Kids’ Jam Early Elementary Music Curriculum
photo by Susan Wilson
"Music to me is deep mystery; its power leaves me in awe. It is our birthright: a form of expression, a way to learn and transmit information, to explore, process, and communicate emotions. It’s powerful stuff. It has the capacity to touch us beyond words, to bring us back to some long ago place and time, or to move us forward into a new way of seeing and being in the world. Because of these traits, it is matchless as an educational tool. However, because of the joy that music brings to me and what I see as its potential in the life of any person, I choose to share and teach music for its own sake." – Lui Collins
The Kids’ Jam curriculum is an early elementary music curriculum based on the Kids’ Jam Family Music Workshop lab classes created by Lui Collins of Upside-Up Music. It consists of 8 CD Recordings and Songbooks based on a cycle of seasons over 2 years. Many of the songs are traditional songs, collected from late 1800’s and early 1900’s songbooks and adapted for Kids’ Jam; Ms. Collins composed others specifically for the Kids’ Jam repertoire.
The lab classes, which Ms. Collins has been conducting since 2007, are mixed-age classes for children from ages 5 to 7. Each collection contains songs ranging in complexity from Kindergarten through 2nd grade level. The curriculum may easily be adapted for use in a school setting by the elementary music teacher or classroom teacher. It is also appropriate for use in the Homeschool family setting or Homeschool group music workshop.
Please note that Kids’ Jam curriculum is a work in progress. In its current form, it is a mixed-age curriculum that I use for my Kids’ Jam Family Music Workshop classes, with children from ages 5 to 7 – and sometimes their younger siblings too, in a homeschool class.
When I went searching for songs for Kids’ Jam, I discovered a treasure trove in my local libraries, old songbooks full of thousands of songs that I had never heard, or early variations of songs that have become well known in recent years in other, quite different, versions. Some of these songs were perfect for Kids’ Jam as is, they needed nothing from me other than my re-interpretation from written sheet music of what would have been handed down via an oral tradition. Other songs needed a tweak here and there – and sometimes a lot more than a tweak! Many of these songs were not children’s songs per se, just beautiful songs, whose potential I recognized: songs that I knew children would love, but that would require some editing of words or dropping of verses to be usable.
Sometimes I found wonderful lyrics set to uninspiring music. For these I rewrote the music, often adding verses and/or a chorus with additional words to flesh them out and bring them to life. And of course I was also writing songs from scratch, often to meet a particular need, musical or topical.
It was a delightfully creative process and I had a perfectly wonderful time immersing myself in this work. I hope you will enjoy the songs as much as I have.