“Bird’s Nests”

My pre-schoolers and I were enjoying several other songs about birds, when the idea came to me for this one  (“Bird’s Nest Building”).  We all collapsed in laughter at the chorus with it’s punch line:  “Tweet, tweet, tweet.  Tweet, tweet, chirp!”  I brought a special puppet with three baby birds in a nest, which was a great hit.

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I wrote the song first, then added the Chant, “To Build a Nest”, and the Fingerplay, “What Builds a Bird’s Nest?” for the next year’s classes.

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage   “I have a musical mind,musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse www.MyMusicalMind.com


I wrote this Theme as the school year ended.  Even my pre-school students were thinking about summer.  We talked about what they would be doing.  I remembered how summer felt to me as a child.  Sometimes, just a smell of hot asphalt or a breeze across a field brings back those feelings of summer.

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© 2013 Kathryn Hardage



Compassion means feeling for others what you feel for yourself.  This is how I described compassion in a song I wrote for my pre-schoolers about the gifts they can share.  I expanded this concept into a whole Theme, with a Chant, a Fingerplay and a Song.

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When you share these words with your child, you are showing him how important they are.  Sit your child in your lap and bounce her gently as you say the Chant “Just Like Me”.  Then touch each finger as you say the Fingerplay, “What I Am Is What You Are”.  Repeat the fingerplay touching the fingers on his other hand.  The “Little Loving Song” has a melody that is similar to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with just a slight difference.  It is a song which you can pass along to each child in a circle if you are in a play group, circle time, or Sunday School.

When each child feels these words directed at him, they become part of his life.  We are all precious.  We are all compassionate.

“I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage

“Shake, Shake, Shake”

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This Chant is so much fun.  It is a darling way to play with your baby and add vocabulary.   It starts:  “I shake it on your feet.  I shake it on your tummy.  I shake it on your nose.  Shake, Shake, Shake.”

Hold a maraca, a percussion shaker, or a home-made shaker in your hand and shake it to keep a beat.  You can touch your baby on her feet, tummy, nose every time you say the word for feet, tummy, nose to show her what that word means.  Since you are keeping a beat, the rhythm and meaning of the language will be established more deeply.

When your baby gets a little older, you may hand him a shaker or maraca, too.  100_0766 100_0755

By listening to the Chant over and over again, your baby will be able to say it with you in time.  Later on, by following the words as you read the Chant together, your child will begin to see the words for all the parts of the body and will begin to read them with you.

“I have a musical mind,musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse

© 2013 Kathryn Hardage




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I wrote the song for this Theme when I took classes for Permaculture Design Certification.  One of the things we learned about was how to build a compost pile, and the value of compost for improving soil nutrition.

Later, I added the Chant and the Fingerplay for my pre-school music students.

Now, I have been composting for several years.  I am always amazed at how the compost pile builds up over time, mixing in the leaves and grass and kitchen scraps, and watering it and turning it until one compost bin is full.  Then, as I fill the second bin and let the compost age and decompose, there is so very little left.  By the time it has decomposed completely and is ready to added to the garden beds, there is one tenth of the original amount.

It is a lesson in how we can save lots of waste from going into the landfill and instead convert so much into a valuable garden nutrient.


“Love IS”

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This book presents a  Spiritual Treasure Theme consisting of a Chant, a Fingerplay and a Song.

“Love IS” gives the parents words to describe the the feelings of love and abundance which are here for everyone.

It is fun to play with your child. The words we share help our children learn about his/her life. Describing our feelings helps develop vocabulary.

As you share this Theme, you will see how your child responds and you will be able to see how these ideas shape feelings and actions.

As your child grows, you will see anticipation in her eyes and hear the words as he reads with you.


“How Do Your Vegetables Grow?”

This Theme is for the World of Gardening.

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The Chant is called “How Do Vegetables Grow?  The Fingerplay is called “Do My Vegetables Grow Up or Down?”  The Song is called “Oh, I Never Knew How Garlic Grew”.

I wrote this song after visiting a friend’s CSA (Community Supported Garden).  She is a farmer who sells subscriptions to people who want to buy fresh organic vegetables throughout the growing season.  As I helped her weed around the plants and place seedlings in the gardens, I saw a plant I didn’t recognize.  It was the tops of the garlic, the “scapes”.  It was then that I realized,  “I never knew how garlic grew”.  I wrote the chant and fingerplay later when I wanted to introduce the names of lots of vegetables to my pre-school classes.

I have added the vocabulary cards for children who are ready to match words.  The envelopes are to help keep track of the vegetable cards once you have cut them out.

I also cut out pictures of the vegetables from organic seed catalogs and pasted them onto colorful background paper.  This creates another matching game, with pictures and words.  Here are a some great seed catalogs.  You may even want to grow some seeds in your garden or in some containers such a five-gallon food grade buckets.

Vegetable Photos from Seed Catalog

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  http://www.rareseeds.com

Territorial Seed Company  http://www.territorialseed.com

Johnny’s Selected Seeds  http://www.johnnyseeds.com

Harris Seeds  http://www.harrisseeds.com

“I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”  –Kacky Muse

Keeping track of your many music books and composing cards

After you download the music e-book, you may enjoy using a manila folder in a special way to keep each book neat.  I recommend cutting the manilla folder apart at the fold and turning it sideways.  Glue the colored book cover on top of the folder and write the name of the music book on the tab.  Punch holes in the left side of the pages of the Musical Pattern Book and the sides of the manilla folder.  Attach rings through the holes.  Buy some library pocket cards at a Teacher Supply store for the Small Composing Cards and glue them on the inside of the manilla folder.  Teacher supply stores also have larger pockets for the Large Composing Cards.  Colorful manilla folders are also fun to use.

I enjoy ordering through http://www.teacherstorehouse.com/product_search.asp?brand=TOP+NOTCH+TEACHER+PRODUCTS

“Child” Ideas

When I started receiving ideas for teaching early childhood music, I called them “my little children who do not talk back to me”.  They came to me and I wrote them down and I shared them with my pre-school students.  Over the years, they have continued to come, and I have developed the ideas in different forms and taught them to children and adults.  These have led up to a music reading readiness method which transitions seamlessly into reading traditional Western music notation.

I love these little ideas.

They are precious to me.

About eight years ago, they let me know that they wanted to play with more little children.  I had been putting them into little music reading readiness kits and books, so I began going to music and educational conventions and to craft fairs with a booth for everyone to try them out.  The booth was always very busy and everyone loved learning about the ideas and materials and how to use them.

But is didn’t get out into the public in the way that I felt the ideas asked to.  So when I began learning the computer, I learned how to recreate all the materials digitally and learned how to start a website and a blog.  Now they are being prepared for release that way, in an unlimited way, a way in which everyone will have access to them and they can go play with other children.

They are sweet and precious and they introduce a vocabulary of innocence to even the very youngest children who are given them.

The songs, chants and fingerplays which very young children learn are with them forever.  So it is important for them to grow up with the feeling that “I am a Beautiful Child”, that they are a “Precious Baby Girl and Boy”, to learn about “Thanksgiving Gratitude” all year long, and to know about the “Gifts in My Family” and to truly realize they are the gift and how to share their gifts.  It is a very different orientation from the way we are all raised in Western society.  But it is a true and universal fact, that we all are gifts to our world-wide family.

So these little songs help remind us about our true value and relationship to one another.  Because they are sung and chanted, the melodies and rhythms reach many different facets of the very young child.

The additional part of the method, the music reading readiness kits with musical symbols and musical vocabulary are a way of preparing a very young child to read music.  Large and small symbol cards allow a very young child to create original musical compositions, even before s/he can write.  Reading and playing the patterns in the Musical Pattern Books expands the very young child’s visual and motor capacity.  Following the patterns from left-to-right trains the eyes in a Western reading direction.

Correlating a symbol for a sound connects symbols and sounds.  The child moves through a vocabulary of several different simple rhythm instruments, but learns actual music vocabulary.  Since it can be used with any musical instrument, it is a valuable foundation.  The child connects many smaller things, instruments, to a few universal things, beginning music vocabulary.

Once the child’s curiosity and love of exploration are engaged and related to learning music, s/he is prepared for the more detailed aspects of reading notation.  The same type of exploration is designed into all the steps which lead up to reading fluently.  Drawing on the curiosity and variety in the young child’s nature, many opportunities are given for composing, and everything is introduced in a musical structure which allows for variety and reassurance as new challenges are introduced.

Supported by the parents at home, this time of intimacy and comfort builds trust and harmony and creates a special bond, a time which allows the parent and child to progress in understanding and playing with the music books and cards.

As the child becomes more independent and receives continual feedback from the parents who are involved in each step of the music reading path, the child realizes that playing music is a way to communicate, a way to share feelings and ideas.

S/he gains a complex skill, with lots of variety to make the repetition bearable, and shares, shares, shares, rather than being isolated to perfect his/her skill.

Ultimately, while learning the layers of the musical arrangements, the child begins to make music with friends and family, since the parent is involved through all the steps.  Parents, as adults, find that they, too, can enjoy music making with their children and with other families who are participating.

Thus, they create a bond through music making while many other factors are separating and isolating families.

Thank you for making music with me today and sharing your musical ideas with other people.  You are a wonderful musician (and parent).

Kathryn Hardage

aka “Kacky Muse”

“I have a musical mind, musical indeed.”





© 2013 Kathryn Hardage

“My Baby”

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“My Baby” gives the parents words to describe the wonder and beauty and intimacy of their new baby.

It is fun to play with your baby.  The words we share help the baby learn about his/her life.   Describing our actions helps develop vocabulary.

As you share this Theme, you will see how your baby responds and you will be able to add your own nonsense words and movements.

As your baby grows, you will see anticipation in her eyes and hear words begin to form in the sounds he imitates with you.

Kathryn Hardage