If there is any question that music is central to learning, here is a case in point: five-year-old Annabel Blake happily singing the names of all 44 U.S. presidents, to the tune of Suzuki songs:
The prospect of memorizing those names from a book would likely demoralize even the most determined academic. But learning a song? Fun! Easy!
Annabel, of Omaha, Neb., has been studying the violin since she was about 2 1/2 years old from V.com member William Wolcott.
"She has been singing the Fifty Nifty United States song since she was 2 years old," said her mother, Alice Kim. "I recently read a book that described how children between pre-school and fourth grade have incredible memorization skills, and they actually love it. I never learned the presidents in order and thought this could be the next big memorization project."
Annabel liked the idea, but Kim could not find an existing song about the U.S. presidents that she liked. "Annabel is constantly humming 'Song of the Wind' and other Suzuki songs, so I said, 'Let’s try to do the presidents in order to the Suzuki songs!'"
That's exactly what Kim did; she has synchronized the names of all 44 Presidents in order, to the tunes of Song of the Wind, Go Tell Aunt Rhody and O Come Little Children, all from Suzuki Book 1. Here is a PDF of all the words, with the music.
"When I started to write in the names of the Presidents to correspond to the rhythm of the song, they just flowed so easily," Kim said. "Of course there was some tweaking here and there, but in the end I realized if I removed some of the first names and just tried to use the music to guide the list, there would be some natural rhythmic results."
At this point, Annabel may know the presidents better than her mother does.
"Embarrassingly enough, Annabel is the one who can tell me the next president in the song when I stall, trying to remember!" Kim said. "I would love for it to become a teaching tool because it really is easy to learn. Annabel had the Presidents Suzuki Song memorized within a day!"
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