Discovering Waldorf – ‘Singing Through the Day”

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Today, Melody, from Little Home Blessings, talks about song and how meaningful it can be for parents and for children. I too have been utterly amazed at how song has calmed my children and has helped them to do things they are resisting. In fact, if A Good Man wants to tease me, he often does it in a sing song voice… and I smile inwardly, knowing that Waldorf has seeped into his heart too.

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Music Through the Day by Melody

Born the daughter of a dancer and musician, I didn’t come by the name Melody by accident. Music has always been a large part of my life and I’ve come to a new relationship with it since starting a family of my own.

One of my first memories as a mother was stepping into the shower for the first time after giving birth, starting to hum a song and reaching to gently rub my tummy, as had become my habit in the last nine months, only to be startled into remembering that my tiny boy was no longer there! It’s true that from the very, very beginning, I not only spoke to, but sang to all of my babies regularly. The songs that they became accustomed to in the womb are the same ones that soothed and comforted them outside.

With the birth of my second son, corresponding with my delving deeper into the Waldorf philosophy, I went from only singing lullabies at night, to singing throughout the day. By the time our third child was born, we had joined a family folk chorus and singing for the pure joy of it, with our community, had become a regular event for us. It was during this time that it became really clear to me what a vast difference there is between listening to music and making music. The music that we made spoke to us all in a way that the music we only listened to could not. I’ll never forget the day that my infant babe in arms started humming “Hot Cross Buns” with amazing accuracy, after hearing his older brother practice it over and over again on the recorder (with someone’s voice accompanying it, more often then not).

~Melody and two of her children, playing and singing at Family Folk Chorus, circa 2006~

Making music ourselves didn’t come as easily as I felt it should have, after all, I grew up surrounded by music, but somehow this was different. I started with songs that I knew already, that were appropriate for singing with young children, which turned out to be surprisingly few! But I sang the ones I did know, starting with the songs that I could remember from my own childhood. In that way, I felt that I was passing down a little bit of family history and culture as well. Eventually, we learned many new songs through our folk chorus. I also invested in several songbook and CD sets by the talented Mary Thienes-Schunemann. These were a wonderful resource for us! Especially, “This is the Way We Wash a Day”, which added to our familial repertoire many work songs to use throughout the day. We have songs for cooking, songs for brushing teeth and hair, one for sweeping the floor. Once when an old friend came to breakfast, after watching and listening to our preparation for a while, exclaimed, “What are you, the Von Trap family?!?” But by the time the pancakes were on the table, she was singing and enjoying herself too.

Another option is to make up your own little songs. An easy way to do this is to take a verse you know and make up a little tune to go along with it, or come up with some lyrics and sing them to a tune you already know! An example of this is my daughter’s bedtime song. It’s a silly little thing, but it brings her comfort and the ritual of singing it, every time I lay her down to sleep, is such an important part of our day. It always makes my heart swell to hear her little two-year-old voice singing it back at me.

Sung to the tune of “Rock-a-bye Baby”:

Mama, and Mairi na-nas* in bed
So Mairi can rest her wee sleepy head

Cuddle her gently, tuck her up tight

So she will sleep soundly, all through the night

*”na-na” is our word for nursing

I know, this is nothing spectacular. No one reading this is in awe of my artistic prowess. That’s exactly why I’m sharing it. Because it doesn’t have to be perfect or amazing to be meaningful. Children appreciate almost all of our little creative endeavors, especially the ones that are for them! If I can make up simple little songs, then you can too. And you should! Because it’s fun and a special thing that you can share between you and your child.

Songs like the one above can also be useful for difficult transitions. For one of my children who hated getting dressed for the day, I made up this silly tune, sung to the tune of “It Had to Be You” (yes, really!):

It’s time to get dressed! It’s time to get dressed!
Put on a shirt, pull on some pants, maybe a vest.

It’s time to get dressed…it’s time to get dressed.
It’s time to get dressed, time to get dress, it’s time to get dressed…

Simple right? Ridiculously simple, but it worked and it helped to ease a time that would have otherwise been a struggle.

One more very simple tune is the one that I sang one morning, many years ago, as some of the little ones were getting up. It was requested so many times after that that it kind of stuck. You’ll have to come up with your own tune for this one, as the tune I sing it to is my own.

Good morning! Good morning! Welcome to the day!
Good morning! Good morning! Morning’s here to say

(repeat 3 times)

Good morning! Good morning! Welcome to the day!
Good morning! Good morning! Let’s get up and play…

Another way to personalize the music that you share with your family is to change tunes around a bit to include your child’s name or some other bit of personal information. In our house, there is not vague “little one” in ten in the bed. Instead it’s the name of our littlest one. And daddy, mommy, big brother and on down the line (sometimes teddy bears and dollies take a tumble as well) all fall out, resulting in much giggling, especially when some of the older kids get a bit dramatic and start calling out “Ouch!” when their time comes up. I’m really please that with 4 kids, so “Six in the Bed”, the song now feels full enough. It was a little short with only 2!

Sharing music together can also be a way to bond and connect during difficult times. I was extremely ill when my second son was a toddler. I was so ill that many days I was unable to get out of bed for any length of time. It was painful to know that his babyhood was passing by and that there was so little that I could do for him. On the days that I was well enough, when I had strength enough to sit up and breath enough to do so, we would sit together in the rocking chair next to my bed and sing. Some days, good days, we would go through a whole song book from cover to cover. That time was a ray of light for us both, during an otherwise dark and difficult period. I was so glad to be able to give him at least that one thing. And so very deeply, profoundly, thankful for having that time with him. Indeed it’s one of my favorite memories from his early years. One of the few ones that isn’t overshadowed by the stress of illness.

However you find a way to incorporate music and song into your life and your family time, I hope that you’ll enjoy the richness that the sharing of song can bring to daily life.

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I love your little songs, Melody. You show us that all we need is a tune we already know and some well thought out words, relevant to our own families. How very sweet… thank you for sharing your family memories with us.

Melody has a lovely blog, Little Home Blessings that is a treat visit. I have just spent the last hour drooling over all of the beautiful Birthday Sweaters she has made for her babies… oh, I wish I was a knitter.

Here are the other posts in the Discovering Waldorf series.

If you have a Waldorf related topic you wish to share on Discovering Waldorf. or wish to learn more about, pop me an email at vined(at)ymail(dot)com.

Blessing and magic,


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7 Responses

  1. It’s so great that I am not the only mon that is making up silly little songs for the everyday events! My kids think they’re great, even if other people think we are little crazy!

  2. oh, what a fantastic post!!!!
    full of heart and life:)
    thank you, melody!!
    I also enjoy making up songs throughout our day..I am sure if anyone heard me besides me wee one, I would totally get strange looks! But that’s ok:) Singing is so good for the soul:)

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