Arriba Abajo is a wonderful new CD by 123 Andrés. These songs have rich layers of music and language that enhance learning of both Spanish and content. Most important, they are songs kids will want to sing again and again.
Andrés Salguero is 123 Andrés. A native of Colombia, Andrés has been nominated for a Latin Grammy and featured on CNN en Español, Univisión, and Telemundo. Learn more about Andrés and his music on the 123 Andrés website.
Children have to enjoy music in order to learn from it. These songs are wonderfully catchy and singable. On the first half of Arriba Abajo, Andrés sings the songs completely in Spanish. Then, he sings all of them in English. I will focus on the songs in Spanish, but this CD is an excellent choice for learners of both languages.
Arriba Abajo is available June 10, and you can pre-order now from Amazon and iTunes. A learning guide for Arriba Abajo is in development with families from the U.S. and Colombia. The guide will be available later this summer with learning activities using the music.
It is a challenge to create children’s learning songs that combine quality music with engaging content and yet are not overly-didactic. Andrés has found a perfect balance on Arriba Abajo. Patterns to build skills such as rhyming, phonemic awareness and number sense are embedded in the lyrics. However, I guarantee that children will hear songs they want to sing, not language lessons.
You can listen to several of the songs on Arriba Abajo here. I’ll mention a few of my favorites and let you explore the rest.
- Vamos a cantar – This joyful song includes singing up and down the scale. Some of you may remember how fun that was with Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music. Kids have a wonderful time singing this song, and they learn the scale in Spanish.
- Cosquillas – This song teaches body parts and strengthens rhyming skills important for reading and correct pronunciation. It is also contagious fun, so be prepared to make more rhymes! You can hear Cosquillas in the video below.
- La semilla – This song fits into my spring units perfectly, has relevant vocabulary and includes clear spoken Spanish that gives language learners an extra level of exposure. Aside from those practical considerations, I love the positive nature of this song. The pattern, the image of all the seeds and the trees growing, and the music combine to inspire both kids and adults.
- Lunes, luna – This is more than a days-of-the-week song. It also strengthens a child’s awareness of initial letter sounds by associating each day with another word. This word play builds important skills that make it easier for children to learn to read. Lunes, luna is also one of my favorite songs on the album because it is so pretty!
- Dame una A – This vowel song is about traveling and exploring. The lyrics provide a context for the words that start with each letter (not a given for vowel songs). Also, the examples of initial vowel sounds come at the end of the line. This makes it easy for children to hear them and sing along.
When asked how music enhances learning for children, Andrés Salguero responded, “I believe music is the ultimate task for the young brain. When children sing and move to a song their cognitive, physical, emotional and language areas are involved.”
I agree with Andrés that quality music for children does exactly that. It certainly is true of these songs by 123 Andrés!
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of Arriba Abajo by 123 Andrés to be able to write the article and compensated me for my time. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.