Original verses cover: opening up the conversation with children

This may not be considered a typical conversation in terms of Early Childhood Education, but when I was a little girl I remember hearing a tune on the radio, falling in love with it and honestly believing that this was the original and only version of that song.

Of course, this was sometimes the case and at times not the case.

I have no idea why I felt the inclination to defend a favorite artist when they had reworked an original version of a song. Perhaps I felt that the artistic integrity of the musician was in question, particularly if they were not the original masters of the lyrics they sang. Perhaps I loved the cover version better than the original. Perhaps I never heard of the original artist and therefore in my mind they did not exist. Lots of maybes, but as I have grown I have learnt to appreciate both original and cover artists because like children in their play, they have created and interpreted a piece of work in completely different ways- and what can be more beautiful than the freedom to imagine and interpret and reflect upon what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell?

Often when working with children I am quickly informed as to whether I have sung a favorite tune differently to what they are accustomed to. That’s not how it goes is a popular phrase I hear when singing a traditional song. My question to each group of children I work with is, Is there a right or a wrong way to sing a song? and What if you could change the words or sounds within a song to make it special to you? At this point I usually provide examples on my ipod of different versions of songs they are familiar with and wait for their reactions the change of expression on their faces and the looks of curiosity that follow are priceless- I have just provided them with a provocation for reflection!

Below are some original and cover versions of songs that children may be familiar with. Why not discuss their differences through reflective conversation?

Bon Iver- ‘Skinny Love’ (Original)


Birdy- ‘Skinny Love’ (cover)


Rose Royce- ‘Car Wash’ (Original)- Not the best graphics but good audio


Christina Aguilera & Missy Elliot- ‘Car wash’ (cover- featured in the movie ‘Shark Tale’)


Nat King Cole – ‘Route 66′ (Original)


John Mayer – ‘Route 66′ (cover- featured in the movie ‘Cars’)

Have fun listening and chatting with your children


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