Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2017! This is Canada’s 150th Birthday. Very exciting. We will be doing lots of Canada songs in the classroom this Spring. Mr. I and the Rainbow Singers will also perform their most wonderful CANADA SHOW this year again at local festivals and other events. Getting the CD ‘IN CANADA‘ is a must this year! See you soon, eh!


RECITALS (for parents): This is the time of year that students are preparing for recitals coming up at Christmas time. Being comfortable on stage in front of an audience is an important part of being a musician. I do believe it is best to start this when the children are young. Yet, if they are not ready they should not be pushed to perform. Tell your children how much you enjoy when they sing or play their instruments for you. They will be proud to be on the stage and be performing for you and the family. If you do not know the melody to the songs your children are preparing for the recitals simply help them with the lyrics. The younger ones especially will benefit from simply sounding out the words. Once they are with their group and hear the melody it will all fit naturally. If your child makes a fuss about going on stage on recital day, go up and sit with them. Or, if they are still fussy, simply allow them to sit with you and watch the others.


RECITALS (for teachers): When rehearsing for recitals I like to have at least THREE dress rehearsals. During the dress rehearsals go over everything involved in putting on the concert. Rehearse the passing out and collecting of instruments, the movement on the stage, actions. Rehearse the song in a variety of ways to keep it interesting. An example is to have the children turn backwards and perform the song ‘without looking’. Keep the rehearsals fun, laugh and joke and remember that they are children and that there is no need to pressure them for perfection. Parents will enjoy the performance however the children perform.

Pumpkin Faces

Pumpkin Pumpkin Round and Fat.
Turn into a Jack-O-Lantern just like that!

This is a fun game at Halloween. Crouch down. Pretend to be a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch. Cover your hands over your head. Chant the rhyme, ‘PUMPKIN PUMPKIN……’ then jump up and make a Pumpkin Face and freeze! Try different kinds of faces: Funny, Happy, Silly, Sad, Squishy, and the most fun is ‘SCARY’! Boo!

Point & Clap

In the Yellow level of the Musical Rainbow program the children start to learn the rhythms and how to make notes. I start with three simple rhythms, TA (the quarter note), TEE TEE, (two eighth notes connected together) and the rest. Similar to the Montessori method of learning letters by drawing them in sand, I like to have the children physically make these simple rhythms with popsicle sticks. Then after wards they can more easily recognize them on paper.
It is very important to physically touch the notes/sticks as they say the words of the songs, or chant the rhythms. First touch and point. Next, clap the rhythms. Doing this will ingrain these basic rhythms over time so that they will more easily be able to read music notation as they get older.

Rhythm is the way the words go!

A big skill that the 3 and 4 year old children of the RED Level of the Musical Rainbow Program need to learn is to be able to perform the rhythm of songs and poems they have learned. Once a repertoire of songs and poems are built, they can start to perform the rhythm of these songs and poems. Yes, simply clapping the words is good. It is most fun to perform these rhythms on instruments. Use simple instruments such as sticks, small drums, finger cymbals, triangles and others. At first sing along or chant the words while playing on the instruments. Then once this is mastered try playing the rhythm of the song or poem on the instrument without singing or chanting the words. Happy Day Day!


WEEKLY PRACTICE: One of the most important things about learning an instrument is to practice regularly. Decide your level of commitment and stick to it for a certain period of time. Perhaps start with a short time period, say one month. And then review how you have been able to actually practice the amount of time that you had wanted to. Adjust your schedule according to what you will think will work and then continue again for another period of time. Then review once again.
With time practicing an instrument will become as natural and necessary as having regular meals each day. Muscles will develop, skills will be acquired and the student will be amazed at how easy it will be one day to perform something that they thought was so difficult in the beginning. Happy Day Day!

Year Number 35

We had our introductory sessions this week. Wonderful to see continuing students once again, and great to meet so many new students. Delightful. I am luckiest man in the world to be able to work and play with the little ones each week as they learn about music. This is starting year number 35 of teaching music to the little ones! Have just started this blog. Please feel free to add to the discourse as we go!