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Creative ways to experience music with your kids: Workshop at ArtStarts

Leading my music workshop at ArtStarts

Leading my music workshop at ArtStarts

When we were starting to plan the launch of my “Just Imagine” album, Kim and I sat down and tried to think of a fun and original way to get the word out to local friends and bloggers. We could pitch to them through social media, send them advance copies for review and run some contests… but then I thought, let’s do something different.  Let’s try to get these busy people together in person for a fun evening. We interact with them online all the time, but I’m really more of a people person who loves to interact with people face-to-face. I thought that it would be fun to lead a workshop on creative and fun ways to use music with your kids.

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We decided to host the workshop at the ArtStarts Gallery downtown. The timing was perfect since they were about to launch a new exhibit that is all about sound and play. My guests and I would be the first people to see the exhibit. As a member of the ArtStarts Board of Directors, I was also very excited to share this incredible space and wonderful organization with these entrepreneurial moms (and a couple of dads.)

The workshop was a lot of fun. Everyone took part in singing, dancing and doing actions. I set up the workshop in three sections:

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1. Music to motivate – We learned how to transform mundance activities and chores into fun activites by writing simply lyrics to well-known melodies. I gave a number of examples such as my nana’s song “Doing dishes,” a “Get ready for bed” song and a “Going pee before a drive” song. Then everyone got to work writing their own funny songs. We had great results such as a  “Sunscreen song” to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it:”

Put your sunscreen on your nose, on your nose

Put your sunscreen on your nose, on your nose

Put your sunscreen on your nose, and right down to your toes

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And a song about “Picking up your toys” to the melody of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”:

There are toys everywhere, everywhere, everywhere

There are toys everywhere, please come pick them up

Once you’ve finished tidying, tidying, tidying

Once you’ve finished tidying, please come get a hug

2. Music to get active – I got everyone up on  their feet by performing a couple of my most popular action-based songs, starting with a classic, the “Bike Safety Boogie.” Then we tried one of my brand new songs about swimming called “Dive in the Pool.”

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3. Music to learn something new – We then looked at the benefits of music to learn another language. In my case, this is central to my philosophy around teaching kids French. I taught everyone a song that my mom wrote, “Merci, merci,” to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

After that I invited the talented Lee Ann imagesbybethany_WS0010Steyns of Signing Babies to come up and teach us all some sign language to music, including signs to my title track, “Just Imagine.” This was lots of fun, and we even cleared up some signs that many parents use that might not be quite what we think they are!

Finally, we discussed how music can help inspire and further teach kids about any topic they are interested in like science, building, sports and dinosaurs.

At the end of the workshop, we had a nice chance to visit  face-to-face. This is a major reason why I love what I do so much: I get to meet hundreds of thousands of kids and parents every week!

The main message I hope everyone got out of the workshop is that regardless of your comfort level with music, as a parent, it is very worthwhile to engage with your children musically in one way or another. Kids can learn a lot, they can get active, it can help to motivate them and it’s so much fun!

Download the music workshop handout

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2 Comments

  • Jessica Says:

    Thanks for including me in this fun evening! I look forward to bringing my girls to the concert on the 14th! 🙂

  • Vancouver Dad Says:

    Thanks Will and Kim for inviting me to the workshop. As a result of what I learnt, I am now thinking of ways to use music to motive, to get active, and to learn something new. I loved the educational aspect of the workshop and I am listening to Will’s new album now, with those aspects in mind. Awesome!!!