Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Songwriting for Kids: The Mystery of Nate and the Skate

Well, we had another fabulously fun and creative summer session of Songwriting for Kids! Over the course of the week, my students (aged 4-8) not only learned Rock Island Line, Red River Valley, Oh Susanna, and I See the Moon by heart, they also wrote their own song. Melody, words, tempo...they created the entire thing all on their own.

You can listen to The Mystery of Nate and the Skate at

A few of my favorite moments:
  • When we learned Oh Susanna, I asked the kids what they thought it meant when the songwriter wrote contradictory lines like, "The sun so hot, I froze to death." One little girl said she thought he was just trying to cheer Susanna up by making her laugh. I thought that was just about right on.
  • The first version of the class song had present tense and past tense all mixed together. I have to admit, I didn't know if the kids would be able to understand tenses enough to be able to fix it. Boy, was I wrong! All I said was something along the lines of, "It looks like sometimes Nate did something in the past and sometimes, it looks like he's doing it right now...does that make sense?" And they zipped through the entire song, replacing "is" with "was" and "don't" with "didn't." I was blown away.
  • I loved the concentration and detail they put into their song, throwing out their ideas with abandon, but choosing their words carefully. For instance, all on their own, the group had a short discussion about how the phrase magical belt is more musical and has better flow than magic belt.
  • Polka-dot, polka-dot, polka-dot underwear. Need I say more?

1 comment:

Amy Schimler-Safford said...

Welcome back Josephine! I missed you. Sounds like such a gas working with the kids writing songs. Can't wait to take a listen...