• Robert Jones

The Importance of Music In Play

Keeping Songs of Play Alive In A High Tech World.

WMost men and women of a certain age, "Baby Boomers" and older, remember using traditional songs in play. Whether the song was "Ring Around The Rosie", "On Top Of The Schoolhouse" or "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe", these songs were used to choose players for teams, as rhythm to play to or simply as a reworking of traditional songs.

Matt and I have seen girls from the city and girls from the suburbs find common ground in the songs that use for play.

You might think that such songs and music have disappeared in this age video games and apps, but Matt and I have seen black girls from the inner-city and white girls from the suburbs of Detroit totally enthralled by the fact that they had play songs in common.

Play songs go back pretty far in American history, in fact, many of the songs preservationists like Alan Lomax, Dr. John Work, III, and poet and Zora Neale Hurston documented and preserved would be classified as play songs. It would make sense that, like lullabies, these songs are passed on from generation to generation. As long as children play hopscotch, or tag, go on long car trips, or jump rope, it seems that children will use music to occupy themselves and one another. Actually the only thing that might seriously threaten the survival of these songs and rhymes into the future might be a decline in physical play overall.

Our children do live in an increasingly virtual world, filled with virtual play, but as long as children continue to play and interact with one another in "the real world", the traditional play song will continue to grow and thrive.

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