Wednesday, August 31, 2011

M: Marvelous Music Motivator

photo of: MUSIC as Motivator: Debbie's Dozen Directions, top 12 suggestions from Debbie Clement
WELCOME!!! You've landed under my rainbow!
I'm Debbie and I have a 'dozen directions' to share from my perspective as "Music-Lady" for your work with children. These are tips I've put together from my fifteen years worth of touring into classrooms. Here's my top twelve suggestions from all of those Author-Illustrator School Visits. 
photo of: Early Childhood Teachers caught up in the happy dance of Debbie Clement keynote
Debbie Clement Keynote for Early Childhood Educators in Tennessee
Welcome! It's a party!!! It's an early education summit & party!!!
It's a celebration extravaganza of young children and all the adults who love them!! And trust me. We know how to throw a party. Welcome to my little corner of the party. Today we gather together in honor of our fellow blogger, Deborah Stewart and her many efforts on behalf of young children. We join forces. We join expertise. We join experiences. We join insight. Today we mark the milestone of 20,000 people, from around the world, joined together on behalf of young children on one FB page! Get your hands up in the air. We're getting organized! It's a party!

photo of: Happy Teacher Enthusiasm for Music as Motivator
My contribution to the party is the letter M for MUSIC!!! 
Since I've written and recorded over a hundred original songs for children -- I guess that makes me qualified, even something of an expert! Get your groove on. Where else would you see grown women literally leaping at the opportunity to come up front, in a crowded auditorium, and dance to a song that they have yet to learn, a soon-to-be favorite, the "Piggy Rap"? Those are my 5 little Tennessee piggies. We assembled last weekend to get pumped for back-to-school. They're showin' the crowd what they've got!! We're early childhood & we're proud!!! LUV me some keynote excitement!

photo of: The Piggy Rap: Debbie Clement's dittie for the five little piggies


1. Music is one Multiple-Intelligence!  Thanks to the research and insight from Howard Gardner, we know that music is one of the 'original' intelligences -- from the perspective of multi-faceted individuals. Some children come into our lives & into our programs hard-wired to express their intelligence thru music! Acknowledge their gift! Play to their innate strength!

2. Music is a Learning Style Preference! When we think of the 'VAK Attack' [Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic] in working with children and their preferences for learning, we know that some children prefer to learn thru their Auditory feedback systems & their listening skills are their strongest mode of learning. Bring on the music & let the learning begin!! Children will 'remember' when something is set to music. Make music 'work' for you!!

3. Music is a cultural phenomena! It doesn't matter which culture is yours -- music is the bedrock and touch stone to express your heritage, your background, your shared experience. Music is also one way we come to learn beyond our own upbringing. Music brings us the world!
Enrich your music time by choosing selections and instruments from other cultures!

4. Music is life's backdrop! Name that tune! "They're playin' our song!" There's music playing at every significant moment of your life. Your first step. Your first kiss. Pomp & Circumstance. Here Comes the Bride. The funeral fanfare. Music is the under-girding of all the significant moments of our lives. Turn up your sound-track & tune in. Watch which tunes your child responds to most appreciatively when there's music playing.

5. Music is festive! Think Super Bowl. Think Mardi Gras! Think marching band parade. There's music if its a party and if its a party there's music. Woven together. Throw the confetti. Drop the balloons. The music's drum beat is the foundation, the very invitation for fun to begin. Playing music in your home + classroom brings it to life!

6. Music is engaging!  Macarena. Hokey-Pokey. Y.M.C.A. Wedding Chicken Dance. The Bunny Hop. The Charleston. The Electric Slide. Top-to-Bottom. What era do you reflect? You hear the beat and you know what comes next. You're tappin' your toes. You're clappin' your hands. You're ready to march: faster & faster!! Your eyes light up. You're involved. You're focused. You're engaged. Music has got to be one of the 'easiest' tools in your toolbox.... everyone wants to get involved. Brush off some ol' camp songs. Get active. Get moving!!!

7. Music is a bridge! Tell me your favorite song and you invite me into your world. Teach me your favorite song and we're bonding. Sing together your favorite piece and we knit cultures, classes and backgrounds into one shared experience. [Read this earlier post for the most amazing demonstration of how Hajar learned English to my song, "You're Wonderful". Have a tissue handy. Her handwriting alone may bring you to tears.] Ask families what their favorite piece of music from home is & share in the school setting.

8. Music is a (curriculum) support! Ask anyone. Music can drive the learning under your roof. From sun-up to sun-down. From cock-a-doodle do, shimmy outta jammies to lullaby 'n good night back into fresh jammies -- music gets it done. How did you learn the 50 states alphabetically? I'll bet it was to music. There's a song for the A, B, C's. There's a song for self-esteem. There's a song for Patriot's Day. There's a song for being "Glad I'm at School Today!"

9. Music is a memory enhancer! Having trouble teaching your young child their phone number? Put it to music and include the area code up front, with a 'boop-boop-sha-boop' at the end and you have a jingle worthy of any radio station. Madison Avenue knows the power of a tune for marketing. Use music to 'anchor' learning for your child.

10. Music makes the perfect transition! Has the group been playing hard-at-work in center-time focus and concentration yet now its time for the group to convene on the rug? Music is the perfect transition! Been sitting too long on the rug and need some oxygen? Music is the perfect transition! Been playing hard on the playground and its time to move inside? Music is the perfect transition!! Get it? Music is the perfect transition!!

11. Music leads to movement! Music's very structure is an invitation to move. Calypso? Get moving!! Jazz? Get moving!! Classical? Get moving. Reggae? Get moving!! Banjo pickin? Get moving!! Brass band? Get moving!! [Read here for my series with Dance & Movement authority, Connie Dow & come back soon for the next installment in our continuing series.]

12. Music is celebration! What is a birthday cake with candles lit without a song? Whether you're two or eighty-two there must be singing prior to cake-cutting. That's just how it works. What is preschool graduation without a song? For that matter, what are children without a song? Strike up the band or the boom box. Plug in the I-Tunes, the YouTube or the SmartBoard. Shake your shakers, pound your drum, sing your song. Let the party begin!!!

photo of: Teachers at conference presentation on the value of music in early childhood
Kudos to Deborah Stewart for bringing us together A to Z and Z to A!! Continue on your alphabet hunt. Learn a lot thru these ABCs and see you at NAEYC in November!! I'll be presenting with Connie Dow on this very topic: "Movement and Music, Music and Movement." I'll also have my own booth in the wild exhibit hall at Booth #719, Come see me in my polka-dotted splendor and we can continue and make this at actual two way conversation. See you in Orlando!!
photo of: Debbie Clement's happy shoes and socks

-- Debbie --

Now!!! How about bein' an absolute angel? Would you please hit one of these little buttons just below this post to continue the party? Please tweet this out if you're a tweeter or hit one of the other share buttons:FB/blog/Pinterest etc. that makes the most sense in your network of fellow folks concerned about children. Let's do all we can to support a system that focuses on the most significant resource for the future: our children!! Tweet on folks. Tweet on!!
ABC's of Teaching Preschoolers

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  1. Terrific insight on all the wonderful ways music benefits our classrooms Debbie! Thank you so much for participating today!

  2. I can see the joy you bring through music! :)

  3. I don't have a musical bone in my body, but love it. I think my entire life is a playlist! So glad you did and "M is for Music" post. I would have been disappointed if you hadn't! :)

  4. Thanks team!! I'm so glad to have been able to contribute to the Alphabet series. I'm so grateful to get connected to the other contributors!!

  5. Music is universal, and I'm so glad you got M for music. What would preschool be without it? Nothing, for sure. My 3 year old is on school holiday, and every day we sing songs from school which keeps her connected it over a long break. She bursts out into song on walks around the neighborhood,and I love it. My almost one-year old has such a strong affinity for music that it's borderline uncanny. I know it'll play a big role in her life and look forward to seeing how it unfolds for her.

  6. Excellent list Debbie! I can't imagine a classroom without music, it's such an important part of developing a love for learning.

    Vanessa @Pre-K Pages

  7. As you will probably have guessed, I would've been right there out the front with you strutting my stuff!

  8. Yay music! I may not be the best at music and movement but I give it the best I can. Great list for why we use music. Thanks Debbie!

  9. Yes - M for Music is so you! Hip hip hooray!

    Have you ever written posts about taking music outside? I'd be really interested to know your thoughts here.

    Thanks and best wishes

  10. Rachelle. I remember like yesterday when my daughter made up her first song -- words & tune!! She might have been about 4 at the time. I still remember it, note for note!

    It's really great to see you fellow Alphabet letters popping through! Greg & Scott: manly men... the wee wonders are so fortunate to have your perspective.

    Vanessa I know how you value music! Love seeing you here.

    Juliet. You've really made me ponder music & the outdoors! That was my chidhood & the reason that music is such a part of my life. We camped. We sang. We told stories and we sang some more! I don't think that I've ever addressed the outdoors specifically and I'm grateful for the prompt!! Thanks!

  11. Mmm...Mmmm..Mmmm!!! (my 2 yr old's expression).
    Music is quintessential part of our soul! What a lovely way to celebrate all the good things in your life.

  12. Yup! We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music and movement in my classroom! I teach many children with little or no verbal truly is a universal language all it's own! I have children who bounce to music, smile, move hands and bodies, do simple actions and some who sing some of the words...but all benifit from music! We literally use music from the start of the day to the end! :)

  13. Music is definitely so so IMPORTANT! My whole family are music lovers! My Father said he couldn't live life without it....along with my older brother. I think music magically finds its way into learning without us realizing. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Isn't it interesting that so many of us who work tirelessly on behalf of children have such amazing memories of music in our own childhood & our own family heritage? Perhaps that's one of the prerequisites to a career of working with children? Or maybe it 'should' be!!

    Pam. You bring up such a significant role of music -- that of being a conduit to our children that have special needs. I can't imagine how I left that benefit out of the list, as that's where I started professionally. I'm going right now to make it a baker's dozen!! THANKS!

  15. Debbie - LOVED your list. Thanks for putting it out there.
    Do y'all know about the Children's Music Network? I've been a member
    for about 25 years now..... and my work with children has benefited greatly from what I have learned fro the group. It's the best bunch of sharing, caring folks when it comes to using music with children! Performers, librarians, teachers, parents, etc......
    Check it out at


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