Nanny Life: German Music in the Car

You all know that I am moving to Austria in November to be an au pair for a two-year-old little girl. However, I am currently a nanny for two smart and funny American kids, Tyler (age 7) and Eva (age 5), who should definitely have featured in this blog before now.

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This week, they were out of school for the summer but hadn’t started camp yet, so we spent a lot of time together. We ran errands, went to the pool, the library, and so on and so forth, hither and yon, all over Atlanta. This added up to a significant amount of car time, so I thought it would be fun to share with them some of the German-language pop music we listened to in my introductory German classes at Agnes Scott. I was right. It was really fun.

Tyler and Eva have been along for the ride with my German learning throughout the year, serving both as a captive audience for my practice and little cheerleaders for my victories. When we play basketball, we keep score in German, they say bitte and danke, and we rate their behavior on a scale from ausgezeichnet to schlecht. They are also learning Spanish at school, so they often come up with some great dual language phrases, like: “Mir ist muy kalt!” and “Ich bin sehr bien!” 

Anyway, this week has been a really fun experience in hearing their reactions to songs they can only kind of understand, but can totally appreciate. Here are our top 5 favorites, with their music videos!

“Drück die Eins,” Annette Lousian

Eva loves this one: “It’s really sassy. In a good way. Bup, bup, bup, bup, bup, buh-buh-bup.” And Tyler added, “When she says ‘Drück die Null‘ her voice goes really low.” This music video also paved the way for a long discussion about telephone operators, a foreign concept to most kids these days, regardless of nationality.

“Du bist die Sonne,” Die Drogen

This one gets stuck in all of our heads, and because the words are really clear and repetitive, it’s probably the song they understand best in German. Tyler likes the line Du bist gefärlich (you are dangerous), “because the sun is dangerous. You could get burned! If we got close to the sun we would melt.” Smart kid.

Of course I would have been remiss in my duties if I hadn’t included,

“99 Luftballons,” Nena

The kids love this one. Eva summed it up best, when she said: “It’s funny because it’s about balloons, but it’s sad when they explode.” This led to a discussion about how the song is not only about balloons, but also war. Eva briefly learned about the American Civil War in kindergarten this year, and she reflected, “War is bad because people die. A lot of people died in the Silver War, like almost ten!” Funny, yes, but also very perceptive. War is bad because people die.

Tyler also added that Nena is “really cool, like when she shakes her hair around.” So they have an appreciation for 80s rockers, and that’s important, too.

“Morgens immer Müde,” Laing

This is the song that I probably hear them singing to themselves the most. Of course their favorite lyric is “Boogie Woogie,” which connects directly to their current favorite joke: “How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it!”

But while Tyler said that he never gets up in the morning feeling tired, Eva empathized with the song lyrics: “Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed, and I’m like, bed, I love you.” Tyler just wanted to know: “If they dance all night and have to get up in the morning, do they ever sleep?” Good question, Tyler.

Finally, the kids’ favorite–they choreographed a dance to it in the car before they even saw the music video:

“Fliegerlied,” Donnikl (a German/Austrian band made up of musicians and educators who write songs primarily for kids)

Eva calls this one “the birdie song,” and they both love to sing and dance along with it in the car. The repetition of words, most of which have a close English equivalent (schwimm, spring) make it perfect for both language learning and choreography purposes.

So, to wind up this post, here are Eva and Tyler themselves, rocking out in the car, after coming home from the pool. If nothing else, this video shows why I have one of the best jobs ever!

One comment

  1. […] then!) and I know that music can really facilitate learning a language (see my post on German music here). Plus I love to sing, and these  songs (there are over 250 of them) will be a great way for me to […]

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