Doherty

 
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Tell us about your music:  I create fun, upbeat folk-pop music for children.  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  Along with all of the interactions that happen in the song, I like the idea of moving forward in life with someone by your side. It’s a love song really. You can hear mandolin, guitar, bass, keyboard, and great vocal harmonies. You can also find the “I’m a Little Fish” video on YouTube.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song:  An appreciation for ocean life!

 
 
© Laura Doherty
 
Kangaroo

Don Spencer

 
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Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  The Kangaroo is one of Australia's iconic marsupials. It is such an amazing unusual animal and is only found in Australia. People around the world are enthralled and excited to see a kangaroo but in Australia, they can be seen in vast numbers in country and outback areas of Australia. They move effortlessly with such speed and grace hopping on their back legs only. It is an enchanting sight to see. The music is a reflection of their beauty, grace and elegance.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song:  I hope through the words and the rhythm of the music, it can enable children, families or teachers to use their imagination and visualise this unique and wonderful gift of nature.

 
 
© Don Spencer
 
 
Dancing Bear

Bari Koral Family Rock Band

 
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Tell us about your music:  I’m a singer and songwriter for children and families. I love to play music that inspires children and gets them moving. Our band is known for playing folk/pop/rock and I have always played with great musicians. I try to make the music sound great for children and adults!  

Tell us about your song (e.g., any unique instruments used, the origins of the lyrics, what inspired you, etc.):  This song works particularly well for movement and children's yoga. Families can follow the bear’s movement through different yoga poses: the bear is in a tree (try tree pose), the bear is in a boat (try boat pose), a slide (slide pose), and a chair (chair pose). Plus there is lots of dancing! You can see fun examples of the “Dancing Bear” poses on our website.

What I hope children, teachers, and families get from this song:  “Dancing Bear” is a fun song to listen, move, and dance to! This is a great opportunity to teach children poses they will love, even if they find them challenging at first.

 
 
© Bari Koral