Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween Music

Halloween is a great time to explore music with your child. There is suitable music in almost every genre; classical, folk, popular, or rock. Think of the Halloween songs you sang in your elementary music classes. In our town growing up no one would give us candy unless we sang a song or told a joke so we all paid really close attention in music class. Feel free to teach your children the Halloween songs of your youth.

The songs we learned in elementary music are fine for preschoolers. Of course we need to be careful when choosing music for younger children since we don’t want to scare them. Some young children are really sensitive to music in minor keys. I think it’s mostly a cultural phenomenon. Other cultures use minor melodies more frequently in folk and happy songs. In our culture we tend to use the minor modes to denote sad or scary moods. Some children pick up on this at an early age and minor music will really upset them.

When my kids were elementary school age we would get out all the spooky classical recordings. You have probably heard some of them in old movies. One of our favorite albums was Chiller, conducted by Erich Kunzel with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. There are many great songs in the album from this CD. The collection has everything from “Phantom of the Opera” to “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saens to “Funeral of a Marionette” which was the music on Alfred Hitchcock’s show. Now you can buy the MP3 versions of these recordings on Amazon.

Lately, I’ve seen many more popular collections of Halloween music in stores. A few years back I bought a recording of Halloween songs in Wal-Mart containing songs like “The Monster Mash” and the “Purple People Eater”. These are great to play when it’s raining outside and the kids and adults need to blow off some steam without wrecking the house. Put these recordings on and dance while you’re making dinner. If you know the Mashed Potatoes dance, teach it to the kids. It’s so good for kids to see parents dancing and singing. Dads I don’t want to hear that you’re sitting the dances out. It’s especially good for the kids to see that it’s okay for dads to move to music too.

One more thing – don’t forget to go through your recordings and see what you can use as Halloween music. I’ll just bet that there is something in there that you can use.

Now, put on some recordings and rock away. I’d love to hear what music you have used during October for your family.

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