Every child I know learned nursery rhymes, most of them little jingles or chants that young voices could accommodate nicely, allowing the expression of joy in a somewhat controlled manner. In early blogs, I have written about the music gifted to me and my siblings by my father for whom music defines life. So it was, at age 14, as I prepared my song for the school talent show, that I learned the "song" that would help me introduce my own children to the world of music and the beauty of harmony.
My friends, four girls, all age 14 as well, were practicing their entry. I was intrigued.
Joanie started out first (a capella). She sang a NURSERY RHYME!!! That's right, she sang, "sing a song of sixpence.." Her soprano voice was clear and strong and still..a NURSERY RHYME??? What were they thinking. When she finished, Kelly started...in her lovely alto voice, again, a nursery rhyme! "Little Jack Horner...". Good grief! Were these girls nuts? Then it was Becky's turn..lower soprano..."Little Bo Peep...," I'm dying here, listening to these girls. Finally, Pam begins to sing her deep, almost tenor voice, "Rock a bye Baby". I was astounded. My four 14 year old friends were going to make fools out of themselves. They were getting up before the toughest audience (their peers), dressed in silly childish costumes, singing nursey rhymes.
And then they pitched a note and began singing...all at once, each her own nursery rhyme. The harmony was incredible! I had never heard anything like it!
Of course they didn't win the talent show (neither did I, but that's beside the point.) Their song, their harmony, stuck with me forever.
When my children were knee-high to a grasshopper, having been singing all their very short lives, I decided it was time teach them harmony. It did so with this song. With only two children, and a husband who did not sing, were had to modify the song a bit, selecting only three rhymes at any particular singing. However, the three chosen were not always the same!
Today my children are grown and still, at family gatherings, it is this song that everyone wants to hear and which we sing. I recorded the three of us singing this song two years ago as part of the gift I made for my dad that year. If you care to listen, I am including the link.
Music, nursery rhymes, harmony, giggles and tears...they are the never changing parts of life. Teach your children well....