Hearing the grown-ups in my classes singing “Frere Jacques” in the round has been so much fun for me, and it’s even more powerful for the children. Here’s why watching/hearing their important grown-ups singing rounds (or singing in parts) is such a neat thing for them:
- Your child’s brain is wired to tune in to your voice. When your voice is layered with other voices (in a round, or while singing parts), your child’s brain works to follow your voice in that larger, complex sound experience. From infancy onwards, this voice tracking stimulates neural development in the brain and helps your child learn to navigate complex sound input (like music).
- When you have a conversation with a friend, your child watches and listens while you talk and learns about how grown-ups converse — how to talk with others and listen to others talking. When you sing in the round (or in parts), your child learns about musical conversations – how to sing with others and listen to others singing.
- In our culture, we don’t typically gather ’round the piano on Sunday evening and sing as a family while Grandma tickles the ivories. So, when we sing rounds (or parts), we’re modeling something for our children that they don’t get to see very often — that music is something we do TOGETHER. Music is a way of being in community with one another, and it’s a gift to our children to give them this communal experience.
- And, hearing people singing rounds (or parts) is fun! Stealing a bit more from Gene Kelly, “what a glorious feeling…” Hearing live harmonies is incredibly cool — it can even be exhilarating.
And, I bet you thought we were just singin’ in the round for the heck of it.