One of the most cited complaints against the widespread and seemingly nonstop use of smartphones, tablets, and other technology is the tendency for people to avoid one another in favor of what’s accessible via Wi-Fi or network. It’s an unfortunate side effect of our heightened technology, easily witnessed in the modern day family road trip where everyone but the driver is usually nose-down toward a touchscreen. Such trips – typically taken once or twice a year at most – are the rare opportunities for families to spend some quality time together and the hours on the road itself count toward that bonding.
At some point during the trip, make a point to stop all mobile device activity in the car in favor of discussion and conversations. If those start to peter out, then think of other ways to unite your family on the road, like a list of songs for everyone to sing along to.
The problem is trying to find something that everybody knows, likes and would willingly sing out loud. Here is how my family did it….
First, some background.
Our daughter recently approached us and asked us if she could take singing lessons. Her school offers music classes but she wanted to focus on her voice and learning how to perform. I, of course, had dreams of her being the next Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler or Kristin Chenowith. She had dreams of being the next Iggy Azalea.
While we wanted to encourage her passion for music and performing, we also didn’t want our daughter prancing around and reciting lyrics she doesn’t fully understand. Our goal became trying to find a vocal coach or classes that would teach her how to build and train her voice without also teaching her that the only acceptable musical future she could have was winning American Idol.
We met with a lot of different teachers and researched a variety of different in-home and in-studio classes before we found the right teacher. In the end, we found a really vocal teacher who specializes in working with younger kids and who has a fantastic, engaging approach to teaching. She won us over completely when she said this: “We’re going to learn Disney songs.”
Disney songs, it turns out, are great for learning breathing, enunsication and vocalization techniques–especially the songs that were used in older productions. Yes, our daughter would learn how to belt “Let it Go” just like Idina, but she’d also be able to sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without missing a single syllable.
It turns out that our daughter’s music teacher’s approach to getting kids to work on classics is what gets our family singing in the car. Our daughter can show off what she knows and “teach” her siblings (who already love singing songs from their favorite movies) and we get everybody to put the tablets away.
Here are the ten best Disney songs for that work for our road trip sing-a-longs. If your kids are elementary school age now, or if they used to be, they’ll have a hard time not belting lyrics here and there.
“Heigh Ho” from Snow White – Lyrics written by Larry Morey. Music composed by Frank Churchill.
“When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio – Lyrics written by Ned Washington. Music composed by Leigh Harline.
“The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book – Lyrics written by Terry Gilkyson. Music composed by Terry Gilkyson.
“Cruella de Vil” from 101 Dalmatians – Lyrics written by Mel Leven. Music composed by Mel Leven.
“That’s What Makes the World Go Round” from The Sword in the Stone – Lyrics written by The Sherman Brothers. Music composed by The Sherman Brothers.
“Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid – Lyrics written by Howard Ashman. Music composed by Alan Menken.
“Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast – Lyrics written by Howard Ashman. Music composed by Alan Menken.
“A Whole New World” from Aladdin – Lyrics written by Tim Rice. Music composed by Alan Menken.
“Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King – Lyrics written by Tim Rice. Music composed by Elton John.
“Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas – Lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz. Music composed by Alan Menken.
Road trips should be a time for families to be together. Increasingly this is being thwarted by mobile devices keeping us independently entertained and occupied at any given time. Having a sing-a-long session is one way to make sure everyone is on the same page, at least for a little while. Take the advice of my daughter’s singing instructor, though, and find songs which appeal to everyone and are fun to sing. There’s no source for such songs quite like those in classic Disney movies.
What do you do when you are on road trips? Let us know in the comments below!
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