Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Without a song or a dance what are we?

April and I go to a little session known as ‘Baby Musikgarten’ once a week. It’s an hour of singing, dancing and bashing of musical instruments for little ones. April really enjoys it. I guess that is because she has yet to learn about shame and embarrassment. Her mother knows all about these though, for her mother was the sister who couldn’t sing*.

As the sister who couldn’t sing I have traditionally held back from public singing whenever possible. I am afraid this even counts in church, where I admit to miming and standing next to those with all the talent.

It is curious that in this country where I have no past, I have now been able to reinvent myself as a woman who will sing in public (albeit sotto voce). Furthermore I will sing songs to which I do not know the words and cannot even guess what they look like, what with them being inconveniently 'in foreign'. I must sound quite awful.

Now that I am overcoming my fears I am finding these musical sessions interesting for myself, rather than just as April's responsible guardian. I am certainly learning a lot of basic vocabulary, both through the songs and small talk with the other mothers (one has to be able to apologise when one’s baby sticks her fingers in another little darling’s eye). I am also building up a repertoire of German songs.

Here is an example of a refrain we covered in today's group:

Hopp, hopp, hopp,
Pferdchen lauf Galopp!
Über Stock und über Steine,
aber brich dir nicht die Beine!
Hopp, hopp, hopp,
Pferdchen lauf Galopp!

It is a song about a little horse (a Pferdchen) galloping along over sticks and over stones. All well and good until the fourth line, where it warns the little horse: ‘…but don’t break your legs’. So, it isn’t just the English who can lay claim to darkness in the nursery is it?
Listen to the rhyme here…

*In stark contrast my sister is so good at singing that she sings in a band.

1 comment:

JL said...

The excellent 'galopp, galopp' motif in that song has gone down particularly well here at Millbank Tower this morning!