Baby Speak in Baby Music Class

It never ceases to amaze me how much the babies get out of our Kindermusik Village music classes! This morning was the loudest baby class I have ever experienced. Not in a negative way, in a super cute way! All the babies were full of conversation! Squealing with delight. Trying to converse with each other in their babbling, conversational way. And vocalizing with me just as much as they were vocalizing with each other! They were really working their vocal chords and practicing their conversation and socialization skills.

Since our music class is exactly halfway through the session, you can really see that the babies have the routine down pat! They’re are feeling comfortable and ready to explore the instruments and materials. Anticipating what comes next and flowing easily from one activity to the next. Of course it helps that we have a really involved group of moms, dads and caregivers that are terrific at participation, really getting into the groove of dancing and movement in class and even doing activities at home! Sure makes for more learning for the babies!

What a fun class this is! I’m enjoying every minute and can tell that not only are the babies having a blast, but they are learning more and more with each passing week! Can’t wait for our class next week!

Guitar Lessons

Miss Mandi's Guitar
Guitar lessons are the newest area of business here at the Sing Music Studio. I’ve played the guitar for many years but just haven’t taught it. I recently bought myself a new guitar (my 10 year old one was sounding pretty sad) and, due to the high demand from my students, shortly thereafter began teaching guitar lessons. I tell you I love it! Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching singing lessons and piano lessons and Kindermusik too! It’s just fun for me to tap in to a new part of my brain and teach a new instrument. I love learning and teaching too. Teaching, for me, can be just as much a learning experience for me as it is for my student – finding out what each student needs to work on and how to reach each student as we all learn and understand differently. Apparently my guitar students are enjoying it too because I received this cute picture from one of my students of us during our lesson. She even included Mokie! Guitar Thanks

Practice First + Homework Second = Smarter Kids!

Music is the only activity out there that actually makes use of the entire brain. Try this on for size. A study on brain activity was done on musicians. They were hooked up to a monitor that measured activity in each part of the brain. The musicians were asked to play a tune that they knew from memory. Every single light that measured every single portion of the brain actually lit up! So it’s science, brain functioning is actually improved by making music!

I don’t need the science to tell me that though, I know this from personal experience. Every time I play a gig, rehearse or teach a music lesson or music class, I feel energized afterwards. I am literally ready to take on the world and tackle any project that comes my way. It’s not just my mind that feels open, but also my body. It’s no wonder I am so productive after musical activity!

It’s for these reasons that when the parents of my music lesson students ask me about practice schedules, I tell them to practice first and do homework second! Spending that time being musical and working the brain and body opens up the mind to become more perceptive to homework. Your children will be more focused on homework and retain more information after practice than before. That’s certainly a key benefit from music lessons. Not only does music improve your brain functioning, memory skills, vocabulary, social skills, fine and gross motor dexterity, cognitive development, emotional development, mathematical skills and creativity, it can also help your child with their homework. That’s pretty impressive.

This spring at the Sing Music Studio, we’re offering a special on all of our music lessons: piano lessons, guitar lessons and singing lessons. Four lessons for the price of three. Here’s your opportunity to experience the positive effects music lessons have on you or your child’s brain development. We also have Kindermusik, music and movement, classes for children as young as newborn! The mind is never too young or too old to be enhanced by music.

Read more on how music affects the brain in this article from Scientific American.

Live Music for Japan

I was recently flattered to be asked to perform at a fundraiser for Japan at Shore 71 in Port Credit on April 5th.  I jumped on board at the opportunity to play for 2 reasons. One, of course, being for such a worthy cause. The devastation Japan has experienced is unfathomable. I cannot even begin to imagine how the people of Japan are coping with such loss and destruction. I know that my contribution is small by comparison to some. But my heart goes out to Japan. I’m glad to make my contribution greater by donating my musical abilities to help create an event that will hopefully raise enough funds to make an impact on Japan’s aide.

The second being my love of performing and, more specifically, performing jazz. Between music lessons and Kindermusik and running the Sing Music Studio, I hardly have time for my first love these days – live performance! Gigging certainly helped me get this music school off the ground. When I became an entrepreneur, it was a tough road and the many gigs I played gave me a financial footing to step up from. But, over the last few years, the music school has gotten busier, leaving me less time to work the gig circuit. An outlet that I greatly miss. So who knows, maybe this will be the start of something new, not only helping Japan, but also helping me get back to the place of reaching out to the world through both performance and teaching.

I hope you’ll join me and my duo, Lava, for this wonderful evening of music in support of the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. We’re on at 9:30pm. Musical entertainment begins at 6pm and there will also be door prizes and a silent auction. Please visit this link for online registration and donation to the event.

For the Love of Family!

Family is so important. They are the ones that are there for you when you need a hand. They stand by you throughout your life and support you in your endeavors. They pick you up when you are feeling down and celebrate with you when you succeed!

Unfortunately, the saying is true, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. It’s for this reason that I think it’s so important to spend the time nurturing your family unit right out of the gate. Setting aside that time to grow those family bonds is so crucial to strengthening the family bond. If you can make an effort to create family togetherness a part of your regular routine, and continue to do so as your children grow and change from babies to children to teenagers and adults – I really do believe that your children will always look to you and the strength of their families to help them through the ups and downs of life.

The reality is, in today’s day and age, we are so busy that sometimes it’s difficult to set aside time to focus on your family. How about adding a weekly game night? Or setting aside one night a week for a home cooked family dinner with no television? Is your family musical… what about having family sing a-longs? Or maybe your family loves doing activities. Consider a weekly family music class! A Kindermusik Family Time class is a great way to strengthen your bond and everyone benefits from music and movement together!

Why I Love Music

Music has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born. My mom has a beautiful voice and she used to sing to me all the time as a baby, not that I remember that in particular, but I do think that’s what began my love affair with music. I do, however, have extremely fond early memories of my family having these wonderful sing a-longs together. My parents would grab their guitars gather my 2 sisters and I in the living room or at my cottage and we would sing and play the night away! We jammed a lot of tunes including songs by Peter, Paul & Mary, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel. Hands down, the family favourite was Puff the Magic Dragon! My parents even took us to the Peter, Paul & Mary concert at the O’Keefe Centre – wow they were amazing!

I also have fond memories heading in to my teens of my Dad blaring The Nylons, Paul Simon, Hall & Oats, the Pointer Sisters, Tuck & Patti, Dire Straits and tons of musicals on the family stereo! And we would all sing along at the top of our lungs! And, since all 3 of us took piano lessons and were natural singers, we used to entertain the Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents at all of our family gatherings. It was the highlight of every event!

I studied music through high school and college and was lucky enough to forge some lifelong friendships due to our mutual love of music. Performing, studying and connecting with others through music was just a part of everyday life and seemed so natural.

As I grew into a young woman and made my way through the ups and downs of life, music was a constant that was always there for me. Music is so powerful. It’s my escape, my saviour, my celebration, my energy, my therapy. I don’t think there has been one break-up that I did not write a song about. In fact, once I wrote each of those songs, I knew it was over and found solace in that. Every time, without fail, that I grab my guitar or sit at my keyboard and spend hours singing my heart out (whether it’s by myself, jamming with friends, band practice and especially gigging) I feel like I am on top of the world! Every concern, every worry, every trial, every tribulation just melts away and all that exists is music.

So why do I love music? Because music is my true love.