was in 1998 that Mister Laurence found his true calling - Children's
Entertainment. His years as a single parent gave him a unique view in both the work and joys of young children and early childhood education. This single-fathering experience helps him connect with children, and they with him. He began
his own music program for preschool kids in Washtenaw County's preschool centers. HICKORY TREE CHILDREN CENTER, CRADLES AND CRIBS, LITTLE
TIGERS CHILDREN CENTER, JACK AND JILL DAYCARE, WEE WISDOM CHILDREN
CENTER, ANNIE'S DAYCARE CHILDREN CENTER, MORNING STAR DAYCARE, LITTLE FRIENDS PRESCHOOL, and MONTESSORI KIDLAND to name a few.
NOTE: He was commissioned to compose the school theme song for Hickory Tree Children Center. This was then featured on his 1st CD.
BASIC CLASS STRUCTURE
I begin by warming up to the kids with the most popular songs. This gets the class off to a good start with songs everybody knows. Songs like The More We Get Together, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Wheels on the Bus is my personal fave. I make absolute sure I fall asleep half way through, so they can all shout out loud:
"Wake up, Mister Laurence!"
Then we all stand up and run through a small handful of motion numbers. Fun songs where the kids can act out a bit more. I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT, HERE WE GO 'ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, and IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT to name a few. Always entertaining to get the whole class to freeze during If You're Happy And You Know It. "Hold perfectly still! Don't move! Don't even laugh!" Of course, that makes everyone laugh...
EAR TRAINING: THE GUESSING GAME
About midway through the class we sit down and I pull out my accordion. It's now time for ear training. Instruction is to LISTEN. To see if they can detect what song it is, just by the melody alone. "Remember kids, don't raise your hand until we've listened first. I'll let you know when to raise your hand -- only if you really think you know the tune!" The kids have fun guessing what song it is as I play the melodic lines to many of the songs we sing together. They're always surprised to find that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The ABC Song, and Bah Bah Black Sheep all have the same exact melody. Who would have thunk?
B-I-N-G-O or ANIMAL SOUNDS
class ends up with a rousing game of B-I-N-G-O. I pick
out a handful of kids (who weren't up the week before)
to stand up at the head of the class and hold large laminated cards with huge letters on one side and hand clapping pictographs on the flip side. Loads of fun. Recently we've added a new game-song called ANIMAL SOUNDS, a variation on an old pop song from the 1940's. Kids have the chance to learn both the spelling of the animals and the fun of mimicing their wild sounds. The sound of a dinosaur is a huge fave. I invariably reel back at the fearfully terrific sound they make!
Mister Laurence also introduces parameters of music!
We begin with the concept of TEMPO: "Remember what I was saying last week about how fast or how slow a song can be played? What's that called in the language of music? That's correct! TEMPO." We then try THE ABC SONG very slowly ... and then again at a super fast TEMPO!
Then it's DYNAMICS ~ the volume at which a song is performed. Nothing like getting little kids to w h i s p e r thru any given song. Talk about ear training...
If it looks like we have time, I'll challenge the children by having them sing a particular song in a higher "key". I take out my capo and set the guitar up one fret at a time (up one note / one key). From there we quickly learn the idea of pitch and how it effects both the melody and our voice. Simple!
Before we all know it, time's up and class is over.
I ask the children to all get in a line in front of me. One by one each child receives a music stamp on their hand
and I let each of them know what a grand job they've done for the day. Sometimes I'll bring in "coloring pages"
for the kids, too. These are simply enlarged B&W reprints of my CD covers. Great fun to color in on their
free time breaks. And, sometimes I let them strum the strings of the guitar as I form the
chords for them. That's always a pleasant, fun surprise for them to experience.
"Goodbye, Mister Laurence!"
"Goodbye, kids! See you next time!"
NOTE: Mister Laurence uses his own original recorded backing tracks (THE PLAY MONEY BAND).
This increases enthusiasm in the classroom and keeps the little ones glued.
$65.00 an hour
PRESCHOOL SNAP SHOTS
Click on this cool pic below to find out more about who invented Kindergarten!