A Song Takes On a Life of Its Own

By Susan Salidor

I’ve been thinking recently about my song, “I’ve Got Peace in My Fingers,” written around 1995 and recorded for my very first CD for children, Little Voices in My Head. When I released that recording, I had no idea if I would be able to make a living from writing and performing for children, or from work as a music specialist in preschool and kindergarten classes. I didn’t know if any of my songs would strike the right chord for children, their teachers and their families. Eight recordings and thousands of classes later, I know that at least one of my songs has enjoyed a long and happy life.

“I’ve Got Peace in My Fingers,” written for the preschool my daughters attended, the same school that first asked me to conduct music classes for toddlers, and the school where I have taught every Wednesday morning since 1993, is my youngest child. I birthed and raised this song like one of my own children, and, like them, it has moved out of the house and lives somewhat independently on its own. Sure, I get composer credit for it from time to time, but it has its own luster and appeal, and for that, I can’t take credit.

Every so often I search the Internet for this song, keeping track of its latest incarnations, much as I track my other children using Facebook and Skype. I am delighted to find videos of classrooms of children from Boston to France to Korea singing its simple words and melody or to read posts from teachers who sing its praises.

As a song, it’s not much: simple, repetitive, and short. The recording runs a mere 1:38 minutes. The YouTube video my husband and I made is sweet, yet it has received thousands of hits. I’ve written over 100 songs since I first penned “I’ve Got Peace in My Fingers,” some of which are in my estimation much better songs – more interesting lyrics and melodies, fully arranged, more unique. Why does THIS song enjoy the most popularity?

I now realize the answer to that question is not really important, nor is it mine to know. I can brag all I want about my children to you, but in the end, YOU have to know them in order to truly love and appreciate them for who they are, not for how I feel about them, objective as I may be.

And so I’ve come to accept that this song, like my children, is of the world.

Susan Salidor is on the Board of CMN. Watch Susan’s original YouTube video of “Peace in My Fingers” here.   

2 comments

  1. This song has been a huge success in my Montessori music circles…10 schools / 15 -20 classes each week in the SF Peninsula, CA. Peace, Grace & Courtesy are huge parts of the Montessori culture.

    This is the perfect song for all the elements of great music and movement for children.
    We count our fingers.

    “Actually, Miss Liz, we have only 8 fingers.” Okay…1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and 8.
    Here we go…

    Then we talk about peace, forgiving, inviting words. Okay…1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and 8.
    Here we go…

    Then we talk about peace and kind words bring us…??? Okay…1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and 8.
    Here we go…

    And, of course, I have Susan’s video in my head to make me smile while singing/moving. After the conference I now have Dave Kinnoin as well.

    This is why it is so important to attend regionals and conferences.
    So you have an image that re-charges your batteries, lights up your face and
    convinces the children that life is grand and music is the magic that puts all in motion.

    Liz Hannan

  2. My children’s choir loves that song and we are performing it on Sunday as well as Carol Peterson’s Circle of Peace. Peace in my fingers is so much fun and easy to sing, with the peppy tune, repeating words and hand movements. Your name will be in the Order of Service, but sadly won’t make it to the internet for acknowledgement. I’ll try to remember to record it for all.

    For more ‘yay’ to CMN performers and attendees at the conference, the kids are singing Kathy Reid-Naiman’s song ‘I say thanks a lot’ for Thanksgiving and I heard that the first time at the conference. I come back with such a wealth of music and ideas!

    Pat

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