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  • Sheena

Sharing songs and rhymes - why it works

Why do babies love group music making? I've watched babies time and time again in my own, in my daughter's and in my friends' baby song groups. They just light up with engagement in the shared experience. So here are some things which seem to create magic:

  • the physicality of the play - being held, bounced, swung up and down, wibble-wobbled and cradled by your adult;

  • the proximity of other small babies and their adults, all sharing the experience and doing the same thing together with you and your adult;

  • the turn-taking and the special moment when everyone sings your name and waves to you or listens as you shake a shaker or tap a drum;

  • peekaboo! No session can be without a peekaboo song or rhyme;

  • our particular Playsongs friend, the Teddy who lives in his box and pops out every session to play a sound, or sing hello to you;

  • melody - you might grow old and not know how the magic of melody works or what makes a melody magic;

  • rhythm - it makes you want to move and you excitedly fling your arms, legs and whole body around;

  • hearing words and word patterns, which intrigue and puzzle you, which you know are somehow meaningful, and can sound beautiful - or very funny;

  • adults co-ordinating sound in a way you can't yet do yourself, but which you know you want to;

  • pattern: even when you're as young as three months you recognise pattern and the right songs and rhymes which supply it - like the clap, rub and tickle pattern of 'Clap clap clap your hands'.

  • 'Again!' Six repeats of 'Father and Mother and Uncle Tom', and that's not enough for you, when you're still laughing and calling, 'Again'. Repetition is magic.

And then there's the magic which follows on at home, when, as a little two year old, you come in from a walk on a wet day, singing, 'It's raining, it's pouring, the old man's snoring' - as my little grandchild did just this very moment.

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