Children love to sing. They love to mime what they see on television and in the movies. Children constantly view a lot of people singing and dancing and having what appears to be a lot of fun around a microphone and an audience.
By the age of four, many children (especially girls) have learned how to be CUTE: by singing and dancing to gain the pleasurable attendance of their parents. Nothing is wrong with this. But there is a cautionary note: children who learn how to “charm” adults to receive the rewards of being loved for how they “act” often learn that “charm” is more important than commitment to learning a skill or being a part of a team.
Here’s where the “Playing Opera” comes in.
A family comedy or tragedy or total fantasy, it involves everyone on an equal playing field. No charm, no extra cute, just having fun being silly and Playing.
I would recommend that when you first start to Play Opera, that you do so on a long, boring car ride; or if not a car, a long, boring rainy day at home.
Here is your ingredient list:
- At least one parent, but hopefully both parents/care takers can participate.
- Hopefully all the children in the home to be present, including pre-teens and teenagers.
- No microphones
- No media music of any kind. It helps to in learning how to Play Opera by focusing only on the voices available in the family.
- All members have to “sing” long enough to end the Opera.
- Let the Opera begin.
By pre-arrangement, one of the parents begins to “sing” the family Opera. Only a few stanza’s will be sung before the next family member adds more to the Opera and so forth.
Here’s an example of a Family Opera during a long, long, car trip.
(melody anything you want it to be or totally at your whim of voice):
(DAD): ” The King and the Queen just had to leave the castle. Yes, they had to leave the Castle.
They took their money. They took their clothes and they left the Castle. Yes, they left the Castle.”
(MOM): ” The Queen took her red high heels. The Queen took her sparkling rings, when they left the Castle. They left the Castle.
The Carriage was loaded. They were leaving the Castle. The Queen shouted, “Bring the Princess! Bring the Prince!” They had to leave the Castle. They had to leave the Castle.”
(Back seat child #1) : “I need my crown to Leave the Castle. I won’t go without my crown. I won’t leave the Castle.” (In a falsetto voice.)
(Back seat child #2): This is dumb. I don’t live in a Castle. I live in a suburb. (singing all the time, while rolling her eyes.)
(DAD): “We are on our way to visit. To visit the Fairy Godmother (he looks in rear view mirror to make happy eyes at child #2). We had to leave the Castle. We had to leave the Castle.”
(#2 child): “Do I have to go? Do I have to go? (still singing)
(MOM): “Oh noodles and pineapple, cherries and ice cream. Godmother will spoil us all. We are on our way. We are on our way.”
(#1 child): “I like ice cream. I like noodles (singing like she is jump roping), I like Godmother’s milkshake . . . .and, ah,. . .doodles.”
(#2 child) “Let me explain to my really weird family. This is insane, can I have my headphones back?” (still singing).
(DAD): “We have left the Castle, left the Castle. Godmother, cherries, apple dumpling pie. We are on our way.”
And so it goes. For as long as it takes to have even the pre-teen smiling at the antics of the family. What a nice way to bring singing and family together. And, there is the benefit of using metaphoric language–“talking the talk of children,” along with the ability to tickle the teen into building more memories of a family being, well, family. Memories that will eventually create a cushioned basket for the adult child to climb into whenever. . . .
I am expecting that your OPERA will be much better than the example given. Enjoy the playfulness of children, the memory-building of family.