More Than "Cute"...This Is AMA'SING'!!

“Aaaaw! Isn’t this video cute!?”  Yes, it is! BUT it’s MUCH MORE.  It’s actually AMA’SING!!’  Let’s look at this marvelous video through the lenses of “childhood development” to identify what is “really” happening as Eli sings.  I think we’ll discover that his little mind, voice and body are extremely busy.  He is spontaneously creating, thinking, working and organizing thoughts, movements, words and music.  So, what is Eli doing “on stage” and “behind the scene” in his mind and body at the ripe old age of 2 years old?  Let’s “break it down” to see what is happening:

To begin, Eli decides to:
         1.  make up a song – demonstrating that songs contain words and melody     
         2. use a guitar to accompany himself – demonstrating that instrumental harmony can be                                       added to create more musical interest
         3. position himself on a chair for greater success and comfort – demonstrating                                                       understanding of his physical abilities and comfort.

To create his song, he must have:
         1. a working knowledge of the English language
         2. an understanding that a song has words
         3. an imagination that helps to form the text/story of the song

To play the guitar, demonstrates his subconscious understanding that:
         1. instruments can accompany one’s singing
         2. instruments add a harmony to the song
         3. playing the guitar while sitting is easier than standing
         4. one hand strums the strings, the other hand fingers the chords
             “my hands are not doing the same thing!”  
           
  (parents - do you grasp the complexity of this?)
         5. One hand will be strumming the “steady beat” – or something close to it

To sing while playing the guitar, his little mind, body and voice are busy:
          1. Selecting the words for the text    
          2. Deciding the rhythms to use with these words
          3. Choosing the melodic pitches for his melody
              Research in early vocal development indicates that the child has a personal pitch
              center.   Eli’s melodic range is very narrow because it is centered around his personal pitch.                        4. Putting words, rhythm and melody together, ALL at ONCE!    
          5. Adding the guitar sends this creativity to a NEW LEVEL!      
          6. Safely holding the guitar    
          7. Strumming the guitar to add greater interest/harmony

This little fellow is Ama’SING!!!’  One could say, he is doing at least 10-part harmony with himself during this creative process…so many things are happening, layered one on top of the other…all at the same time!!  Ama’Sing’!!!    

    

How to Guide Your Child to be "Forever Young!"

Bob Dylan’s song, Forever Young, nearly captures everything I’ve ever wished for my children:  abundant blessings, the fulfillment of dreams, strength of character, happiness and love. (In case you’re too young to remember Bob Dylan, Blake Shelton has done a very nice re-make of this song and Simon & Schuster have publish a Children’s Book of the song.)

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May God bless and keep you always.
May your wishes all come true.
May you always do for others,
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars,
And climb on every rung.
May you stay forever young.

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May you grow up to be righteous.
May you grow up to be true.
May you always know the truth,
And see the light surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
And may you stay forever young.

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 May your hands always be busy.
May your feet always be swift.
May you have a strong foundation,
When the winds of changes shift,
May your heart always be joyful.
May your song always be sung,
And may you stay forever young.
May you stay forever young.

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But I also think this song speaks to us as parents.  It’s easy to go on auto-pilot when we’re with our kids because we have “real-life” things to think about.  But it’s important for us to spend time with our children in their world, not just drag them along in our adult world. We need to teach them that to be forever young is to be young at heart: to run and play and giggle and sing and act silly. These are the things that make for wonderful memories and precious bonding moments with your children.  And as a WeJoySing teacher, I hope that the songs, stories and games and that make up our WeJoySing classes are the tools that you will take with you, to help make ordinary days special for you and your child. 

It seems to me that the last 3 lines of the song sum up the essence of  WeJoySing.  As we approach the holidays and the start of a new calendar year, this is my wish for all our WeJoySing families:  May your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, and may you stay forever young.

Forever Young & Young at Heart!!
Mrs. Cathy!