Music & Singing: This Little Light of Mine with Some Great Videos of the Song


"THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE"...happens to be one of the favorite songs of the children I have worked with over the years. Children's voices make this song much more meaningful and it is a delight to watch little preschoolers singing it! I found a sophisticated version in the following little youtube video:

A wonderful musician who makes beautiful children's music cds is Elizabeth Mitchell. Link to her website: She is part of the Smithsonian Folkways recording library, even though she is a young woman. She discovered her love of old songs when she heard a recording of  "Freight Train" by Elizabeth Cotten. Cotten wrote that song when she was a child herself. Mitchell has been recording music for children since 1998, and over the years she has included her young daughter, Storey, in her recordings. Mitchell appreciated her daughter's clear and sweet singing voice from the time Storey was a toddler. Many of the old-time singers and players from the Appalachian Mountains (where my parents grew up) have that clear sweet way of singing and playing instruments that surely was encouraged throughout their childhood. I can remember going back to visit my kin folks in the mountains of West Virginia and singing in my Aunt's sitting room with all my cousins while she played the piano. We didn't care if we were polished singers and players...the music was irresistible and the result was beautiful, clear and sweet!
Here's a sampling of Elizabeth Mitchell's gifts to children (and grown-ups):

When children are encouraged to sing, they will! Even without encouragement, children make their own play songs with the sol-mi melody (falling third) and this has been documented all over the world. In the Orff-Schulwerk music training, we were taught that this sol-mi singing is an important developmental milestone in most children's vocal development. Luckily, many childhood songs have this melody built right in. Some examples are: "It's Raining, It's Pouring" and "Star Light, Star Bright."

I highly recommend studio music classes for children and Kindermusik is just about the best! Here's the link: Kindermusik classes bring gazillions of classic children's songs back to families in lesson after lesson. Not only do they sing and play the little party games in  Kindermusik class that go with these children's classics, the Kindermusik home materials offer the recording of the songs to be played at home as well. The whole family can sing and play together and this greatly encourages the vocal development of a child! Get out the harmonica, or the shaker eggs...or make your own drum from kitchen pots and pans. How about the old "kazoo" made from a comb with tissue paper wrapped around it! You can even put two spoons together and tap them on your knee.

What is fun about old-time songs is that they just can't go wrong.

In case you were thinking that these simple, sweet songs are for childhood only, try watching this video from Odetta:

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