You wouldn’t think of it at first, but one
way to get people to listen and hear what you are saying is to sing it to them. Yes, it sounds strange, but it does work!
I’ve been teaching music to children under 5 since 2003. Some groups have been parent participation and some it’s just me and the kidlets. One secret which works for both types of classes, is “singing instructions”. When you sing instructions or directions, people tend to listen. And you know what? It works like magic every time.
Music is something that enters every part of your brain. When I was in school I would often put facts I needed to memorize to melodies (made up or familiar), and it really helped me to retrieve that information for tests – especially if the melody was a catchy tune.
Just the other day, when I was working my cashiering job, a little boy came in with his mother. He was trying to figure out how much it would cost for them to both go swimming. Our prices include taxes, so he was trying to figure out the tax from the total amount. He was able to figure it out (roughly), and I told him that his math skills were really good. He replied, “I learned my times table by making up a song.” Music to my ears 🙂
A few days previous to this, I was at the post office, waiting in line to mail a package. It was rather busy, with Christmas being a few days away, but it wasn’t super noisy. A woman came up to the other side of the counter (about 15 feet away), and asked one of the postal workers for some tape. The postal worker didn’t have any, but near to where I was standing, there was a roll of packing tape, on a ledge just below the counter. I said aloud, “There’s some tape over here…” but she didn’t hear me, so I said a bit louder, “There’s some tape over here…” and held up the roll. Still no response. She didn’t even look my way. A couple of people in line also tried to get her attention saying, “Ma’am, there’s some tape over here”, without much luck. The woman standing behind me said, under her breath, “Maybe we should sing it to her”. I looked back at the woman behind me with a giant smile and said, “Yes, we should. I sing instructions to my music students and music therapy clients and it works like magic”. She replied with a smile, “That’s the only way I can get my two year old to do anything”.
Just before I was able to try again and “Sing” that there was tape in front of the counter, the woman realized that we were all telling her that there was tape near to where we were standing, and she came and retrieved it.
In hindsight, I guess I could have walked over and given it to her, but it was the end of a long and busy day, and I just didn’t think to at the time. Besides, if I had, I wouldn’t have had that short conversation with the woman behind me, which totally reinforced what I wanted to say in my blog today.
I love everything about music. Everything about it is amazing and as I mentioned previously, it is one of the only activities that reach every single part of your brain (especially if you are actively participating in it).
Make music a part of your day, everyday.