Today my daughter and I had our first play-along jam session in a long time. I recommend them to students all the time, but I hadn't realized we had fallen out of the habit of it in my own home!
What is a Jam?
Our jams are inspired by the play-alongs that occur in Music Together classes. We simply get out our kid instruments, crank up a song, and play along to the music! If you don't have a basket of instruments, break out the wooden spoons and pots and pans, and take a quick look around the house to see what else might be turned into a noise maker. :)
MM: Favorite Disney Songs for Family Jams
Since my daughter listens almost exclusively to Disney soundtracks, we were jamming to songs from Frozen, Moana, and Tangled. We had so much fun that I created a playlist for us to reference the next time. Wanna hear it? I've created the playlist in Apple Music/iTunes and Spotify.
What's in it for the Grown-Ups
As a mom, I'm partial to activities that are stimulating for my kids AND me. I don't just do these play-alongs to humor my children. I totally get into them and probably get a little too carried away! But honestly, there's a lot that beginning musicians can get out of these jam sessions.
Hone your vocals.
The personalities singing these songs are very expressive and some are quite over-the-top, which I find to be great inspiration for my singing. Sing along if you know the words, and try to match the level of emotion and mood.
Build up your endurance.
Beginning musicians can fizzle out over the course of a song (or songs). Playing along to recordings is great training for developing your stamina. The recorded music will carry you, which is easier than setting and maintaining a tempo on your own.
Boost your mood.
One of the best things about music is its affect on our emotions. Singing whole-heartedly and shaking some egg shakers or buzzing on a kazoo can totally perk me up and turn me into a more joyful, peaceful parent. And that's something everyone benefits from.
What's in it for the Kids
They have your attention.
There's a difference between watching your kids play and actually playing with them. You are doing something together, which makes the activity feel special. Jams are suitable for all ages and development stages, and it's a lot more fun than yet another round of Don't Break the Ice (or whatever your child might be obsessed with lately).
Developing their musicality.
Rhythm is the most important element of music making, and your kids can learn a lot about music through this type of play. Just as you're striving to keep your playing in time with the music, so are your kids! It's so thrilling to see little ones sing along to their favorite song or bang a drum right on beat!
Permission to be loud, Permission to be silly.
Jams are the most fun when you all let loose and get noisy. Kids love to see their parents be goofy, and this playlist is full of happy, upbeat songs that I enjoy as much as my kids do. I hope they are as big a hit in your home as they are in mine.
Do you have a favorite Disney jam song that's not on the playlist? How are you making music with your kids? I'd love to hear about it!