Song of the Week – Baby Beluga

Happy last week of February!! Even though it is the shortest month, I think February always seems to drag and last forever. But here we are already at the end of it! We have had a good time with some fun children’s songs this month, so I hope it helped you pass by the hardest part of winter. Next week will be March, which means Spring is just around the corner! Hang in there everyone and enjoy snow while it lasts! I will leave you this month with one of my favorite children’s songs right now:
Baby Beluga – Raffi Cavoukian

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga,
Is the water warm?
Is your mama home with you, so happy?

Way down yonder where the dolphins play,
Where you dive and splash all day.
Waves roll in and the waves roll out,
See the water squirting out of your spout!

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga,
Sing your little song,
sing for all your friends, we like to hear you.

When it’s dark, you’re home and fed,
Curl up snug in your water bed.
Moon is shining and the stars are out.
Good night, little whale, good night.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga,
With tomorrow’s sun, another day’s begun.
You?ll soon be waking.

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below, And a little whale on the go.
You’re just a little white whale on the go!

Why I chose this song
My favorite part of this song is the fact that is uses more than 3 chords! There are a lot of kid songs which I find difficult to stay engaged in while I’m playing. My musician brain gets pretty bored with the monotony of the same 2 chords over and over. However, the Secondary Dominant in the Bridge section is just enough to keep that part of me satisfied. Win!
I also love Raffi’s lyrics. They are fun and upbeat and evoke images of a day in the life of a happy little white whale.

Intervention
I think this is pretty common knowledge, but in case you don’t know… there are many children’s books with colorful pictures and the words of this song. Pairing the book with singing the song and engaging children in reading is a great intervention strategy. I will list one of those books on our MT Resources page in case you want to check that out.
However, I thought I would go a different way with my intervention presentation this week.

Song Writing
The first thing I did was analyze the song. What does each verse focus on? What kind of language does the writer use? I want to match the style and the theme of the song as seamlessly as possible. 
Here is my outline of the lyrics:
Verse 1. Introducing Baby Beluga
Verse 2. Playing with friends
Verse 3. Goodnight
Each stanza is 4 lines long, and they rhyme in pairs.

There are some great discussion topics available already: describing other people, friendship, how to play nicely with others, going to sleep at night, why it is important to go to sleep when your parents tell you to, etc. Some of these topics I am reading between the lines. The themes presented are very applicable to most children and can be personalized to be most effective.
So I thought I would write my own verse that addresses something important in childhood.

Baby Beluga, staying close to home
Go where mama says it’s safe to roam
In the big wide ocean, there’s a lot to know
Listen, little whale, and learn

Baby Beluga, oh Baby Beluga
Mama knows best,
Wants to get you home in time for dinner

I sacrificed some rhyming to get my point across. But I think it works! What do you think?
One of my favorite resources for song writing:

Songwriting: Methods, Techniques, and Clinical Applications for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators, and Students by Tony Wigram
This book contains not only research, but inspiring clinical anecdotes, instructions, and several outlined approaches to songwriting in music therapy. I used it to write my Internship Final Project on clinical song writing and I learned so much. It transforms songwriting into an accessible clinical tool. I highly recommend making it a part of your personal library.

My challenge for all of you this week: 
A. Learn chords/melody/lyrics to Baby Beluga. If you don’t have much time, just memorize the first verse/bridge thoroughly. This is such a fun and simple song, you should know it well enough to just pull it out of your back pocket at the drop of a hat mid session. There is really no excuse not to.
B. Write your own verse! It’s just a few lines. And it can be as simple and silly as you want.

I will be posting a cover video in the comments by Wednesday. Please post your own cover videos, original stanzas, critique mine, or share more intervention ideas using Baby Beluga. We want to learn from you!

Have a great week and enjoy the little things,
Catherine

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