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Simple Gifts

23 Nov Simple Gifts

Music and Movement are an integral part of Montclare’s curriculum.  Music certainly isn’t limited to the classrooms and specialist activities.  Even as our children walk the halls, you will hear them singing, “Put your finger on the wall, on the wall.”  There is a song associated with most activities including clean up, circle time, and even riding the elevator!

“Music ignites all areas of child development: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.”  Bright Horizons

It is profoundly inspiring to observe how fully engaged our students are through both moving to music and singing together in song. Our Music & Movement Specialist exposes students to a wide variety of music from all over the world while stimulating their minds and muscles with various instruments and materials like flowing, colored scarves and stretchy-bands.  Our Music Specialist serves up a roster of songs spanning from Rogers & Hammerstein, Dylan, The Beatles, to timeless folks songs and more.

“Brain regions involved in movement, attention, planning and memory consistently showed activation when participants listened to music — these are structures that don’t have to do with auditory processing itself. This means that when we experience of music, a lot of other things are going on beyond merely processing sound.” CNN

There is something very heartwarming, however, in hearing these young voices sing in unison songs like, “Let it Be,” “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Down by the Riverside,” and classics like “You are my Sunshine.”  Whether the children fully grasp the layered meanings of these songs is not what is most important at this stage in their lives.  You can feel a deep sense of community when the children sing together.  Through these beautiful melodies and words, they are connecting with one another and anyone within earshot in an way that song has brought people together for all of history.

One of the songs I most enjoy hearing the children sing is, “Simple Gifts.” Aaron Copland knew this song to be a masterpiece as he incorporated it into his 1944 composition, “Appalachian Spring.” Hearing the children sing this old Shaker hymn is indeed a lovely thing.  Music itself is such a gift and this recording of Yo-Yo Ma & Alison Krauss is nothing less than exquisite.  Enjoy!

“Simple Gifts” by Joseph Brackett, 1848

Its a gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
Its the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round rightIts a gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
Its a gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right
Till by turning, turning we come round right

 

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday Season.

 

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