Some musicians are now specialising in music that builds
relationships between child and carer. Tara Hashambhoy
interviews one such musician
Melbourne songwriter, Alice Garrick’s music is simple, sweet and full of
generosity. The lyric content of her songs are what really make them intriguing
and unique: most songs focus on elements of the child/carer relationship
and revel in the affirmation, love and beauty that both parties receive. The
words bring to focus for children and adults alike the special nature of that
relationship, even on those busy days when stress invades us and tempers heat.
How did you come to writing songs for children?
I’ve been involved since I was a teenager in connecting and working with
children through music and performance through clowning, circus, musical
theatre and running youth groups. I spent some time teaching beginners
English to refugee children in Northern India and found silly songs to be a
great way to reach past the language barrier and build the relationship. Once
the rapport and connection is there, learning flows much more easily.
Once I had my own children I began to write songs for my children and
for the children of my friends. Friends began asking me to perform and I was
asked so many times to record my songs that I finally did. I am grateful to have
some pretty wonderful and supportive friends.
How do you tailor songs for children musically?
My music is driven by the lyrics and melody. I like to keep the musical style
fairly simple to leave room for the words. I think about how to make songs that
are interactive and engaging so I like to play with tempo and silly concepts.
What do you aim to give children through your songs?
Aside from the fact that singing songs about dinosaurs, poo and
overenthusiastic chickens is really fun, the underlying motivation for my
music is to support and encourage emotional connection and relationships.
The work of developmental psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld, amongst
others, has significantly influenced my approach to parenting and supporting
children’s emotional development.
Being a parent and working with children can be hard work; connecting
and reconnecting with children is fundamental to being able to ease through
the tricky parts of raising kids. I love the idea that I might be able to make
music that can be on in the background and, in its own little way, might help
to support kids and their grown-ups in connecting with each other.
What do you love most about performing
Kids don’t feel at all self-conscious about
walking off on you when they’re not engaged
and they are often happy to interject with
how they think the song should go. Kids
make you work for their attention and to
work with integrity. Kids have enthusiasm
that is infectious and I love that every
time I perform it is completely different
because I always have to adapt and work
with the kids to make it work for them.