Consistency is needed in times of change…

September 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Kindermusik, Music, Parenting | Leave a comment
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This rings true for all of us and especially for our children.

As adults, we all know (or should know) that there will always be times in our lives that things happen, situations arise, that we have absolutely no control over – the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, even our child’s first day of preschool or first grade when it is suddenly brought home to us that those early years have passed all too quickly.

Some children breeze through the “first-day-of-school” milestone with little or no difficulty whatsoever. Others struggle – where is this place that’s called “school”?  Will I like it?  Will I have friends there?  How long before mom and/or dad pick me up?

Anxiety often results simply from fears of the unknown, and, while we, as adults, know that our children will probably be just fine in school, these are very real unknown concerns for many children.  With life getting busier and his world expanding exponentially, a child may feel overwhelmed by all the new expectations and requirements that come his way.

If this is your child, how can you help him or her adjust to that kind of change in their world?

Consistency is needed in times of change…

With all the changes in your child’s life, staying in Kindermusik provides a badly needed consistency required to make the transition easier.  In our Kindermusik classes, children learn to recognize the structure and routine of our class flow.  It makes for a comfortable, secure time in their weekly schedule where they know what to expect for themselves, and come to learn what is expected of themselves, as well.

With life getting busier, and your child’s activities more independent in nature, Kindermusik is one place where the two of you can still spend precious time focused on each other.

Thank you Merri and Lori for bringing this often spoken advice to the forefront. 🙂

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Music Lessons from an Economist’s Point of View

July 20, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Musical Instruments, Parenting, Singing | 15 Comments
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Make-up Music Lessons from an Economist’s Point of View
By Vicky Barham, Ph. D.
I’m a parent of children enrolled in Suzuki music lessons. I’d like
to explain to other parents why I feel – quite strongly, actually –
that it is unreasonable of we parents to expect our teachers to make
up lessons we miss, even if I know as well as they do just how
expensive lessons are, and, equally importantly, how important that
weekly contact is with the teacher to keeping practising ticking
along smoothly. I think that it is natural for we parents to share
the point of view that students should have their missed lessons
rescheduled, but if we were to ‘walk a mile’ in our teachers’ shoes,
we might change our minds about what it is reasonable for us to
expect of our teachers.

Like many parents, I pay in advance for lessons each term. In my
mind, what this means is that I have reserved a regular spot in the
busy schedules of my sons’ teachers. I understand – fully – that if I
can’t make it to the lesson one week (perhaps my son is sick, or we
are away on holiday, or there is some other major event at school)
then we will pay for the lesson, but that my teacher is under no
obligation to find another spot for me that week, or to refund me for
the untaught lesson. And this is the way it should be.

In my ‘other life’ I am an economist and teach at our local
university. Students pay good money to attend classes at the
university; but if they don’t come to my lecture on a Monday morning,
then I am not going to turn around and deliver them a private
tutorial on Tuesday afternoon. When I go to the store and buy
groceries, I may purchase something that doesn’t get used. Days or
months later, I end up throwing it out. I don’t get a refund from the
grocery store for the unused merchandise. If I sign my child up for
swimming lessons at the local pool, and s/he refuses to return after
the first lesson, I can’t get my money back. So there are lots of
situations in our everyday lives where we regularly pay in advance
for goods or some service, and if we end up not using what we have
purchased, we have to just ‘swallow our losses’. On the other hand,
if I purchase an item of clothing, and get home and change my mind, I
can take it back and expect either a refund or a store credit.

So why do I believe that music lessons fall into the first category of
‘non-returnable merchandise’, rather than into the second case
of ‘exchange privileges unlimited’ (which I think is one of the
advertising slogans of an established women’s clothing store!)?
Speaking now as an economist, I would claim that the reason is that
items like clothing are “durable goods’ – meaning, they can be
returned and then resold at the original price – whereas music
lessons are non-durable goods – meaning, once my Monday slot at 3:30
is gone, my son’s teacher can’t turn around and sell it again. The
only way she would be able to give him a lesson later in the week
would be if she were to give up time that she had scheduled for her
own private life; and that seems pretty unreasonable – I can’t think
of many employees who would be thrilled if their bosses were to
announce that they couldn’t work from 3:30 to 4:30 this afternoon,
but would they please stay until 6:30 on Thursday, because there will
be work for them then!

Many teachers hesitate to refuse our request to shift lesson times
(because our busy schedules *do* change), because unless they keep us
parents happy, we will decide to take our child somewhere else for
lessons (or to drop musical study), and they will lose part of their
income. This is particularly true in areas with lower average income,
where it can be particularly difficult to find students. So rather
than telling us that ‘well, actually, the only time when I’m not
teaching and that you can bring your son for lesson is during the
time I set aside each week to go for a long soul-cleansing walk, and
I *can’t* do that on Monday at 3:30 when you should have turned up’,
they agree to teach us at a time that really doesn’t suit their
schedule. Teachers who are ‘nice’ in this way often, in the long run,
end up exhausted, and feeling exploited; they try to draw a line in
the sand. However, too few parents ask to switch only when absolutely
necessary, and too many parents want lesson times when it suits them
this week, which is not the same time that suited last week. The only
time that I would feel entitled to discuss shifting a lesson time is
if the reason I can’t make the lesson is because (i) I have to do
something for the Suzuki school and the only time at which that other
event can happen is during my lesson time; (ii) my teacher were to
ask us to participate in some other activity (e.g., orchestra, etc.)
and that other activity were to create the conflict. If the conflict
arises because my child is in the School play, and they have their
dress-rehearsal during his lesson time, then I feel that I must
choose between the two activities, and if he attends the dress
rehearsal my private lesson teacher doesn’t owe me anything.

During May, my eldest son will be missing three lessons because he is
going to accompany me on a trip to New Zealand to visit his great-
grandparents. I do not expect my son’s teacher to refund me for those
missed lessons, or to reschedule them by ‘doubling up’ lessons in the
weeks before or after our departure. Since there will be lots of
advanced notice, I might ask her to consider preparing a
special ‘practice tape’ for that period, or to answer my questions
via e-mail, but if she doesn’t have the time (the second half of
April is going to be really busy for her, and she wouldn’t be able to
do the tape until more or less the week we left) and so has to
refuse, then that’s fine. I certainly don’t expect her to credit me
with three make-up lessons; there is no way for her to find a student
to fill a three-week hole in her schedule during our absence.
Instead, I hope that she will enjoy the extra hour of rest during
those three weeks, and that we will all feel renewed enthusiasm when
we return to lessons at the end of the trip.

Article Copyright © 2001Vicky Barham

Vicky Barham, Ph. D., is the mother of two children who are enrolled
in Suzuki music lessons in Canada. She also teaches Economics at the
University of Ottawa. The TMTA webmasters became acquainted with Dr.
Barham through the Internet and were so impressed with her sound and
logical expressions about music teaching that we asked permission to
publish her ideas for all to share. Her ideas are expressed in two
articles on this website. The article on make-up lessons may be
printed and distributed to others as long as you do not charge any
fee for the article and as long as you give Dr. Barham credit for the
article. Thank you to Dr. Barham for so generously sharing her
expertise with us.

Laughing Babies put a Bright Moment into my Day!

June 29, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Babies, Family, Family Support, FUN, humor, Kindermusik, Parenting | Leave a comment
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This video was rated the top three baby laughing videos on You Tube. I couldn’t resist sharing! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Laughter is the best medicine they say…. ;O

Families Celebrate your Fathers!

June 29, 2008 at 2:21 am | Posted in Dads, Family, Family Support, Fathers, Kindermusik, Parenting, Traditions | Leave a comment

Okay, so I missed posting this on Father’s Day, but, it is worth posting anyway. It reminds me how important our fathers are and how much I miss seeing mine on a regular basis. I Love You Dad!

Parents are you looking for ways to improve your child’s success?

June 22, 2008 at 12:37 am | Posted in Brain Development, Children's Music, emergent literacy, FUN, Kindermusik, Music Making, Music Together, Musical Instruments, Parenting, School Readiness, Singing | 2 Comments
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Kindermusik ~ Why enroll?

Mom and Baby                                                             
A recent study found that repeated enrollment in Kindermusik improves a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior. 
• “Children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled ….This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program.”
• “Four-year-old children who had been exposed to Kindermusik for longer periods of time are better off in terms of self-control namely a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior-than similar children with less Kindermusik history.”
• “These experiences, stop-go, high-low, fast-slow, short-long, and loud-soft, whereby children’s motor behavior is guided by the music, appear to be good exercise for young children’s emerging self-regulatory skills.”  

The study, “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood,” was conducted in 2005 in the psychology department at George Mason University in Virginia. Results were made available to Kindermusik in May, 2005. The study was conducted by Adam Winsler Ph.D and graduate student Lesley Ducenne in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University. The 15-month study included 91 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were split into three groups:  23 students currently enrolled in Kindermusik, 19 students previously enrolled in Kindermusik, and 49 students of similar family backgrounds from local preschools who had never had Kindermusik. The children were observed doing a variety of tasks that required selfcontrol such as slowing down their motor behavior, delaying their gratification, refraining from touching attractive but forbidden toys, quietly whispering, and compliance with instructions to initiate or stop certain behaviors. Parents also completed surveys.

The study was supervised by Adam Winsler, Ph.D, Applied Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.

Girl and Xylophone

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

The cost of gas and keeping it local! How to have a summer full of great memories!

June 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music Making, Parenting | Leave a comment
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One fun activity might be a Zoo Train Camp at Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton!

So many of us have lamented about the price of gas continuing to go up and the heat just complicates the issue. Using the air conditioning in your car just eats that gas up faster and faster doesn’t it! So what to do? Stay home you say, keep it simple! I agree that you need to simplify to cut expenses. I also know as a small business owner that keeping it local may satisfy the need for something to do. There are many small business owners who are being affected by the high cost of doing business too. To keep them in business and cut your expense to do something special check the local folks out. Allow them to provide your family with special things to do that cost a little and require little or no travel. Your family will have some special summer memories and you won’t break the bank getting there! J Why don’t you recommend some of your favorite local things to do so that others might enjoy them too!

The latest recalls families should be aware of…. Animal Tracking Kits and Baby Mattresses

June 8, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Animals, Art, Babies, Blogroll, Parenting, Science, Toy Recals | 1 Comment
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animal tracking explorer kit

MindWare, in conjunction with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov), has issued a voluntary recall notice for Animal Tracking Explorer Kit, sold by MindWare in Fall/Winter 2007.

We have recently been informed by our supplier, Interplay UK Ltd, that some shipments of this product, which should have included Plaster of Paris, actually included calcium hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide is an irritant, misuse of which could cause irritation to the skin and eyes.

While MindWare has not received any complaints or notification of injury we are advising customers who have purchased this product and still have any material remaining in the bag marked “Plaster of Paris”, to immediately dispose of it, taking care to avoid spillage on the skin or clothing.

It is also advisable to dispose of any casts made using this kit. In case of skin contact with the calcium hydroxide, wash thoroughly with soap and water.

If you purchased this product and wish to receive a full refund for your Animal Tracking Explorer Kit or if you would like to receive a replacement pack of Plaster of Paris, free of charge, please contact us:

By mail: MindWare Customer Service, 2100 County Road C West, Roseville, MN 55113-2501
By phone: 1-800-588-1072
By email: custserv@mindware.com

This information was posted directly from MindWare’s website

Pottery Barn Simmons Mattress

At Simmons Kids, our singular mission is to provide a healthy sleep environment for babies and children. Because of our commitment to ensuring that our products are as safe as possible for our youngest consumers, we, in cooperation with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), have announced a voluntary product recall on certain open coil crib mattresses.

A small percentage (just over 1%) of full-size open coil crib mattresses have been found to fall short of the recommended minimum width for full size crib mattresses. Some mattresses may be from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch narrower (about the size of a pencil eraser) than the 27-1/4″ minimum width recommended by federal regulations.

These mattresses were sold in the United States at Pottery Barn Kids and by a limited number of nursery furniture retailers. All of the mattresses that are part of this recall have a law tag like that shown below, which includes the date of manufacture between July 1, 2006 and March 23, 2008, and the model number. A few mattresses with a date of manufacture before July 1, 2007 will not include a model number, but can be identified by the color label attached to the top or the side of the mattress.

In order to prevent even the smallest potential for injury, we ask that you follow the instructions below in order to determine whether your product is affected. If you have any questions, please call toll-free 800-810-8611 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday or 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday. You can also e-mail our Customer Assistance department: simmonskidsrecall@simmons.com.

HOW TO IDENTIFY THE MODEL AND MANUFACTURE DATE OF YOUR CRIB MATTRESS
In most cases, the model name and manufacture date of your mattress will be shown on the large color label that is attached to the top or the side of your mattress. The model names included in this recall are below. No other models are included in this recall.

Affected Model Names Affected Model Numbers
Pottery Barn Kids by Simmons Kids Lullaby H59044.15.0014
Simmons Kids Slumber Time Evening Star Luxury Firm M59082.15.0002
Simmons Kids Baby Mattress Series 400 M59027.15.0002
Simmons Kids Baby Mattress 234 Coil Count M59056.15.0006

HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR CRIB MATTRESS IS AFFECTED
If the law tag matches any of the model names and numbers listed above, you must measure the mattress to determine whether it needs to be replaced. To measure your mattress:

  • Take the mattress out of the crib
  • Remove all coverings from the mattress
  • Lay mattress on the floor with the sleep surface facing up
  • Using a reliable tape measure or yard stick, measure at the middle of the mattress from outside tape edge to outside tape edge
  • If the width measures less than 27-1/4″, contact Simmons Kids for a free replacement

HOW TO REPLACE AN AFFECTED MATTRESS
To facilitate a product exchange, please call Simmons toll-free at 800-810-8611 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, or 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday. You can also e-mail our Customer Assistance department: simmonskidsrecall@simmons.com.

Thank you again for your cooperation as we work through this important safety measure.
Click to download: Simmons Kids Voluntary Recall Press Release (PDF)

Summer Camps and Classes at Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton

May 31, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Babies, Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Music Together, Musical Instruments, Parenting, Sign & Sing, Singing, Voice Students | Leave a comment
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Click this link to view a PDF of our flyer.

summercolorflyer20081

SummerFlyer2008

 

Making your home a more musical place for your children…

May 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Musical Instruments, Parenting, Singing | 2 Comments
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Kindermusik educator Amy B. in Plymouth MI recently was giving some advice to a fellow new educator on helping families to make their homes more musical. Thank you Amy for sharing!

Making Your Home More Musical

Here are a few ideas for home–a lot depends on the age of the child, so some will apply better to different ages. Basically, just as elementary school teachers suggest “littering your house with books” to encourage young children’s reading and enjoyment of reading, I would say, “litter your house with music”! That is, put it all around your whole family, so it becomes an important part of your everyday life.

–Use your home materials; use your family activity book for ideas to do at home; do the “homework” projects in Kindermusik Imagine That! (ages 3.5-5 years) and the at-home activities in Kindermusik of the Young Child (ages 5-7 years); practice with your child so s/he can feel successful in class

–Sing, dance, and play music at home–often–Kindermusik CDs, other good children’s music, your own favorite “family appropriate” singers and musicians. Make it a fun part of your family’s day.

–Listen to a wide variety of music–classical, folk, country, jazz, a bit of rock and pop (o.k. can you see my bias showing), music from other countries. Borrow some CDs from the library with out-of-the-
ordinary music to find out what you and your family like.

–Keep a “music basket” with your egg shakers, zig zag blocks, fiddlesticks, resonator bars, slide whistles, drums, tambourines, etc., etc., etc. in it. Put it in the same room with a CD player so it’s easy to put on some music and march, dance, and play–often. Try to avoid the temptation to ask your children to “not make so much noise” 🙂 Of course, some instruments, like slide whistles and loud drums, make great basement and outdoor “parade” instruments!

–When you get to Kindermusik Imagine That and KIndermusik for the Young Child, keep your child’s current instrument and bag very handy for them to get out. Yes, sometimes that means you’ll get to class without your slide whistle, drum, book, folder, or glockenspiel–but so much better to actually use them during the week- -and your child can share with a friend or use a spare from her teacher in class.

–If you–Mom or Dad–play an instrument, play it for and with your child. Doesn’t matter if you played it in junior high years ago and it’s been in the attic since then. Children enjoy hearing it because A–it’s a real instrument, not just the sound of one on CD, and B–it’s Mom or Dad playing it. Ask other family members to share whatever they may play–maybe Grandpa plays a bit of piano, Grandma plays the accordian, or Uncle Joe plays the balilaika (or whatever 🙂 ). It’s a great way to share your family’s culture and history as
well as music, and often others will not think anyone would want to hear them unless they’re asked.

–If you have older children, or older cousins, have a family music night where everybody plays something–whatever instrument they’re learning to play, or sing a song. Have everybody join in for a sing-a-long and/or “family jam” with all those instruments from the music basket.

–If you have relatives and friends with older children, go to some middle school and high school concerts. They’re cheap, usually free, and children can see others who are still learning to play and sing. High school musicians are often very accomplished already. Find out what your local high school is performing for a spring play or musical. Look for local productions of ballet, like The Nutcracker at Christmastime.

–Look for family concerts and events in your area. I know this is harder in smaller communities, but maybe sometimes make it a special event on a trip to a larger city. Orchestras, bands, choirs, parades, theater, ballet, puppet shows, children’s performers, summer concerts in the park…the list is almost endless.

–If you’re not ready to invest in a piano, look for an electronic keyboard–one that is more than a kids’ toy without being a huge investment. Put in in a place where your child can easily play it (not “play with it”) and explore it–simply expect them to treat it kindly and gently (playing with fingers, not fists or feet). You could even consider looking for a used child-size violin or guitar–not to start lessons on it, just to explore and play.

–Try to avoid the temptation to rush into formal lessons–again a great reason for Kindermusik for the Young Child since it is process, not performance based and is age- and developmentally appropriate!

The Smithfield Ham and Yam Festival is this weekend! …

May 1, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Charities, Family, Family Support, FUN, Music, Parenting, Ramblings, Relay for Life, Traditions | Leave a comment
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Relay for Life banner

 

Ham and Yam logo

It is festival time in Johnston County! Last week was the Strawberry Festival in the Cleveland community, this weekend is the Ham and Yam Festival in Smithfield, two weeks down the road will be the Acorn Festival in Four Oaks, Johnston County Relay for Life is May 30th and the first weekend in June is Millstock Music and Art Fair in Clayton. All of these are family friendly events with lots of FREE things to do, FREE music to listen to, homemade goodies to eat and lots of causes to support. I particularly like to support the Johnston County Relay for Life event as it reaches so many local people who are cancer survivors and families still healing from losing someone close, to cancer.  These family events are reminiscent of times gone by. Sitting in lawn chairs or a blanket on a grassy slope listening to local talent, or looking at the creativity of children who have decorated yams for the “What is that Yam Thing?” contest, or seeing the teamwork of a group of people out to support their friends and family in raising money to help a special cause… take some time folks to smell the flowers, talk a walk through the arts and crafts booths, and enjoy some ham biscuits, rib sandwiches, yam fries, or something else homemade and delicious. Get away from the high gas prices, rush of the work week and stress of making ends meet and enjoy each other! That’s what I will be doing… 🙂 Julie

 

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