Reflections from the Executive Office

“but he was still hungry…”

Nancy Pelton, the Acting Director of the Baltimore City Child Care Resource Center (BCCCRC – or as we call it “B Triple C-R-C”) put on a wonderful conference, Baltimore City Children’s Emotional Wellness, this past Saturday, March 7. It was a sell-out crowd and even with the snow and ice still on the ground, 95% of those registered showed up.

Sue Trainor, a Master Teacher from Wolf Trap Center for the Arts, gave a keynote called Great Musical Adaptations!  Songs for Memorable Teaching and Smooth Transitions.

Teaching the group about steady beat, rhythm, pitch, melody, and lyrics, she sang and danced her way through 2-1/4 hours of important lessons about the power of music.  She quoted a neuroscientist as saying, “Melody has a privileged relationship with the emotional part of the brain” — and how true that is!  Think of any meaningful song from the soundtrack of your life, and you can bring back feelings, sights, sounds, maybe even tastes and smells from events/times associated with that song.

Nancy Pelton BCCCRC

Nancy Pelton of the Baltimore City Child Care Resource Center.

She gave the audience five simple steps to follow when figuring out how to incorporate music in a child’s day.

  1. Objective – What do you want the children to do/know and not do?
  2. Lyrics – How would you say the idea in plain words?
  3. Beat – Try saying your words in a beat (and make sure you’re using a tempo appropriate to the activity, e.g. something slow if you’re heading them off to naptime).
  4. Melody – Sing your words in a tune you make up yourself or set the words to a familiar melody.
  5. Multi-sensory – Think of what else you can do to incorporate other senses, e.g. instead of just walking from playground to hand washing before lunch, march, clap hands, look for something and point to it, etc.
Sue Trainor

Sue Trainor of Wolf Trap Center for the Arts.

Finally, those of you familiar with the Very Hungry Caterpillar know the refrain, “but he was still hungry.” Try singing those words in an ominous tone, as if the hungry caterpillar is growing into a monster (which, in a way, he is!). It’s a big improvement over just saying the words – and much more memorable. I can’t wait to try my new version of the book with my grandson!