Last month, in my children’s eyes, I became the best mum in the world. Why? Because I bought them tickets to watch Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band in concert. Who are the Lah-Lahs? If you’re thinking this, you clearly don’t watch enough ABC2! The Lah-Lahs are Australia’s premier band for children. They sing fun songs with great messages. My husband’s particular favourite at the moment has the words, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” The lyrics are designed to appeal to children but are set to music that appeals to adults as well as children.
The band is made up of Mister Saxophone, Squeezy Sneezy the piano accordion, Tom Tom on drums, Buzz the Band Leader, Lola the Dancing Double Bass and, of course, Lah-Lah herself. If you haven’t heard of this talented group, don’t fret, they are kindly giving away three gift packs which include a signed DVD, CD and a pair of Lah-Lah’s stripy socks so that you have the opportunity to catch up on all their songs (all the details are at the end of the post).
We’ve been big fans of Lah-Lah and her band for years. Our obsession all started when my daughter’s godmother gave her their DVD on her first birthday. My husband and I often wonder if my son’s motivation for talking is so that he can out sing his sister to their songs. It is hysterical to see him clear the floor when he hears the DVD start – after all, every good dancer needs space to bust out their dance moves! My favourite song from their DVD is The Band on the Bus (which I’ve linked below). It such a catchy tune! Think, “Wheel on the Bus” for the cool kids.
Knowing how we’re such big fans, you can imagine the excited squeals that erupted in our house when Tina Harris (a.k.a. Lah-Lah herself) kindly offered to answer some questions! So I quickly put the call out to my mothers’ groups about what questions they’d like answered, because I know my children aren’t her only fans. Here are our questions and Tina’s answers.
(Q) Do you come from a musical family?
(Tina) Not really; my Dad loved to sing but it was my Grandfather Dunc who loved the old musicals. We would sit down for hours after school and watch all the old MGM musicals. He was a famous cyclist, but he just loved musicals.
(Q) How did you decide what instrument to learn?
(Tina) Oh, this is actually funny. I auditioned for the school musical, it was Grease and I didn’t get a role but I played a little bit of saxophone, so joined the band. I so wanted to be on stage, so I convinced my grandma to let me have singing lessons and every week she would sneak me $10 so I could go up the road after school to have a lesson. Then a couple of years later, I auditioned at The Wollongong Conservatorium and won a scholarship – and from then on my parents were true believers!
(Q) What tips would you suggest for parents who’d like to introduce their children to music?
(Tina) Music appreciation classes are a great way to start especially for children under 5. Then exploring and learning an instrument privately or at school is a great way to go. I started on piano, went to trumpet, saxophone and finally singing.
(Q) Is there a ‘right age’ to start learning a musical instrument?
(Tina) Oh there are lots of different thoughts on this and people will get very passionate about this. I think it is wonderful to introduce your child to music at an early age and learning an instrument is a great discipline but whether you come to music early or later in life, it will still help to shape your life. I have friends who have been playing piano since they were 4 and then some friends who started as teenagers and they’re all really wonderful musicians.
(Q) I know you have children of your own who learn musical instruments, how did you chose what instrument they should start learning? Any suggestions for parents who’d like their children to learn a musical instrument? (There are so many to chose from!)
(Tina) Well we kind of let them choose. Lily (now 11) started the piano and then for her high school audition she wanted to sing. She now goes to a performing arts high school and it’s only in year 7 that it’s all started to click for her. Emily is 9 and plays the violin. She is a real natural but hates practicing so Mark makes special games and rewards for her which she loves. I think the instrument chooses the child and I think it’s OK to change if it’s not the right instrument. You just know when you find the right fit. I love schools that have band programs, this really is a great way for kids to explore different instruments and just have some fun.
(Q) Motivation to attend music lessons can sometimes be a little difficult for children to find. Did you always love going to music lessons or were there some days when you had to be dragged along?
(Tina) I would always go to my lessons but never practiced much unless I had an exam or concert. Mark (Tina’s husband, who plays Buzz the Bandleader in the show) is the same and unfortunately I think our girls have inherited that. I think lessons should be fun. Even now professionally, going to rehearsals that were run by inspiring, exciting conductors were the best. It does come back to the teacher student rapport; it’s really important to find the right teacher who inspires your child.
(Q) Any tips for parents when their children’s enthusiasm starts to wane?
(Tina) Reward charts and prizes are great..I even do this will the band of grown ups…do a great rehearsal and we’ll all go out for dinner. If it’s fun, a child (or adult!) will want to do it.
(Q) When you aren’t performing, what music do you like to listen to?
(Tina) I love Jazz and Gypsy Music, I love Brad Mehldau and Strauss’s last 4 songs or Corinne Bailey Rae… I’ve got eclectic taste!
(Q) What is the one thing you think is important that parents understand in relation to teaching children about music?
(Tina) That it’s a magical journey and above all it has to be fun!
The Lah-Lahs have generously offered to give our readers the chance to win one of three prize packs (so make sure you’ve subscribed to the blog!). The prize packs includes a signed DVD, a CD and a pair of Lah-Lah’s famous stripy socks. For your chance to win on of these prize packs you need to;
Follow this link to the City Mum~ Rural Life Facebook page and answer the question “What is your favourite Lah-Lah song and why?”
Unfortunately due to laws surrounding competitions, this competition is only open to Australian residents. Competition closes midnight Sunday 21st June 2015 (AEST).
If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won a prize pack, their website has all the next show locations listed, as well as their DVDs and CDs for purchase. (We bought our tickets over a month ago because we didn’t want to miss out!) Be sure to give us a shout if you’re coming to the Canberra concert – we’ll see you there!
All images in this post were kindly supplied by Lah-Lah’s team.
I’ve linked up with Jess for I blog on Tuesdays. Remember to check out all the other great blogs that have linked up this week.