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Our motto is:
Singing with signs is for everyone! It is fun, it is crucial for some and it is a fantastic method for improving communication, speech development as well as social and musical training.
When our sons were born with Down’s syndrome in the late 90’s we did not know very much about the sign language nor the syndrome but we were lucky to meet again now as parents and former student companions at the conservatory of Music in Gothenburg, Sweden. We realized that we needed to learn a new way of communication to help our sons through life. Both of us working as musicians/music teachers and becoming a mother of a child with Down’s syndrome made a perfect combination for developing a new type of study material for learning sign language based on music and singing and combined with signs supporting the crucial words in the songs.
We decided to make a unique study material that did not exist at that time in Sweden 2001. It consists of three parts; a songbook with illustrated signs, sheet music and words and a sing-along-cd, a cd for listening and a dvd. The dvd is filmed in authentic places and with real people and animals! We wanted to make a song dvd in ”the spirit of Astrid Lindgren” and her fantastic films. We were very concerned about keeping a high quality of the production and we got financial support from the Swedish state to be able to work with only professional musicians and film producers. Our project was our conviction that music can make a change and our study material was meant to encourage, stimulate and improve the learning of signs for all children and their families regardless of their speaking ability. We were stunned when we first presented the material to our sons! They picked up the signs very quickly and loved the songs and the dvd from the very beginning.
When we published our first ” Get started singing with signs” in 2002 we did not realize that it was only the beginning of a fantastic journey! We have worked together since the year of 2001 and so far we are proud authors and producers of three study materials called ”Get started singing with signs”( 2002, 2007, 2013). The songs of each production are carefully chosen regarding musical quality and variation and with lyrics that include ordinary and useful words for children/teenagers/adults of all ages.
We run our own editing company, Teckensang forlag AB. We give lectures, workshops, concerts and have our own choir using the sign language. We have had many successful performances at different concert halls in Sweden throughout the years together with musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Musica Vitae and thousands of children of all ages. We work as music teachers with children with special needs using the sign language as a natural ingredient in songs and when communicating. We also teach music, piano and voice at different schools and levels.
Summer of 2018 we were invited as speakers at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, presenting our method using signs in combination with singing.
What is singing with signs and why ?
*The signs are collected from the native sign language.
*You follow the musical rhythm and do the sign when you sing the word.
* You pick the most crucial words in the song and do the signs. You can feel free to add/subtract important/less important words depending on the ability of the person/group.
* Singing with signs brings energy to the song and the language and visualizes the words.
* Singing with signs brings life to the language and to the person singing/signing!
* Singing with signs improves communication and the learning of a spoken language