Open wide, come inside, it’s Play School…
Can you read that line without hearing that familiar tune in your head? Me neither. Just like honey toast or nap time, Play School has been ingrained in the mornings and afternoons of kids from all around Australia for over 50 years. I hope this will always be the case.
Play School and children’s theatre is not just entertainment – it is an introduction to creativity and confidence that will last a lifetime. Play School values pre-schoolers as complex beings and citizens of the world and celebrates who they are right at this moment. I’m enormously proud to be a part of it, and it’s a benchmark for me in all my work in children’s entertainment. It keeps me in check. It keeps me reaching to do better.
I’m a regular guest in family homes via TV, iTunes and books such as The Gobbledygook Is Eating A Book. While I know my work gives parents a much needed break, I also feel passionate about sharing the joy of music and performing as a means of self-expression and communication.
Our voice is our first instrument. And if we can foster confidence when singing and using our voices then I believe it’s the key into a lifelong love of music. When we are kids we have no fear. We sing loud and proud. As we get older our confidence can waiver. Suddenly we say, “I’m a terrible singer!” and “I can’t carry a tune to save my life!” Nonsense! Whether you have the voice of an angel or… not… your kids don’t care. If you sing without fear it will teach them to follow. Then they will dance without fear, play without fear and most importantly speak without fear.
Music and singing inspires confidence and will help your little one’s personality shine through. And isn’t that what we all want for our kids? For them to feel confident to be themselves?
In addition to Play School there are so many great Australian kid’s acts out there who a dying for little ears to listen. Try The Listies (all of their CDs and any of their live shows), The Beanies (a gorgeous podcast via MammaMia), Jay Laga’aia (his songs are brilliant), and tune in to Kinderling Kids Radio and Eastside radio’s ‘Catch It By The Tail’ (89.7FM, Sundays 3pm).
Interacting and engaging with music from the safety of your living room or the car is so fun (I have spent many, many house singing in the car with my kids) but nothing beats taking your kids to the theatre. In-person theatrical experiences kick starts kids’ relationships with music, language and storytelling.
This July School Holidays I’m opening my brand new show Justine Clarke’s Look! Look! It’s a Gobbledygook! at the Sydney Opera House. It celebrates music and reading and self-expression. The Scribbledynoodle is a monster who scribbles and draws all over everything. With the help of her older sibling the Gobbledygook and their friend (me) we teach her to harness her creativity and as a result she makes a little bit of magic. Along the way we sing all the faves like ‘Watermelon’ and ‘Dinosaur Roar’ so there will be plenty of familiar tunes to keep them involved in the story. I hope to see you there!
I never underestimate the power of hearing live music and I always imagine this is a first experience for many kids in the audience. I remember the first time I heard a band play and it blew my mind, I can still remember the feeling and I can still hear it to this day.
Even if you can’t make it to my show – get your kids along to a performance of some kind as soon as you can. Enjoy it as a family, there is some great work out there that’s made for everyone to enjoy. It’s all about human connection and communication which is more important than ever.
Justine Clarke’s Look! Look! It’s a Gobbledygook! (ages 2+) is at The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, 1-11 July 2017. Tickets from $25 + booking fee. Bookings: 02 9250 7777.