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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 Bridget Marzo and Michelle Path.


Bridget Marzo:

Nursery rhymes was the only access I had to my mother tongue

Bridget Marzo

From our time as foetuses when we heard the first rhythm of a heartbeat, (rhythm and vibrations felt by the deaf too) to the rhymes and songs of childhood the role of music is fundamental in our lives. But your question got me re-reading Maurice Sendak’s essay, The Shape of Music, in Caldecott & Co. First because of something that stayed with me as an author-illustrator that is on the very first page ‘To conceive musically means to quicken the life of the illustrated book’. Pacing, and page turns – and the repetition of elements across a book link it to a musical sequence. He adds soon after ‘No childhood fantasy of mine was complete without the restless, ceaseless sound of impromptu humming, the din of the unconscious music making that conjured up just the right fantastical atmosphere. All children seem to know what the mysterious, the riding-fiercely-across-the-plains (accompanied by hearty, staccato thigh slaps), and the plaintive conventionally sound like; and I have no doubt that this kind of musical contribution enriches each particular fantasy.’

My first recollection of a song was a Catalan lullaby which I only know as “Nunetta Nuno” with know knowledge of its meaning. My mother sang to me as a child whenever I was ill or restless and I found myself singing it to her when she was dying. It calmed us both down. Now she has gone, I wish I could find a trace of it online even. As a refugee from the Spanish Civil War and a first generation immigrant to the UK, nursery rhymes and songs was the only access I had to her Catalan mother tongue.

Bridget Marzo is an author/illustrator based in London.


Michelle Path:

Music is a wonderful way to introduce and get children involved in stories

Michelle Path

I think music is a wonderful way to introduce and get children involved in stories. Music and lyrics can be powerful and emotive and can really resonate with children, capture their imagination and also help them express their feelings and emotions. Lyrics are basically a form of poetry and poetry can really capture the essence of what the author is trying to convey in a preciseland succinct manner. Even without words music can be incredibly emotive. Putting music and stories together helps children to learn to love reading and books and can have a positive impact on the way they view reading; not just a chore at school but something fun, fantastic and magical.

 I was surrounded with music as a child. I always loved it. My favourite children’s songs were from Sesame Street. I recall fondly Ernie and Bert’s Rubber Duckie song and Cookie Monster’s C is for Cookie. In terms of popular music growing up, I loved Abba songs. This was my first favourite group and the first tape that I chose was one of theirs, although I can’t remember exactly which one it was.

Michelle Path is an Australian children’s books author.

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