First published Jul 29, 2019 hellocongo.com.au
It’s finally here! We Can Play Album Release
Have you ever had a dream that was pushed to one side as real life took over? Not that there is anything wrong with a busy life of course: working, parenting small children, running a house, volunteering. It’s just that while you’re living that busy life, your one big dream can fade into nothing more than a quiet thought that whispers occasionally when you have a spare moment, and is usually shoved back in the ‘too hard for now’ box.
Until recently, this is what my album ‘We Can Play’ had become for me. A dream from my pre-parenthood days that had been pushed aside by real life. But I am so pleased to announce that the album is now finally complete and ready to share with the world!
It is because of my experience in finally achieving my dream with this album that I really want to encourage you to hold on to your dreams, no matter how much they fade, because you never know what might catapult them back into reality for you. I had written the songs on this album over many years, for use in a professional therapy setting. But it was only when I began experimenting and learning to interact with my own child at home that I began to think beyond the everyday, and start to use what I already had to progress my dream.
Songs I had written for the album years ago suddenly became a new way for me to play with my own daughter in a medium that I was comfortable with — music. And the overwhelmingly positive way that she responded to my songs not only manifested in some truly beautiful moments of creative play together but it encouraged me to keep going with my dream to record and release the album.
One song in particular, called ‘Swaying’, gave my daughter and I a lovely point of connection and is one of my favourites on the album. This lovely relaxing activity involved sitting and holding my daughter and moving together when she was very little. It would calm her down and it would calm me down too. As she has grown it’s a song that has become a firm favourite. We can use crayons to mimic the swaying action on paper, scarves or ribbons to dance with or just enjoy some cuddle time together.
Song from We Can Play M. Spragg 2019
As with all music, there are no rules on what you can and can’t do along to this song but here are suggestions. It’s not about teaching your child music. It’s more about using music as a tool to help them explore movement, communication, and practice listening.
Listen to the song together with your children and follow the sung movements. You may like to sit your child on your lap on the floor or on a chair and sway together or face each other and hold hands to sway. Maybe your child can show you how to dance with scarves or pieces of fabric to the song or use a crayon and piece of paper to draw along to the swaying action as the song is sung.
You’ll notice that the beat of the music is quite slow, so it will encourage you all to take deep breaths and relax into the moment. Don’t worry if you start to yawn — this is a good sign! It’s just your body relaxing.
For older children you can ask them afterwards how they felt during the song, or get them to sway with their eyes shut to feel the movement and talk about what they thought of as the song played.
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts as you participate with your child as well. This teaches them that it’s good to think, to imagine and develops some great problem solving skills.
If you want to keep the moment going you could also sing ‘Rock, Rock, Rock your boat’ to the tune of Row, Row, Row. Or a quiet ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ and if your child is interested, encourage them to draw pictures of boats, stars, the moon or a quiet night sky.