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January “too”

In 1748, my great-great … great Grandfather left Scotland for northern New Brunswick.   Family lore says it was because of sheep stealing, but that soon after the Jacobite rebellion, chances are they were running from the English for more than one reason.    Having a bit of Scotland in the family tree  gives a great excuse for celebration in the doldrums of January.     Robbie Burns Day is January 25.

Robbie Burns wrote about the ordinary things in life —farming, a mouse in the field, love, being poor. He
emphasized that a person needs to be measured by who s/he is, not by what s/he has, the family s/he was
born into or who s/he is married to. Burns became the “peasant’s poet.” His works were quoted often by
Russian peasants as well as the poor in many countries.

We don’t really know if “Bonnie” is a woman or a man!
Maybe Bonnie’s husband has emmigrated to Canada, and she is still in Scotland. Or maybe Bonnie and her
family have emmigrated to Canada, and her boyfriend back in Scotland is missing her. Or maybe the  Bonnie  is
talking about a prince from Scotland named Charlie. Scotland and England were fighting and Charlie had to
leave Scotland. He was called the “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. Who ever you think Bonnie was, enjoy the song with its traditional actions of standing/sitting every time a “b” is sung.      More background information about Robbie Burns, Scotland and bagpipes is found in the  pdf for this song.


Now celebrated around the world is another late January – early February holiday,  yes —Gung Hay Fat Choy!!    Another chance to ring in the New Year with Chinese tradition.


Lockdown again?    If you’ve been teaching on-line, nothing much has changed.   If you’ve been teaching in a classroom, with children in front of you  —everything just changed again.   The good news is, music includes singing with the kids at home!     Choose 3 or 4 songvideos, introduce them during on-line time and challenge students to be ready to sing by heart (without the words or music) for the next on-line music time.

Memorizing exercises the brain,  aids in development of neural pathways  …  music memory includes both sides of the brain working language and math basics.    If students aren’t used to memory work, it will be a real challenge in the beginning, but it does get easier with practice.

When students have learned a song by heart, in the next on-line music time, try the radio game.

Radio Game:   students/mp3 are the radio,  begin with both playing/singing   …   partway through, turn the radio off with a hand sign (turn down the volume on the mp3)   …  after 10-15 seconds, turn the radio/singing back on.    Since the radio station continued to play the song when your radio was off, the music picks up further along than it stopped.    If students have internalized the beat of the song,  they will pick up singing at the correct place.    Since students are singing at home, they can enjoy their success,  or wince at failure to keep the beat without worrying about an audience.