Music is learned like language. Just as young children need to be immersed in a language-rich environment, a music-rich environment is important for their development. For this reason, one of my goals is to teach parents how to incorporate music play within their home.
While playing with my two year-old son last week, I introduced this song – Grizzly Bear – naturally through our play. He was bouncing on a laundry hamper, making up a song about riding a horse, and he started to call it a “grizzly bear.” I started to sing the song for him and he immediately loved the “ROAR!” at the end!
He was hooked.
He kept asking to sing it again. And again. And again.
After about the fifth repetition, I laid down on the ground and pretended to sleep like the bear. Then he took a turn as the sleeping bear. Then he made a “cave” using some of his toys. A few more repetitions later, my husband came in and added the blanket ceiling for his cave. My son then put his teddy bear in the cave and sang for him!
At this point, I decided I needed to get this on video to share with all of you! So, here is about the fifteenth repetition of Grizzly Bear.
You may have noticed that during the second repetition, while my son was pretending to be the bear, I paused throughout the song. This was done intentionally to target a few specific skills.
Social Skills: First, I was assessing his impulse control and patience. Clearly, he LOVES the roar at the end of the song; I was intentionally delaying gratification to see how he would handle it.
Musical Skills: I was also assessing his ability to maintain tonality. As young children begin to audiate – that is, to hear and comprehend the music internally – they are able to complete musical phrases within the correct tonality. By pausing, I was 1) giving him the opportunity to internalize the music and 2) assess whether he would accurately complete the phrase.
[Note: This is the notation of how the song is traditionally taught. You may notice that I start with a pick-up on the V – C, in the key of F. This is how I learned the song and have always sung it. Choose whichever you prefer!]