How did you learn the alphabet when you were little? There’s a very good chance it was the "ABC Song." (Such a popular tune that it also boasts the alternate titles "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and "Baa Baa Black Sheep!”) And I bet it wasn’t the actual alphabet you learned first, but the tune itself. Here's the thing, and it's proven by science: attaching information to a melody makes it memorable, plain and simple. And it works particularly well with kids, who respond so viscerally to music. So how can you use this to your advantage, whether for kids’ yoga or in the classroom?
Create your OWN song! (Yes, you can.) Do you have your own version of a sun dance, a moon salutation, and warrior series that you teach regularly to your kids? In the classroom, is there a transition that happens regularly, where the instructions are always the same, and you feel like a broken record repeating them? Make up a simple song about it, and teach the kids! You will be amazed at how quickly they learn it, retain it, and are able to join in. (Listen to my song “Dance for the Sun”, which is how countless kids’ yoga teachers have taught the sun salutation.)
Some tips for success:
—Create musical “hooks." This is easier than it sounds. Any short melody can become a hook. Keep it really simple; it should be able to be sung back to you after only hearing it once. (A good hook is the part of the song that sticks in your head for the rest of the day.)
—Repetition is your friend. No need to go crazy, one simple melody repeated a few times will do the trick. This also makes it lots easier to remember.
—Use rhymes. Self-explanatory; rhyming greatly increases the chances of remembering the line that comes next!
—Or, simply sing your instructions to a familiar tune (see ABC song)! Other ideas: You Are My Sunshine, Skip To My Lou, This Little Light of Mine; there are tons.
I’d love to hear how it goes. Please leave a comment below or get in touch here!