Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, First Week, Kindergarten, Singing

Hello Song for Little Ones

Once in a while I do a blog post more aimed at a music teacher audience, and this is one of those posts.  This is the hello song that I sing to start every music for kindergarten and first grade.  I use the piano, but you could use a guitar too of course!  We sing the first eight measures first to start out, and then we start singing to individual students.  I don’t sing the same student’s name twice, for the sake of time, for example, I sing “Hello there Ian yes indeed, yes indeed, yes indeed, hello there Madi yes indeed, yes indeed my neighbor!”  In the beginning of the year, I give everyone an assigned seat on the rug in three or four rows, and I start out with the name of the first kid in the first row, and go in order down the row, and then down the next row, and then down the next row.  After the kids get to know each other’s names (and I get to know their names!) I start with different kids each time.  We sing the first eight measures, and then I do a boom-chick accompaniment while I say “Today I am going to begin…. by singing hello…. tooooooo….” and then I choose someone!  From there, we go down the row, then to the next row, and the last person is whoever is sitting before the person we started with.  Hopefully that makes sense!  At the very end, if it’s an odd number of students, we’ll sing “Hello everybody yes indeed, yes indeed my neighbor!”  Then I will say “Can we sing hello to Mrs. Runnals?”  And I let them all sing to me, singing my name twice.  Then at the very end, I choose a student who I “noticed singing very nicely and sitting on their bottom” to come play the piano with me.  The kids all love singing the song!  Little ones love routines like this.  Feel free to post comments if you have questions!


Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, Kindergarten, Movement Activities

Music and Movement!

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Did you know… studies have shown that music has huge, positive effects on early childhood development?!  Exposure to music- listening, singing, dancing, or playing- fosters many essential early learning capabilities, including

  • Speech development
  • Listening skills
  • Patterning and sequencing (early math skills)
  • Rhythm, beat, and timing
  • Social skills
  • Emotional development
  • Memory
  • Physical coordination

The Elements of Music

Each aspect of music contributes in many ways to a child’s fundamental development. For instance . . .

Beat serves as the master timekeeper for all music, while engaging listen- ers in a common experience. When you rock or dance to the beat together, the music gives your child a sense of being in sync with you and the world around him.

Rhythm maps the timing of each note in a song. We each have a unique sense of rhythm that influences our style of moving, communicating—and even thinking.

Tempo is the pace and timing of the music (fast or slow). Tempo gives little ones important clues about big ideas such as order, sequence, and the pas- sage of time.

Pitch tells the story of the song as the notes go up and down, much like words selected and arranged in a sentence to convey an idea. For children, music serves as a gentle guide to understanding the intricacies of language and communication.

Dynamics are variations in volume (loud and soft) and intensity. They express emotion (strength, playfulness, sadness) and offer clues about the overarching message of the music. Dynamics offer children the opportunity to explore feelings.

Melody brings pitch, beat, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics together to create the tune we hear. Melody aids in memory by compressing multiple bits of information so it’s easier to remember. That’s why songs like the ABC song work so well (and stay with us for a lifetime).

Harmony introduces complexity to the music and mirrors important social skills young children grapple with—skills like conversation, speaking, and listening.

Intervals mark the changes in music. An inter- val is the difference in pitch between two notes. Intervals build anticipation for what’s next while giving the listener the time she needs to follow along.

Lyrics (words) multiply the language development value of music for young children.

As you can see, music all on its own is a powerful force for learning and growing. But when you add movement to music, from toe tapping to hand clapping to hitting the dance floor, the benefits multiply manyfold. When children use their bodies to explore, they are engaging the entire brain in the experience. So the next time you’ve got a few minutes, turn on some music and start moving. It’s great learning, and it’s a lot of fun, too!

Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Books and Music Stories, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Singing

Music Stories

This week kindergartners and first graders were introduced to “music story time.”  This is a time (at the end of music usually) where we relax, after all of our dancing around, and read a book together.  Not just any book though- in music, we read “story songs”- songs that have been made into picture books!  This week we listened to a song called Sweet Dreams  by Jewel, as we looked at pictures from the book.


You can listen to the song here.

The book and CD are available at the Manomet library, and you can also find it on here.

This song is gorgeous and the kindergartners who had music twice this week loved singing along with it the second time we heard it!

There are many “story songs” that are favorites here in the music room, with kids of all ages.  Here is a list of just a few of the stories I present throughout the year.  Most of these come with a CD, are all available on, and many can be found in one of the Plymouth Public Libraries.

We Shall Overcome