Smart Moves, Smart Learning!

October 31, 2007 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Babies, books, Carla Hannaford, Dancing, FOL, Kindermusik, Music, Parenting | 1 Comment

Here’s a “foundation of learning” (which we educators call “FOL”) .

 Smart Moves

Did you know that stimulation of the calf muscle aids in language development? Put your child on the floor in front of you so that you can bicycle her legs. Then flex their feet and have your child just push against your hands as hard as she can. I think they just have fun trying to be as strong as you! But the work is good for their brains as well. It actually aids in the language development of children. Why? This information is in Carla Hannaford’s book Smart Moves, Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head.  I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more ways to stimulate learning.

This kind of stimulation of the whole body is why children need to be jumping, running, climbing, twirling, singing and dancing and playing in free, joyful situations. And this is why Kindermusik is such a good investment…your dividends increase exponentially.

 Thank you Yvette for your heads up!

Jerry Seinfield’s “Halloween” book is a treasure!

October 25, 2007 at 5:03 am | Posted in Blogroll, Dads, Halloween, Imagine That, Mom's, Parenting | Leave a comment
Have you ever read Jerry Seinfeld’s Halloween? It is a very parent friendly book about his experiences at this fun time of the year! If you ever trick or treated as a kid you will love and relate to this .

Thanks Christa for pointing this one out!

Dancing and Singing Cockatoo reminds me of our Paco!

October 16, 2007 at 4:43 am | Posted in Animals, Bird Lovers, Blogroll, Cockatoo, Dancing, Music, Music Making, Singing | Leave a comment

We have had many pets through the years. One of my girls favorites was a  Grey Cockatoo we called Paco. He was raised from an egg by my brother and he and his wife brought him from Florida for my girls. He lived for 12 years.

Watching this Cockatoo Dance and Sing reminded me of what a terrific pet Cockatoo’s can be. ..This is a video of a medium sulphur crested Eleanora cockatoo named Snowball living at the Bird Lovers Only Rescue in Schererville, Indiana.Snowball loves the Back Street boys and has taught himself to dance to their song “Everybody.”

A Primer on Music Lessons…

October 9, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Babies, Kindermusik, Music, Musical Instruments, Parenting | Leave a comment

This article appeared today in the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. In it you’ll find some great advice  on when and what to provide for music lessons for your  child.

Too young to play an instrument? By Jane Palmer

What are good starter instruments? For babies: rattles (maracas), tambourine, bongo drums. For toddlers and preschoolers: rhythm sticks, sandpaper blocks, maracas, drums, finger cymbals, triangles, cymbals, gongs, jingle bells, xylophone-type instruments with removable bars and chorded zither. Toy instruments won’t hold a youngster’s interest for long. Age 3 and older: new or gently used piano, which should be tuned once or twice a year. Second best is a digital electronic keyboard with touch-sensitive, weighted keys. Young violin players: smaller violins, scaled to a child’s hands and body.

How young can children typically start music lessons? For traditional piano lessons, at age 7. For band and orchestra instruments, in fourth or fifth grade, when children are big enough to manage the size of the instruments and have more lung capacity.

How can you get preschoolers interested? Listen to all styles of recorded music from birth. Sing together and play singing games. Participate in Kindermusik or other music experience programs for babies through age 7 or 9. Find local programs online at for preschool programs that devote at least 10 percent of their time to music.

How much are lessons? From $15 to $40 for a 30- or 60-minute session.

How do you obtain instruments? Introductory instruments such as sandpaper blocks may be available at toy or school supply stores. Most instruments require a trip to a music store. Ask for a student instrument. Turn down artist instruments, which are higher priced. Buy a used instrument to further cut costs, and ask about service and repairs after the sale. You may find a bargain in classified advertisements or at a pawn shop, garage sale or thrift store. Make sure everything works. Music stores often have a rent-to-own program. If you keep the instrument longer than atrial period, you own it and your monthly payments apply to the purchase. On the rental agreement, take note of the interest rate and total cost. It may be cheaper to obtain your own loan. 

Sources: Joan Reist, past president of the Music Teachers National Association and retired associate professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lance Nielsen, president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and director of bands at Lincoln East High School. National standards published by the National Association for Music Education at 

Thank you again Molly McGinn for finding this gem of am article!

Last week in Imagine That I asked parents to listen with their children…

October 8, 2007 at 2:10 am | Posted in Children's Music, Imagine That, Kindermusik, Musical Instruments, Parenting, School Readiness | 1 Comment

Last week I asked Imagine That parents to ‘listen’ with their children during the week. My email to parents went like this…

“In Kindermusik we strive to improve your child’s listening abilities through Music Listening activities. This week we listened to “Silly Slides,” a recording that contains glissando sounds. The children identified the sounds of different instruments (clarinet, trombone, slide whistle) playing glissandos. Listening discrimination is a valuable skill, one that can lead to the ability to make choices, to understand sound, and to appreciate beauty of sound. We also tried to emulate the sounds we heard in “Silly Slides” with our slide whistles! It sure was fun! 

While listening to your Home CDs this week, ask your child simple questions such as “Do you hear a man singing or a child singing?,” “Is that music fast or slow?,” or “Do you recognize any instruments that are playing?” Encourage listening for preferences by asking such questions as “Do you like the sound of that song?,” or even “Why do you like that song?” It is never too early to start talking with your child about her preferences, encouraging him to make comparisons and talk about distinctions. “

I was delighted to receive an email from one of my parents with the following link. It is an  instrument listening chart with pictures and recordings of the instruments in the orchestra. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra in fact has a wonderful website just for children. Link to it here and enjoy all that it has to offer!

Aragorn and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

October 5, 2007 at 7:50 am | Posted in books, Judith Viorst, Music, Orff, Parady LOTR | 1 Comment

I have used Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day as an Orff story, using glockenspiels and a variety of percussion instruments to enhance the story. Use your imagination as your read the following parady!

The following was posted in The Poppins Classical Academy blog enjoy!

Aragorn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Obviously this is a parody, the characters are Tolkien’s and the style is based on the classic picture book by Judith Viorst. But the parody part is mine. My own. My precious…


Aragorn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Poppins

Last night when I went to bed I had aethelas in my mouth and now there’s aethelas in my hair and when I got up I tripped over my sheath and by mistake I dropped my razor into the sink while the water was running and I had to go to the Council of Elrond with stubble and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At the Council, Gandalf didn’t introduce me and Boromir made faces at me and when I stuck my tongue out at him Elrond yelled at me for being rude and now I have to copy “My courtesy is somewhat lessened of late” 100 times and they still won’t let me reforge the shards of Narsil.

I think I’ll move to Australia.

When we left, Legolas got to lead a hobbit, and Gimli got to lead a hobbit, and Gandalf got to lead a hobbit, and even Boromir got to lead a hobbit, but I had to lead Bill the Pony. I said I was getting lonely. I said Bill was smelly and there were flies. I said, I am going to be sick. No one even answered.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In the Mines of Moria Gandalf got to be the leader and Frodo got to talk to him and Gimli got to tell anecdotes and Legolas looked good in the dim lighting but I had to walk behind the hobbits and I don’t know what they ate for second breakfast but it made the rotting corpses smell good. I told everyone I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and no one even answered.

Then Frodo said that I wasn’t his best friend anymore and that Sam was his best friend and Gandalf was his second best friend and I was only his third best friend. I hope you sit on Sting, I said to Frodo. I hope the next time you get a strawberry lembas the strawberries all fall off and land in Australia. And Frodo said he was going to run away and never play with me again and then he did. And a gang of orcs attacked us and killed Boromir and now I have to run across a million-billion miles to get Merry and Pippin back.

At Edoras Wormtongue was mean to me and Eowyn fell in love with me and wanted to kiss me. Yuck. I hate kissing. Gandalf only played with Theoden and said that we all had to go to Helm’s Deep. On the way wargs attacked us and one dragged me off the cliff and it felt like I landed in Australia.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could tell because at Helm’s Deep Legolas got to invent skateboarding and Gimli got to invent dwarf-tossing and Eomer and Gandalf got to invent horse-jumping but I broke a tooth. The dentist says I have to come back to get it fixed next week.

Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia.

But instead I had to go through the Paths of the Dead and now I have to lead a bunch of icky undead guys into a hopeless battle and then take them sailing and I always get seasick. If we do win, which we won’t, I’ll have to brush my hair and I hate brushing my hair because it gets knots in it. And I’ll have to marry Arwen and sing a song in front of all the Gondorians and Elrond will scowl at me because he always scowls at me.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Gandalf says some days are like that.

Even in Australia.

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