Tiny Owl Music & Storytelling campaign continues
Music is one of most emotional and enduring forms of storytelling; early cultures often share their stories through music. With the launch of our brand new series called Children. Music. Life, of which the first book of the series, The Drum, is coming out soon, we have started a campaign to explore the relationship between children, music and stories. You can keep up to date by searching for #TinyOwlDrum and #ChildrenMusicLife.
We contacted experts in all kinds of areas such as parents, illustrators, teachers, and librarians, and asked them:
What do you think about the role of music in children’s lives and its relationship to stories?
What song do you remember from your childhood?
Here are two more responses, from Dom Conlon and Alice Ahearn.
Music helps children learn to enjoy reading
As a poet, the importance of music in a child’s life is part of what helps them learn to enjoy reading. The rhythm of a piece of writing is every bit as important as it is in music. It guides us through the text and gives us confidence in ourselves. From the first nursery rhymes to more complex poems, children listen and are shaped by this music. I have vivid memories of sitting in the hallway of my childhood home, listening to Peter and the Wolf on LP. My dad had built the record player to face the doorway where it greeted visitors like an elderly aunt. The stack of liquorice black discs in their thin paper sleeves were a pleasure to load upon the turntable, the weight of each one like a decision to enter another world. The only other thing to hold that power for me were books.
Dom Conlon is an author/poet. He lives in Chorley.
Making music and telling stories are the greatest creative assets we have
Music has always played a hugely important role in my life. I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by it, with opportunities to both listen to it and play it. Looking back, I think I was particularly enchanted as a child by music that told stories: everything from the mischief of ‘The Sorceror’s Apprentice’ right down to silly songs like the Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’. One of the films I watched the most was Disney’s Fantasia, an entire film of animations set to classical music. I don’t think I’d have been nearly as engaged by the music if the story of each animation hadn’t been there to make it intelligible – and even now, whenever I hear one of the pieces that was used, I still think fondly of those animations. Music and storytelling feed off each other: setting a story to music makes the music more accessible, and the story more memorable. We use music to tell stories from the earliest days of our lives, sharing nursery rhymes and singalongs, but too often this tails off as children get older. Making music and telling stories are among the greatest creative assets we have – we should be doing more to help children nurture both!
Alice Ahearn is a bookseller and musician. She lives in Surrey.
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