Catching Songs

We all have songs in us. I believe music is an innate human quality.

Haven’t noticed? Pay attention through the day. Are you humming while you work, while you walk, or even singing in the shower?How about your kids? Are they humming while they play?

Maybe it’s a well known song. Maybe the tune is the same but the words have changed to fit the moment. Or maybe it’s something new, something that just popped into mind.

If so, catch that song!

Are your kids making up songs about their siblings or their dog? Help them notice. Sing along. Ask them to sing a phrase again. Ask them if it’s a song they heard before. Is it a song they are making up on the spot? Help them catch their song!

Why catch a song instead of “writing”?

Take off the pressure you or your child may feel when “writing.” Writing sounds like work. Catching sounds like fun! When we start to notice and catch songs, we then build up the ability to enjoy writing and rewriting later on. We accept the melodies we hear. We say yes to our ideas. Then later we can play around with melody variations. Some songs even come out as perfect little gems, no rewriting needed. Be a vessel for the muse to pass through, but don’t let it vanish. Catch it!

How do you catch a song?

Pay attention, listen, and repeat what you hear. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Sing that melody and lyric until it’s stuck in your head.

My favorite way lately to catch a song? I grab my phone and press Voice Memo. Sometimes I video tape myself playing it. Anything fast and easy that truly catches the melody can work.

Pick up a guitar. Sit at the piano. Start to hum. Notice the words passing through your head. See what comes out. Then grab a pencil and paper and write those words down. Type it into a computer if your fingers can keep up with your thinking. Use Siri or Alexa or any voice dictation software. Know how to write music? Grab that music paper and notate the melody and rhythms.

Catching songs gets better with practice!

The best way to practice is giving yourself a routine. Or to make it even more fun, think of it as a challenge!

My own personal song challenge: write and record myself every morning singing a new song snippet. The word “snippet” reminds me that I don’t have to write a fully finished song, just an idea that can be remembered or forgotten, rewritten or left as it is.

What kind of song challenge would you like to try?

Try to sing 4 lines at breakfast with your kids every morning. Make it a game with something simple that repeats. Two rhyming lines at a time. Or decide to catch a song every Saturday evening after diner. Open your mind and your ears. Get together with your family, talk about how the week was for everyone, pick a theme that jumps out, and then try out melodies and lines.

Record those moments when you hear your child humming or singing, or when you notice yourself singing. Then pick a weekly time to sit down and listen to the ideas you’ve recorded and see if something speaks to you.

– written by Betina Hershey

Betina, professional performer, writer, and leader of Garden Players, teaches private lessons, group songwriting, acting, singing, guitar, piano, monologues and loves to inspire kids and adults to catch their creativity and step into their spotlight.

Sign up for The Garden Players Children’s Theater and Music Classes! Offered for ages 6-16, private lessons and coachings are also available. Though this semester is online, it’s shaping up to be the most FUN yet! With classes ranging from Acting Improv to Musical Theater to Songwriting, our program offers everything your child needs to let their creativity run free in a safe, caring environment while they are stuck at home.