Healing Songs for Troubled Times

pedagogy corner Oct 19, 2020
 

We all know that music has a lot of power. It can influence our mood, our mental health, our physical well-being, improve brain function, strengthen motor skills… the list goes on and on. As teachers and leaders, we see these benefits in our classrooms and communities every day.

By Cynthia Kinnunen

These days, we’ve got more on our mental and emotional plates than usual. It could be just the right time to consider intentionally introducing some healing music into our classrooms. Here are a few ideas from various Uketropolis resources that you might find could hit just the right soothing tone for your students and almost all of the resources below are free. 

Ahe Lau Makani from Ukulele in the Classroom Book 2

Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawai’i wrote many beautiful songs, including this one. In 6/8 time, it flows along sweetly as it speaks of gentle singing breezes sweeping across the island and warming our hearts. The imagery alone can help us drift away to peaceful surroundings.

Dear Someone from Ukulele in the Classroom Book 3

This original song from James is a powerful addition to the updated edition of Ukulele in the Classroom Book 3. Not only does it poignantly and gently speak of sharing an important message with someone, it also offers the perfect opportunity for your students to express themselves by writing their own verse. This can be a powerful exercise in self-expression for your class. 

A little music can be just the right medicine.

Peace like an ‘ukulele (free online course)

Of course, we can always look to the beauty and calm of the Peace like an ‘ukulele short course. With its combination of mesmerizing melodic ideas, and the ability for the player to explore how they’d like it to take shape, it’s some meditative musical magic, perfect for us as teachers and leaders as much as for students. It’s worth exploring even if you need to let your own mind drift from worries. 

Hard Times Come Again No More from Great Popular Songs

This Stephen Foster tune has been covered by numerous artists over the years and offers soulful solace in its familiar melody. In this arrangement, James offers up some alternate voicings that really take this song to another level, raising notes and hearts in the process.

All the Pretty Little Horses from Great Popular Songs

An African-American lullaby that has also been recorded by many artists, its minor key and descending melodic lines can help us feel settled as we rock and sway through this quiet song in ¾ time. 

Though it’s fun and energizing to make lively music with our students, let’s not forget about allowing some calm, some serenity into our spaces to let our hearts and minds break free of the busy-ness now and then, too. 

Cynthia Kinnunen is a music educator from Guelph, Ontario and is part of Team Uketropolis. www.CynthiaKMusic.com 

 

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