A ‘Note’ for Every Parent by Wendy Jones Williams

April 9, 2014 at 5:19 am | Posted in Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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“When is the music coming?” A voice comes from near my waist. “We’re making the music!” I reply, looking around at my group of moving, merrily singing preschoolers. “No,” she persists, “I mean the real music, not us.”   Why are there so many children who don’t believe in their own power to be musicians, to indulge in the joy of spontaneous, unbridled song? 

            The first, most important question is, are all children musical? The answer is a resounding yes! The building blocks of music are within us all from birth. Watch a baby shake a rattle or bang a spoon, intent on the sound they are producing. Toddlers dip and wriggle, responding to music they hear, and explore with delight the entire range of their vocalizations, from deep growls to siren squeals.  The great composer, Rossini, said, “The language of music is common to all generations and nations; it is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.” So why do so many of us as adults assume that music is somehow the special providence of a few gifted individuals, rather than the birthright of all?

            Part of the reason lies in our own understanding of musical ability and how it develops. In early childhood, music and language development mirror each other. We don’t expect baby to begin by speaking full, clear sentences; we hang on every coo, every babbled syllable, and proclaim, “She’s trying so hard to talk!” We respond, and baby is rewarded for their efforts, and encouraged to continue. The preschooler, picking up a book and finding familiar letters or creating a story from the pictures, is cuddled, read to, and hears their proud parent tell friends and family, “He really loves to read!” Which of us would casually laugh and say, in a child’s hearing, “Well, I guess he’ll just never learn to read; I sure can’t”? Music has its beginnings in musical ‘babble’ as well- clanging pots and pans with a spoon to discover beat, or singing fragments of words or melody before developing a reliable sense of pitch. Whether or not these children continue their musical explorations and development depends on the response they get from their valued parents and caregivers. Do you sit on the floor and break into song, clapping along with the beat your child is producing? Or have you turned to a friend with a smile and a shrug, saying, “Well, she’s just like her mother; I can’t carry a tune either.”

            Personal musical expression, in our culture, has become separated from our daily lives.  What does it teach our children, if every time we want music for them we reach for a video or CD? Like my young friend in class, we risk sending the message that only that is ‘real music’, not achievable by a small person without benefit of a backup band, flashy costumes, and a recording contract.  

But why is it so important to encourage musical expression in babies and young children? Music has benefits that reach far beyond performance. Whether clapping, walking, bouncing a ball, or cutting with scissors, a sense of steady beat will assist a child in moving with grace and confidence. The rhythms and sounds of sung language aid in developing speech fluidity and expressiveness. Patterns in music and movement have been shown in studies to develop neural connections that can later be used to understand pattern and sequence in math and science. Other studies have found benefits that include improved emotional expression, social skills, and nonverbal reasoning.  So, with all of the signs pointing towards including music making in the lives of the very young, how do we go about it?

            Children need to be offered the tools for musical exploration, freedom to make choices and offer input, and a loving, attentive adult model for uninhibited enjoyment of music making. Sing with and for your child often- don’t worry if you usually sing in the opera or in the shower, sing! Add nonsense sounds for more fun and additional language play value. Having an assortment of small percussion instruments offers a variety of tone qualities and a chance for play together, but at home you can and should supplement with ‘found’ instruments-perhaps brush-style hair curlers to rub together, pot lid cymbals to crash, or glasses of water to tap with a spoon. Most importantly, move! Children learn through movement- dance high and low, with short pokes or long glides, on tiptoe or with stomping feet; let them learn musical concepts by expressing them with their whole selves. Don’t limit you and your child’s explorations to traditional children’s recordings- why not sample some new styles together? Maybe jazz, classical, Eastern, or bluegrass music will be just the sound to excite your own inner musician.

  Today we recognize the benefits of early learning; music, with its impact on so many parts of development and its innate appeal to young children, should be a natural and joyous element of every child’s life, beginning as early as possible. By overcoming our own notions of who ‘ought’ to make music, we can bring to our children the gift of a lifetime of confidence in their own ability to learn and create- a gift that belongs to every child.

Spotlight on the NEW Sing & Play for 1s and 2s…. Please bring your young toddler for some special time together :)

August 17, 2013 at 12:29 am | Posted in Babies, Children's Music, Dancing, emergent literacy, Family, Family Support, Fathers, FREE DEMO, FUN, Gymnastics, Kindermusik, Language, Love You Forever, Mom's, Music, Music Making, Musical Instruments, Parenting, Singing, Special Needs, Whole Body, Whole Brain, Whole Child | 1 Comment
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Offered at Neighborhood Academy of Music on Tuesdays at 10:45am-11:30am for a one time registration fee of $25.00 and monthly fees of $50.00 for ease of budgeting.

Get ready to sing, play, and move with your little one in this high-energy music class designed to be just right for children under two years of age. This new Kindermusik curriculum focuses on your child’s beginning movement, helping to build the muscles your baby needs to walk, and vocal development, helping to nurture your child’s speaking and singing voice. With a mix of both parent-child joint activities and child-focused activities, you’ll be able to join right in on all the singing and dancing while also getting the chance to observe how your older baby or toddler learns on her own. Embark on Kindermusik’s fun new exploration of singing, swaying, laughing, and playing through Sing & Play, a just-right mix of early-childhood vocal play and language development, together time, and music and movement activities!

Our 4 week units will continue year round and as long as you are enrolled you will also be eligible for any Playdates or Special Occasion events at no additional cost! 🙂

Here is what to expect with your digital home materials… Similar to Cuddle &  Bounce, just a little different developmental focus.

Ebook/Reading with your baby/toddlers

Concepts/Ideas: Reading with babies, incorporating reading into your day, babies’ vision, pointing, voice inflection, routines. This activity can include baby at computer, but print-out and audio are both in Download Center for those who prefer not to bring baby to computer. Physical books available for optional buy-up by parent in the US; by educators in other countries.

Baby Talk/Communicating with your baby/toddler

Concepts/Ideas: Vocal play, language development, signing, touch, face-to-face, back-and-forth, visual expressions, mouth movements.

Video Field Trip/Listening and Watching

Concepts/Ideas: 30-45 seconds of video exploration related to theme (e.g. train, bird). This activity invites baby to computer briefly, but print-out images and audio are both in Download Center for those who prefer zero screen-time.

Movement

Concepts/Ideas: Parent-driven movement ideas. On floor w/parent on back, child on knees; tummy time ideas; rocking, holding, flying, hammocking, dancing while facing or facing away, bouncing, etc.

Fingerplay/Toe Tickle/Nursery Rhyme

Concepts/Ideas: Illustrated or video steps for a specific fingerplay, toe tickle, or nursery rhyme.

Object Play/Props

Concepts/Ideas: Featuring mirrors, balls, fabrics, rattles, textures, surfaces, varied environments, etc.

Routines & Rituals, Day-to-Day

Concepts/Ideas: How to make an interactive learning experience out of day-to-day activities like folding laundry, going to the grocery store, things to do during a car ride, bath time, waking up, going to sleep, meal-times, in restaurants, meeting strangers, etc.

Music

Concepts/Ideas: An activity with music front-and-center. Featuring instruments, songs, singing, steady beat, pitch, etc.

DOWNLOAD CENTER

1. Printable story
2. Printable lyrics
3. Downloadable music
4. Printable activities

Printable “activities” will contain image/s to accompany video field trip, illustrated instructions/reminders for fingerplays and other activities, and printable card reminders of activity benefits (e.g. four great ways to stimulate vestibular system, ways to vary your reading, signals that your baby is overstimulated, tips for beach play).

Children and the Mass Media

September 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Delopmental Stages, emergent literacy, Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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How Setting Limits Will Benefit Your Children By Greg Taillon

Gone are the days of children coming home from school, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies and then going outside to play with their friends until it’s time to do homework. Today, older children are often home alone after school. As a result, they sometimes are tempted to spend their time being entertained with video games, watching television, downloading music and chatting on the Internet instead of doing their homework and more active leisure activities. These temptations are all competing for children’s time at the expense of their education, health and well being.

Childhood obesity, school violence, ADHD and poor reading and math skills can all be tied to too much mass media play in childhood. Too many children are neglecting schoolwork and exercise in favor of eating chips in front of the TV. Fast-paced video games and television shows have shortened children’s attention spans. Recreational reading is almost nonexistent. Even worse, the violence children see on TV is being replayed in the schools, and basic reading and math skills are lagging way behind.

Too Much Media Exposure

Children spend more than 38 hours per week being entertained by the mass media – almost four times the amount of time they spend on schoolwork. As a result, academics are suffering. According to research and standardized test scores, American students are struggling to read at proficient levels, and most recreational reading has stopped. Math skills are also lagging. Once children fall behind with basic academic skills, they have a hard time catching up. This will have long-term ramifications on them, as the future will bring about more advanced jobs and fewer qualified people to fill them. These jobs include medical personnel, engineers, college professors and other highly educated or technical professions.

Overexposure to television starts at an early age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for children younger than age 2, and no more than two hours per day of high-quality programming for older children. The truth is that many children watch much more than the recommended guidelines.   (read more)

Want to do something about this epidemic? Sign your child up for a Kindermusik class and learn about engaging your child with music in ways that help eliminate this trend! Fall Semester begins September 7th, with classes for children infant through age 7. www.kindermusikofclayton.com/SchoolYearSchedule.htm

Washington Post article so revealing “Background TV Distracts Kids from Play”

September 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Kindermusik, Washington Post | Leave a comment
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Washington Post HealthDay Reporter Serena Gordon wrote this very interesting article about a recent study.

“Even if young children aren’t watching the TV, it may be distracting them from their play and depriving them of developing critical attention skills, a new study says.

When children aged 3 and younger played in a room with a television on that was tuned to adult programming, they played for about 5 percent less time than when there was no background TV. More importantly, when there was no background TV, the children’s play was more focused with longer play episodes, the study found.

“Background TV is a disruptive and distracting influence. Our evidence is that TV keeps the children from sustaining their attention at a time when developmentally, they’re beginning to organize their attention skills and sequencing behaviors,” said study senior author Daniel Anderson, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“Parents think it [background TV] doesn’t matter because the programs aren’t directed at children, but just because a child isn’t paying active attention doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a disruptive effect,” he added….. (read more)

Parents ~ Consistency is your best friend when starting something new!

August 31, 2010 at 2:45 am | Posted in Children's Music, emergent literacy, Kindermusik, Parenting | Leave a comment
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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.

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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!

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Check out our website for Fall Class schedule and online registration.

Enroll Now for Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton Fall 2010 semester!

August 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Babies, Children's Music, emergent literacy, Family Support, FUN, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Singing, Voice Students | Leave a comment
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Greetings! Kindermusik Families and Friends!

It is the beginning of school in our area for traditional schools! Summer is over and soon our Kindermusik semester will begin. I am excited to say we have great things happening in our corner of the world!

Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet, educator, and diplomat, was the first Latin American to win a Nobel Prize in Literature. It was awarded to her in 1945. Among the many topics she covered, Gabriela often wrote about children. It was obvious how important they were in her work and life. In fact, she even donated the proceeds from one of her books to children who were orphaned by the Spanish Civil War. (posted on Minds of Music, KI’s blog).

Kindermusik International recently came across one of Gabriela’s passages that sums up our own convictions on children as well. It goes:

“Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are being formed, her blood is being constituted, his brain is being developed. To her we cannot say tomorrow. His name is today.”

As you look at your fall schedule and commitments please remember that the value of a Kindermusik experience is matched by no other offering. I so want to be a valuable asset to you and your child. Message me!

NEW Kindermusik Semester Classes Register NOW!

January 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Babies, Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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Class: Village Cock-a-doodle-MOO! and Dew Drops             REGISTER TODAY!
Time: Monday at 9:15am
Class Meets: February 1 , 2010

Time: Thursday at 10:15am
Class Meets: February 4 , 2010

Cock-a-doodle-MOO! – Cock-a-doodle-MOO! – Hop on the hayride—it’s time to head for the farm! In this class, you will sing songs about the farm, including “Old MacDonald,” “Hayride,” and “Clever Cows.” You’ll engage in rituals and playful activities with your baby, including infant massage, lap bounces, exercise, and quiet time. During the week, you’ll enjoy their At Home Materials, looking through a playful picture book of animals and the sounds they make, as well as a CD of the songs heard in class and an instrument for music-making at home.

DewDrops – DewDrops – Stop and smell the roses—and lily of the valley, and tulips, and pansies. In this class, parents and babies will play and move together to songs about flowers, such as “Jasmine Flower,” “How Does Your Garden Grow?,” and “White Coral Bells.” You’ll also hear traditional Irish music, dance a jig and move to the “Irish Trot.” In your At Home Materials, you’ll will receive a CD of beautifully arranged songs from class, a board book of flowers, and an instrument for music-making at home.

Class: Our Time Away We Go!
Time: Monday at 10:45am
Class Meets: February 1 , 2010

Time: Wednesday at 9:15am
Class Meets: February 3 , 2010

Time: Tuesday at 5:30pm
Class Meets: February 2 , 2010

Away We Go! – Away We Go! – Hop on the train, get in the car, board the plane, and Away We Go! This class focuses on transportation, a favorite topic for toddlers who are on the go, go, go! Sing and play along with favorite songs, such as “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” and “Wheels on the Bus”. Explore fast and slow, smooth and bumpy, and high and low. Read stories about ways to get around. Shiny Dinah tells the story of a train, and Giddy-Up! has a horse, speedboat, racecar, and more to help you get where you want to go.  

Class: Imagine That! Toys I Make, Trips I Take
Time: Monday at 5:30pm
Class Meets: February 1 , 2010

Time: Thursday at 9:00am
Class Meets: February 4 , 2010

Toys I Make, Trips I Take – Toys I Make, Trips I Take – Think of it like taking a course inside your child’s imagination. We’ll use the theme of a toy shop to make our pretend-creations, using rhythm and songs with every imaginary saw, hammer, and nail. The result is building your preschooler’s sense of a sequence of events, which is good for storytelling, as well as making his ideas a reality.

Class: Family Time Here, There, and Everywhere
Time: Thursday at 6:15pm
Class Meets: February 4 , 2010

Time: Friday at 9:15am
Class Meets: February 5 , 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere – Here, There, and Everywhere – In this family-sized version of Kindermusik, the music and activities center around five different family outings: a visit with a friend, an outing at the park, a trip to the city, an afternoon at the aquarium, and a day on the farm. Your At Home Materials include a hand and finger puppets of Wags—a featured character in the two literature books. Plus, two home CDs of music from class, a home activity guide, and two jambourine instruments. Each item has been carefully created to bring out the music—and the learning—in your family. Specially designed to fit the varying ages and learning abilities of your children, this set will help you bring the learning and the music-making home, as well as become a lasting, well-loved favorite of the toy box and book shelf.

Class: Young Child Semester 2
Time: Thursday at 4:15pm
Class Meets: February 4 , 2010

Semester 2 – Semester 2 – Playing simple musical patterns and songs on the featured instrument from the first session—the glockenspiel—is a central focus this semester. While learning to sing a melody, and then play the pattern on the glockenspiel, we’ll delve deeper into the understanding of musical concepts such as piano and forte through orchestra-style music such as the William Tell Overture and Peter and the Wolf. Music appreciation and understanding continues with a complete introduction to the instruments—and the families in which they’re grouped—of the orchestra.

Want to win a FREE Semester of Kindermusik?

October 24, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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Kindermusik International is sponsoring a competition to help you win a FREE Semester of Kindermusik! Just go to the link here and follow the instructions to download our special Itsy Bitsy Spider MP3 by Molly McGinn and make a video of your special moves to the song… To compete you will join ‘The Kindermusik Experience’ group on You Tube and download your video!

Children under 3 can’t learn action words from TV — unless an adult helps says an article in the latest Edition of Earlychildhood NEWSlink

September 19, 2009 at 2:08 am | Posted in Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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In the latest edition of Earlychildhood NEWSlink an article summarizing a study by researchers at Temple University and the University of Delaware states, “American infants and toddlers watch TV an average of two hours a day, and much of the programming is billed as educational. A new study finds that children under age 3 learn less from these videos than we might think — unless there’s an adult present to interact with them and support their learning.

The study, by researchers at Temple University and the University of Delaware, can be found in the September/October 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers studied children who ranged in age from 30 to 42 months to explore whether they could learn the names of actions (verbs) from videos. The names of verbs are generally harder for children to learn than names of objects. Yet verb learning is critical because verbs are the centerpiece of sentences, the glue that holds the words together…” (read more here).

Again, we see a study that points to the importance and effectiveness of interaction with our children, from the youngest ages. It is so important parents to be a part of what your young child is learning. You are your child’s most important teacher and in the Kindermusik classroom you are affirmed as that. The teacher is the facilitator and your teacher so that you may ‘teach’ your child by your involvement. “Loving your child is what it’s all about!” Learn more here!

Conversing helps language development more than reading alone UCLA study says

September 9, 2009 at 3:00 am | Posted in Kindermusik | Leave a comment
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Eurekalert reported today that a UCLA study finds that activities that get children 2 months to 48 months talking are most conducive to language acquisition.

Adult-child conversations have a more significant impact on language development than exposing children to language through one-on-one reading alone, according to a new study in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Pediatricians and others have encouraged parents to provide language input through reading, storytelling and simple narration of daily events,” explains study’s lead author, Dr. Frederick J. Zimmerman, associate professor in the Department of Health Services in the UCLA School of Public Health. “Although sound advice, this form of input may not place enough emphasis on children’s role in language-based exchanges and the importance of getting children to speak as much as possible.” (read more)

Activities like Kindermusik that encourage children to respond in class and to their parents are a great example of the give and take that this study is discussing. To acquire the knowledge a child must be actively involved in language and language type activities. What better avenue than a musical one that impacts even greater development and skill! “Loving your child is what it’s all about!”

Playing Shakers with Moms and friends in Kindermusik

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