I’ll admit I can be pretty ungrateful when it comes to gifts! Especially toys for my kids. Every January my house is full of flashy looking plastic things that don’t really do anything! The boys spend 30 seconds exploring each one, never to be touched again.
It’s such a waste of money and such a waste of plastic and I’ll admit it gets me down. I’d rather have nothing, truly!
But some of our toys are amazing. Which ones have value?
Toys that encourage and inspire creativity – and therefore endless enjoyment. I’m looking at you Lego!! The ones that have multiple uses so even when one activity is exhausted, they can be reused again for something else. Ones that grow with the kids so when their skills develop the toy can still meet their needs.
I feel the same way about songs!
Row Friends Row is one great example that I use in both my Kodály Piano Lessons and my Kodály Music Classes
Ages before time signatures my students act out the rowing. The physical pull of the oars will map to the strong beat. We then follow “Helen’s microsteps” (need to trademark that) exploring heart icons, duple metre actions, bars, bar-lines and time signatures.
Presenting crotchet rests
Once they are really confident feeling the beat we can draw out heart icons to represent those beats and it’s so easy then to explore the rhythm. We can use small toys or lego bricks to work out which beat has one sound, which has two and… low and behold… some of the beats have NO SOUNDS! The perfect song for the discovery and presentation of the crotchet rest – a beat with no sound.
Singing something different AT THE SAME TIME? It’s hard and they know it, so it feels amazing. When they are pulling their strong oars they say “strong, strong, strong” and I sing the song. It’s the simplest form of ostinato and a great introduction to part work.
What song is this?
Humming the melody of the song for them to guess is one of our favourite games and so beneficial to their pitch development. Some songs are too similar, but this one is fab.