“You open a book,
and the book opens your soul”
In Keyconcepts of Music Therapy
von Gertrud Orff
Kinder spielen mit Klängen und Tönen
The idea for writing this book arose during my teaching activities in China. I loved to share all my experiences in music teaching as a Waldorf teacher in Germany with Chinese teachers and parents. For the instrumental parts it was easy, but for singing I had to deal with the question which melodies would be suitable for Chinese children. Our European tunes do come from another cultural background and are not smooth and easy to internalize for Asian children. So I started to compose pentatonic melodies and tried them out with Chinese speaking people in their language. You find these songs in this book. With their short and easy structure they can give an orientation for a new approach to music instruction in childhood. But they are not supposed to replace the rich treasure of Chinese traditional folkmusic.
Each song is accompanied by a story, which can open childrens´souls for a song. Children are different from adults. They feel comfortable when things are complex, they like to combine music impressions with inner pictures. They take a song into their heart and love to sing it when they can link it to a meaningful story, that describes their surrounding world as a good place to live in. In many years of teaching in a Waldorf School I could experience the need and the pedagogical meaning of stories with a positive moral content. Especially children have a good sense for human values like friendship, tolerance, courage, respect, thankfulness, reliability and honesty. But these topics appear less and less in the media life of our modern culture. We agree to these virtues, but instead of telling old folktales or having personal talks between teachers and students or parents and children about our world and about our relationship to nature and environment, children spend a lot of time with computer games, television and smartphones. We know which food is safe and healthy for our body, but do we care enough for the nutrition of our inner world of the soul? Good stories and a positive active imagination are a healthy and natural food and strengthen the inner life.
I tried to create stories for songs and songs for stories. Often they came in the same moment together to me. I also tried to find contents that could be of interest for Western and Eastern children nowadays in the same way. We have different musical backgrounds which give us a sense of individual identity, but we are also one world regarding our moral and social ideals.
As a singing therapist I tried to apply my knowledge on the important influence of singing in our lives. Electronic music and listening to CD can never replace the original singing, which goes deeper and with light and warmth into the body and the soul. Therefore I hope that the CD in this book will be used only for the process of learning, and will not substitute the active singing.
Martina Etterich 2014
„Voices of Nature“ the new Book by Martina Etterich