I’m often asked…
“How”, “what” and “why” questions about how short songs can teach babies/toddlers/young children.
Here are some of those questions…and answers!
“How does music help educators?”
There are many early learning specialists and educators who don’t feel “musical”, who are nervous about singing in front of a group, who don’t like their own singing voice, can’t remember the lyrics to songs, etc.
Many educators want to include music in their lesson planning, though, so using “follow along” videos (which is just like having a “virtual music teacher” join your program) and songs created by music specialists are the perfect resource.
I have lots of songs based on typical classroom themes and early learning concepts. My songs are short, catchy, predictable and easy to learn/sing along with–my song structure introduces young children to patterns and variations on those patterns, rhythm practice, timing cues and other important early music concepts that are typically taught in a formal music class setting.
I like to provide the whole package, wrapped up in an easy little song…so it makes doing YOUR job less stressful.
“What feedback do you hear from educators?”
Early learning specialists appreciate “ready made music” on different levels, and for different reasons!
Educators who specialize in introducing English to young children appreciate that easy songs like “Hello, Hello” help them in their program planning, because the repetition associated with the actions solidifies an understanding of specific words.
Therapists who advocate for teaching mindfulness, meditation and emotional regulation, like Katie Hurley, Child and Adolescent psychotherapist, speaker and author, appreciate songs like “Breathe In, Breathe Out” and “Hard Feelings”, because it’s natural to absorb information through the magic of music.
Songs like these can be particularly helpful when building internal resources/reference points children can remember and apply to “real-life” experiences when they need them.
Preschool programming specialists/bloggers, like Vanessa Levin from Pre-K Pages, Katie T. Christiensen from Preschool Inspirations, Sheryl Cooper from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds and Deborah Stewart from Teach Preschool advocate for the usefulness of classroom management songs, like “It’s Time To Tidy Up”, “Everybody Line Up”, “A Welcome Song” and “I’m Washing My Hands”.
Here’s a clip from Teach Preschool–they love using “Everybody Clap”, from “The Seasons” as an active circle time song:
“How can parents use music?”
Parents report that they truly enjoy my musical arrangements, which is a really satisfying thing to hear, as a musician. Typically, parents play my music in the car, in the background during playtime and during long waits in waiting rooms, on planes, and in places where nurturing patience is an asset. This is also a great way for them to remember the lyrics, if they want to sing a song together without a recording playing.
Parents who use my songs in the car as a means of entertainment are actually solidifying the educational content in my songs–so they’re teaching their children while they are enjoying my music at the same time!
Songs like “Pat, Pat, Pat” are also useful for new parents who want to encourage their babies to engage in more “tummy time”. This song distracts babies with a little massage, so it reduces babies’ frustration with this position, until it becomes more and more natural through building muscular strength.
I also hear that parents enjoy seeing their children develop a healthy “inner voice” from the songs I write. Parents enjoy the feeling of togetherness music brings. Some of the most memorable moments are made when singing a song together!
“How do you choose what you’re going to record?”
The songs I choose to record are the songs I observe children to respond to most favourably.
In terms of composing, I feel that music has to capture children’s attention first. If a musical pattern is unique and interesting, it will be memorable.
I’ve also done a lot of testing and refining of my songs with young children. I’ve always studied in great detail which musical elements and formulas get the best responses from children of varying ages and stages of development, so my observations impact what ultimately gets recorded. Whichever songs resonate best with kids are usually the ones that “make the cut”.
“How did you get started writing music for children?”
When I first started teaching preschool, I started making up tunes to popular nursery rhymes. When I saw how quickly and easily babies and toddlers would respond to those nursery rhymes, with the music I was composing–and how the music helped them retain and solidify information in their memories–so much quicker than just chanting the rhymes–to the point where they were anticipating and generating the information independently, I knew I was on to something important, and that I had to continue developing music for young children.
“Why did you become recording artist?”
When I started teaching my own songs, the other teachers I worked with started asking me if I would make recordings of my songs, so they could use them, too, so I recorded 10 of my favourite songs, and they wound up becoming my first album, “I Know I’ll Grow….” (2009)…and then came the others: “The Seasons” (2013), “Wonderful you” (2014) “Shadow” (2016) and “Senses” (2019)
When you’re expected to present the whole world to children, I’ve got you covered in the music department, in a fun and easy way. My songs nurture:
✔️ Important early childhood concepts and skills
✔️ Expressive and receptive language
✔️ Emotional identification, recognition, regulation
✔️ Social and emotional growth
✔️ Memorization of specific information (vowels, continents, planets)
✔️ Self-esteem and self-awareness
✔️ Patterning, rhythm, variation, prediction
✔️ Following directions, participating/contributing musically in a group
…and so much more!
Join me in my musical mission to make the world a happy, safe, intellectually stimulating and inclusive place for children!
Use my “Follow Nancy” videos here, and sing along/follow the actions to my songs!
Download/stream my songs everywhere online!