Rain Rain Go Away: Why this Song Matters | Musical Play

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Why this simple little tune is so enduring and how it promotes strong musicality in small children.

Julie Wylie, music, musical play, musical play New Zealand, musical play nz, musical play Christchurch, music therapy, music therapy for kids, music therapy courses, music therapy nz, music therapy New Zealand, music therapy Christchurch, therapy, early childhood, early childhood education, early childhood education nz, early childhood courses, early childhood education Christchurch, early childhood education centres, early childhood teacher, early childhood jobs, music classes, music classes for preschoolers, music classes for kids, music classes Christchurch, music classes for toddlers, music classes for babies, early childhood centre, early childhood centre music, pediatric music therapy, pediatric musical play therapy, musical play at home, baby musical play, tips for musical play, tips for music, guide for music, baby music ideas, toddler music ideas, child music ideas, music science, music in school, musical play science, science explained
Rain Rain Go Away: Why this Song Matters | Musical Play

Such a simple melody, and one we hope you all have in your centre or home repertoire for good reason!

Why is this song SO effective at promoting strong musicality and understanding of the scale?

This song is built around note number 5 – what we call a dominant note or the calling note. It is one of the most important notes in children’s musical development as it is the one that sounds like it needs to be resolved – the song can’t finish on note 5, it needs to find its way back to note 1.

A strong sense of this is evident in children as young as a few weeks old.


We see babies who enter high engagement and arousal just by us holding that 5th note and relaxing when it resolves. It’s very powerful and a key part of developing musicality.

The rhythm lends itself perfectly to finding this note in the song and plays in a teasing way around the notes 5 and 3, which doesn’t sound “resolved.”

Interestingly, this little melody is also part of natural childhood calls – it is a melody heard all over the world when children call to others, perhaps harnessing that power of the 5th note as a means of saying “listen to me!”

The melody comes very naturally to small children, which means the “Rain Rain Go Away” song promotes a stronger sense of the scale and awareness of the relationship between the first 5 notes.

One to make sure you sing at home or in your early childhood centre regularly!


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