We sing a lot in our house, and I thought I would do a quick post about teaching songs to kids. We do listen to tapes (yes, I still have some around from when I was little!) and CDs occasionally, and we play a lot of classical and oldies on our computer, but that doesn't do a great job of teaching lyrics. My kids don't learn the words by listening to music, unless it is prounounced VERY clearly. For example, Gene "knows" the Notre Dame fight song ( I went to school there, so we play it once in a while) but when he sings it to himself, he mumbles through half the words, and makes up the rest.
The way my kids learn the words is for my husband or I to sing a song to them. They have learned a lot of classic songs this way, and the one that prompted me to write this post is God Bless America. It is a tooth-brushing song. My husband will sing it to them while brushing their teeth, and they know the words perfectly. We also sing Catholic prayers when putting them to bed ( Hail Holy Queen, the Litany of the Saints, Liturgy of the Hours).
Sing to your kids. Sing so that they learn the words. Sing songs that you want them to know when they grow up, not just "kids' songs". They can start learning as early as 2 years old (in my experience) and it is a great confidence-booster. My kids gain confidence every time they learn something...
As for our preschool music experience, we have been singing some little kiddie songs and fingerplays, but now that I mention it I may look for some good classic songs to work on. Any suggestions would be appreciated!