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!

See how music affects children — and parents!

September 28, 2007 at 3:44 am | Posted in Autism, Babies, books, Children's Music, Dancing, Kindermusik, Music, Parenting, School Readiness | 3 Comments

This is a great article in the current USA weekend.com website…read on!

Expert secrets to raising “great kids”

By Beth Arky

Anyone who has bonded closer with a baby while singing a lullaby or witnessed the pure joy of a movin’ and groovin’ toddler will be intrigued by a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that music plays an integral role in child development. A 2001 University of Valencia study traced the connection back even further, noting that “children who were played music in the womb showed more rapid development” in traits such as speech, gross and fine motor skills, and the ability to imitate faces. Another study found that kids as young as 3 could interpret emotional messages of songs.


“Children want to feel close and in emotional rhythm with their parents,” says child development expert Greenspan.


We wanted to learn more about this fascinating link, so we sat down with two people who are well-versed on the topic of kids: singer-songwriter Laurie Berkner and child development expert Stanley Greenspan.

Berkner, 38, recently was dubbed “the pixie Pied Piper of kid rock” by “Entertainment Weekly.” Her music videos air daily on Noggin, a commercial-free cable channel for preschoolers. The former preschool music teacher is now in bookstores with an illustrated version of her 1999 song, “The Story of My Feelings.”

Greenspan, 66, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at George Washington University Medical Center, also has a new book out, “Great Kids: Helping Your Baby and Child Develop the 10 Essential Qualities for a Healthy, Happy Life.”

The two shared their thoughts on why music is so important for children — and for their parents.

USA WEEKEND: Dr. Greenspan, what role can music play in raising “great” kids?
Greenspan: Great kids have a number of qualities, including empathy, creativity, emotional range, and a sense of morality and caring about others. It begins with that engagement, that rhythm between the baby and the caregiver — often the mommy — in the first year of life. Then it blossoms in the second and third years with more complex social interactions. When language comes in, they can give voice to what it means to be happy or sad. So a song like Laurie’s helps them understand what a happy feeling or a sad feeling is. You’ll see it in their doll play or action-figure play. This helps them with empathy and creativity. If they’re going to be great novelists or write songs or perform, they have got to understand the feelings of others.
Berkner: It’s so great to hear you say it that way. When I wrote “The Story of My Feelings,” I was having a fight with a friend and wrote it to help me get in touch with my feelings. So actually, it was a completely self-centered act! I wrote the song a long time ago about how I feel better after I express myself, which is true. But now, I might have written it a little differently, because it also feels good to be expressing myself, not just afterward. But in hindsight, I do see that, “Yeah, the song can really help kids connect with their feelings.”

USA WEEKEND: Is it important for parents to sing and dance with their kids?
Berkner: It’s really about enjoying interaction with your child. It creates more of a connection with the caregiver, especially if feelings are coming up through the music. If I’m going to get down and play with Lucy [her 3-year-old daughter with husband Brian Mueller, 39] while she’s listening to a song, and she’s jumping around and I seem to be enjoying it, too, I’m validating her experience.
Greenspan: Children want to feel close and in emotional rhythm with their parents. It’s like when you’re with a good friend or someone you love very deeply. There’s a rhythm to the intimacy that makes you feel secure about yourself and the world. Listening to music brings people close; they’re sharing an experience. It’s an essential part of the development of empathy, of relating to others and emotional range.

USA WEEKEND: Laurie, parents of children with autism and other special needs have told you that your music helped their kids express themselves, while other methods have failed. Any thoughts as to why?
Berkner: The kids seem to want to be able to sing the songs. I’ve had lots of parents say that the first real words out of their children’s mouths came through stringing all these words together. Or they draw a picture to express that they want to hear a song. I wish I understood it better, but I like the fact that it happens.
Greenspan: What Laurie says is very, very important. I, and many of my colleagues, have a whole program for children with autism and other special-needs conditions called the Floortime approach. The essence is to follow the child’s lead and interests [during play] to form a relationship. From there we build communication. We found that some of the kids are very gifted musicians. The part of their brain that processes music functions extraordinarily well.

USA WEEKEND: Both of you make the case for learning through music, dance and creative play. Why?
Greenspan: When you move, you experience more fully. The more coordinated you become, the more you’re able to enjoy movement. It enforces the creativity of using your body, whether through dance or music. But now there’s a movement toward more impersonal forms of communication, from rote learning in education to parents being told to use flashcards rather than creative play with their kids to the overuse of text messages or hours of isolated self-absorption rather than being with real people.
Berkner: I think kids who are sitting at a computer are missing the physical component that they get through music and dancing. When they’re watching television, there’s at least a possibility they’ll get up and dance and let feelings come out. Think about “jumping for joy” — it’s the way we talk about our feelings sometimes. All of that seems to be so connected to being able to express ourselves.

About Laurie Berkner: The popular musician has a new illustrated book of her song “The Story of My Feelings.”
About Stanley Greenspan: The professor’s new book is about the 10 qualities that make for a “great kid.”

The importance of Steady Beat

September 8, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Babies, Children's Music, Imagine That, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Our Time, Parenting, School Readiness | 1 Comment

As a Kindermusik educator I am always stressing the importance of your child feeling, learning, playing, following and understanding Steady Beat. Fellow Kindermusik Educator Jeanne Lippencott put it very  nicely…

Steady Beat

One of the first musical skills to develop is the ability to keep a steady beat. This skill is extremely important, of course, for future musical experiences, but it is also important in everyday life. Think of all we do that requires regularly paced repeated motion (a sense of steady beat!): walking, running, riding a bicycle, cutting with scissors, bouncing a ball, and more.

village_color.jpg In Village we help them feel the beat.

ot_color.jpg In Our Time we help them play the beat.

it_c.jpg In Imagine That! we help them vary the beat.
yc_color.jpg In Young Child we help them read and write the beat.

Consistency! Parents best friend when trying something new.

August 29, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music, Parenting, School Readiness, Singing | 1 Comment

Consistency is needed in times of change

Is your child starting pre-school or Kindergarten this fall? Are you concerned that keeping Kindermusik in his/her schedule will overload him/her? Actually, the opposite is true. With all the changes in his/her life, keeping him/her in Kindermusik provides the consistency required to make the transition easier. With life getting busier, and your child’s activities more independant in nature, Kindermusik is one place the two of you can spend time focused on each other. Loving your child is what it’s all about!

Two studies of Kindermusik students give you additional food for thought! Thank you Lori Burkhardt for the links to this information.

Click HERE for the below study article

 Click HERE for a short article for the the below study.

improved_ready.jpg

So with that in mind remember music effects the whole brain and Kindermusik uses it’s process based classes to effect your child in a whole child way!

boy_thinking.jpg

Check out our website for Fall Class schedule and online registration at www.kindermusikofclayton.com

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