January 2018: Looking forward, glancing back
Welcome to 2018! We wish you all a happy, successful and musical year full of opportunities, challenges and accomplishments! As you can see, here at musicbuds one of our (many!) New Year resolutions was to start, and crucially, maintain, a regular* blog for the entire year. Let’s see how we do ( – not very well so far, as we haven’t managed to post this in January!!…) The start of a new year is always a good time to ‘take stock’ of where we are and what we would like to achieve both in short- and long-term views.
In the short-term, we started by working very hard at preparing for our presence at the Nursery World Exhibition in London on 2nd and 3rd of February. We were launching our freshly-published music packs which are bursting with songs and activities for the Early Years. We also had a big display (provided by Anna) of a range of our colourful props to use with the songs.
We were thrilled by both the turn out and the interest of the visitors to our stand. It is so affirming to find that others appreciate the quality of our work. We have both been wallowing in our niche for many years now and to see all our songs actually published, for sale, and bought by happy customers was just wonderful. A word of thanks here – to the ‘Seymour gals’; Katharine, Lizzie and Becky, who so ably ran the stall and propped Clare up (in a similar way to the rest of the props!) every time she started wilting! We did have a wonderful time!
Later on this month (February 22nd and 23rd) we will again be in London (Olympia) at the Music and Drama education expo, where we are presenting a workshop aimed at developing aural awareness in Early Learners. You might think this topic is a little too specialised to be of general interest, but you’d be surprised. It is basically aimed at developing focussed listening in children. Anybody caring for young children knows how important that can be – from learning how to react to emergency sirens in the environment to how to change and control the level of your voice to suit your surroundings. Again, if you are attending (- entrance is free), do come to our workshop or visit our stand.
— musicbuds (@musicbuds) February 27, 2018
In the long-term, another of our resolutions is to rein in our creative enthusiasm! Our ideas for new material seem to ricochet between us, and before we know it, we have too many song ‘pots’ on the boil (created and being trialled with the children), and only very few completely ‘cooked’; edited, proof-read and presentable for publication. You can tell which bit of the process we enjoy the most!
Although we had several wonderful achievements throughout 2017, the year also saw the passing of one of musicbuds’ most faithful friends – Ren, the gentle black labrador that belonged to Clare’s family. Ren was Clare’s constant companion throughout the composing process. He was present in the background (- rather like a ‘wise old man’ towards the end) at every Facetime meeting between Clare and Anna. He liked to comment vociferously (with barks and growls) as Clare explored sound-effects for the songs, and provided light-relief (in the form of licks, nudges, tummy-rubs and walks) when the composing process got tough. He is, and will continue to be for a long time to come, sorely missed. Ren was the inspiration for the song titled (unsurprisingly!) ‘Ren is a dog’ that we created in 2010. It has become a long-term favourite with many of our Musicbudders, as his escapades in the song are/were so true to life. He would often head out to sea with no apparent intention of ever turning around to return home.
“…Ren is a dog with a sleek black coat
And he lives by the sea with a loving family…
…Now on his walks, he likes to splash in rain
Until he is soaking wet
His ears pinned back and a set of muddy tracks
That he leaves behind on the floor…”
Have a listen!
What to expect next
For February, we are going to focus on the importance of teaching aural skills (-how to listen with discrimination) to early learners. These may be ‘early’ learners in terms of age, or in terms of the short amount of time they have been studying an instrument or learning to sing. What you can do:
- To develop an awareness of listening, listen out for how many aural signals you react to in the environment – traffic lights, emergency vehicles, car horns – and let us know!
- Listen out to see how differently we use our voices in different surroundings.
- Let us know about your musical experiences with young children
- Drop us a question
Come back soon!