Looking for a fun way to add music to your home? Folk music is it! You’ll get everything from calm ballads to bouncy, exciting epic stories. There are tons of way to do this, even if you don’t consider yourself a musician.
1. Buy a CD. But, buy a good one! You can probably do a download, too, but I still like my CDs. Buy something like the Georgia Sea Island Singers, Jill Trinka, Susan Brumfield, John Feierabend, or Smithsonian Folkways Children’s Music Collection. Remember Woody and Arlo Guthrie and Jean Ritchie? Buy something real and authentic. It might not sound like what you expect but that is part of the fun. These are real people singing real songs that have passed down through history, from singer to singer, mother to child, grandmother to grandchild, friend to neighbor.
2. Look up other lands and cultures. Britain and Scotland and Ireland have fantastic children’s play songs. There are many fantastic songs from Africa and Mexico. Some of my favorites include
Jose-Luis Orozcofrom Mexico
Alan Lomax’s recordings of Singing in the Streets: Scottish Children’s Songs
3. Play instruments. I know this one isn’t for everyone but Oh My! Do children love it when there are real instruments in front of them. I pulled out our mountain dulcimer the other day and the girls were enthralled. Again. Every time I pull it out, they stop whatever they were doing and pay attention. They enjoy playing it. So find some instruments, if you can. Ask around. There just may be someone you know who has one or more of these available. Even find recordings of these and it will change up routine and bring delight.
Recordersare a fairly accessible start. They are not expensive and they are relatively easy to play. There are plenty of videos available and kids love them.
Mountain Dulcimersrun the gamut in expensive and they take some learning but they are super fun, kids love them, and their history is extensive. A definite joy to add to folk music.
Hammered Dulcimers are even more expensive than mountain dulcimers and they take a lot of skill and practice. They are, however, extremely beautiful to look at and listen to. Lovely instruments. These are found in a lot of Celtic music. So beautiful!
Autoharps are another instrument that are found quite often in American folk music. They are a midrange priced instrument but lovely in folk sounds. They are quite common and you’ll hear them on many of the recordings, especially if you listen to Jean Ritchie much.
So, there you have it. Three ways to add folk music to your home or classroom. It is something that teaches our rich heritage here in the U.S. and pulls in all the other cultures that make this country so fantastic. Celebrate it with music!
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