Music at Home Curriculum

Elementary Classroom Use

Elementary Classroom Use

ADAPTING THE KIDS’ JAM/MUSIC AT HOME CURRICULUM FOR MUSIC EDUCATORS

Lui directing a song on bells

For the lower elementary music teacher hoping to expand their repertoire of age-appropriate traditional and contemporary songs, Kids' Jam/Music at Home is an outstanding resource. Combining traditional songs gleaned from late 1800's and early 1900's songbooks, and original songs composed specifically for the curriculum, Lui has complied an exceptional collection of songs for the early elementary school community.  She has brought her background in the areas of composition, traditional music, and education together to choose and adapt traditional songs to meet the requirements of a program for this age group.  This has occasionally meant significantly altering lyrics and/or musical settings, while honoring the tradition at their core. Her goal has been to create a music curriculum that is both engaging and educational.  The songs she has written specifically for the Kids' Jam/Music at Home curriculum keep that same goal in mind.

Repertoire For Community Gatherings

The Kids' Jam/Music at Home curriculum is designed to build a repertoire of songs that can be shared in the family and school community. Each collection in the curriculum contains an assortment of original and traditional songs, including many nature-based songs celebrating the four seasons of the year. Many of the songs are appropriate for seasonal gatherings or performances for the school community without being religious in nature.

Ear Training

A number of the songs include solfège verses, to provide interval training as preparation for later formal instrument or vocal study.  They can be used as specific ear training exercises, or to reinforce other solfège work done in the classroom.

Kids' Jam or Upside-Up's Music at Home?

The songs and singing games in the two programs, Kids' Jam and Upside-Up's Music at Home, are identical. The difference is that the Kids' Jam collections are mixed-age collections, available in CD and printed Songbook format. There are 8 seasonal collections, spanning 2 years. They would be suitable to use as an adjunct to your music program, or if you wish to structure it yourself.

Upside-Up's Music at Home is a more comprehensive music program, arranged in 3 levels of progressive difficulty, with 4 seasonal collections in each level. All materials are provided electronically, plus CD's are available as an option. Music at Home includes weekly lesson plans for Fall, Winter and Spring (10 weeks in each season), with support videos for ear training including solfège patterns using Curwen hand signs, and rhythm patterns. For the songs that include verses sung in solfège there are demonstration videos of the solfège verses. Some songs have suggested ASL sign arrangements, and for those songs there are demonstration videos of the ASL signs.

INTEGRATING KIDS’ JAM/MUSIC AT HOME INTO THE ACADEMIC CLASSROOM

Kids' Jam is fun for the teacher too

In addition to Kids' Jam/Music at Home being a comprehensive music curriculum in and of itself, the songs are ideal for inclusion in classroom academic studies.  Many of the songs are nature-based -often specifically related to a particular season - and celebrate the natural world.  These are excellent candidates for multi-curricular studies, in combination with academic subjects such as earth sciences, biology, botany, ecology, and environmental studies.  Other songs can be tied into art, social sciences, and character education.

In these days of budget cuts for arts, the Kids' Jam/Music at Home curriculum is ideal for arts enrichment in the classroom itself, both through the use of the recordings and the songbook.  The songs are recorded live in the studio using only acoustic instruments and simple duo arrangements with vocals, guitar, banjo, slide guitar, and mandolin.  They may be played in the classroom, or the classroom teacher can use the recordings and songbook to learn songs to integrate into the school day.  The Kids' Jam songbook provides guitar chords, with instructions for using a capo to simplify guitar arrangements. If you would like a more structured curriculum, consider using Upside-Up's Music at Home for additional features including weekly lesson plans and support videos.

I recommend using the songbooks only as an adjunct to the recordings. Folk music is an oral tradition, after all! As carefully as I transcribed the songs onto paper, there are nuances in the singing of the songs that cannot be captured on the music staff. Families using the curriculum directly will want to learn the songs primarily from the recordings; for classroom teachers and music educators I recommend doing the same and using the sheet music as it was intended, as a reference for words, guitar chords, and singing game instructions. - Lui

Comments from Teachers

I am an early childhood music specialist, and have been using some of Lui's songs from her Kid's Jam collection in my preschool/daycare classes with children ages 1 - 6. The children love her catchy rhythms and accessible melodies, and the teachers report to me that the children sing her songs in the classroom, on the playground, at the snack table - pretty much all day long! I love how her seasonal songs sparkle with the fun energy of youth, with simple but beautiful melodies pitched in keys appropriate for young children's voices and music development. Her arrangements of the songs are classic - acoustic instruments and some lovely vocal harmonies - so the teachers and parents love to listen to them as well! Her most popular songs with my classes are Wee Willie Winky, The Orchard, and Jack Frost (I even had one child request Jack Frost to be sung on the last day of classes in June!)

Nancy Wight, M.Ed., Early Childhood Music Specialist

My preschoolers love Lui's music in our Nature Yoga program. We enthusiastically sing and dance around the yoga room to warm up our bodies with "Come Jam with Me", practice balancing in "Birch Tree" pose, play yoga games in a pile of leaves surrounded by the beauty of "Leaves are Falling" and as "It Snows in the Night" we find the rhythm of our breath in relaxation. I cannot imagine a class without Lui's presence: the musical rhythms in our muscles, the awareness of breath as we sing together and the joyful interpretations of the many Kid's Jam curriculum ideas - all enriching our lives beyond measure. Rhythm, grace, breath and joy... music flows through us, enhancing nature's lessons in all that we do, become and dream to be. The connection to our bodies flow into the awareness of the natural world in this intimate dance of oneness. The creative force of Kid's Jam is gratefully witnessed in the smiles and hearts that shine bright in our yoga classroom.

Deneen Bernier, RYT, Children's Yoga Teacher and Nature Connection Mentor.