“What’s our song for today?,” my older son asked. And before long we, along with his little brother, were singing “Ciao Bella Ciao” and talking about Sicily and partisans, and finding Italy on the map, learning some Italian, and the who, what, when, where, why, how, what else, and what other thoughts they had about the song? It’s impressive what a simple song can do for children’s curious minds.
For a while, I’ve had this idea of listening to one song per day with the kids as an alternative and interactive activity, and do it for an entire month. The idea is for all of us to listen closely to the song without doing anything else and make it into a purposeful learning experience. Other than the obvious, music, it can also cover a wide range of school topics, such as foreign language, geography, history, culture and vocabulary. It opens up discussions with the little ones and a great way to limit “screen time”.
In April, forced by coronavirus lockdown to be indoors and sort of come up with creative ways to entertain and educate the kids, we finally did it. We finally made a list of our songs for the day for an entire month. Hooray!
Now, it’s June. I’m a little late but here below is our list of our songs for the day for the month of May. Better late than never, right? Heck, I’m a full time dad and househusband!
How does it work? I wrote down some details in the April post. To summarize here, the idea is simple enough. Write down the first song that pops into mind from any of us, talk about it for 10-15 minutes and do it for a month. For example, the other day my eight-year old son, who was having some temporary problem with his eyesight, suddenly said “I can see clearly now!” .
Guest what song popped into my head right away? “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,” (by Johnny Nash). And we went on and explored the the song for a bit. “It’s old skool, right?”, my older son asked.
What if no song pops into mind? I understand that not all of us have the disease of the-walking-jukeboxitis. So, if you got nothing, you can simply find one and guide your kids listening experience. Or better yet, let the kids choose.
Like my younger, 4-year old kid, out of nowhere asked ALEXA (I got this for FREE through a side job) to play a lullaby which led to exposure to new songs; to different Spanish lullabies that is.
Or you can listen to classical music for example, which come to think of it, I should actually start doing.
We have only ONE RULE–NO REPEAT SONGS! Well, reality kicked in for the month of May and I couldn’t quite help it. Besides I did not want to force anything or impose on the kids. That’s counterproductive. Sometimes the children were just plainly not interested.So, we missed a day or two.
What’s new this month?
We’re going to refine the list a bit as we go along this month of May. We’ve added some links to YouTube for the kids’ favorite songs. You know, the ones that really got them going.One “La Tarara” a traditional Andalusian children song. Not surprising with this last one since we’re doing a “cover” of this song for one of our projects. I play it every day on the guitar, trying to see if I can sing while I play, until you know, they started singing along on their own. And right in tune and on rhythm too! And the song is in their third language too! A nice father-and-sons bonding activity.
For April 2020, here’s what we have (format: date, song title, artist):
- Ciao Bella Ciao ~ traditional Italian music
- Shouldn’t Have To Be Like That ~ Fra Lippo Lippi
- Lollipop lollipop ~ Chordettes
- Saltarello ~ dead can dance
- Buffalo Jump ~ Julien Boire
- Verde, Blanca y Verde (Bulerias) ~ Juan Carlos “el Colorao” & Tiago Vazquez. Click the LINK to check out the video on YouTube (I, the father of this free electrons family recorded and mastered the music). It’s one of our camping road trip songs.
- Waves ~ Blancmange
- Imagine ~ John Lennon
- Colores (original version) ~ ampersand
- Jazz, Alexa
- Hey now, hey now…Don’t dream it’s over ~ Crowded House
- American Music ~ Violent Femmes
- Yulunga ~ dead can dance
- Let it Be ~ John Lennon
- Lean on Me
- What a Wonderdul World ~ Louis Armstrong
- Ohhhhh Donna…
- La Tarara ~ Radio Tarifa version of traditional Andalusian children song
- Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright ~ Bob Marley
- Sesame Street
- Ambient music by Alexa
- Happy Mother’s Day (Bossa Nova) ~ Kevin MacLeod
- Should I Stay or Should I go? ~ the Clash
- I Can See Clearly Now the Day is Gone ~