Sharing and Turn Taking with Toddlers

Every one of our Kindermusik Wiggle & Grow classes for toddlers has a lesson focus. In this video, you’ll see our lesson focus is up and down. Children can grasp the concept of up more easily when we also use the opposite concept of down and they make an even stronger connection with these concepts when we use multi-sensory experiences. You’ll see that the children are hearing the sound of the slide whistle move up and down, moving the slide up and down, creating vocal glissandos up and down and moving their bodies up and down, creating a rich multi-sensory learning environment.

But, as you watch the video, you may notice many other important life and learning skills developing too. We are also practicing taking turns, sharing, learning patience and teamwork while at the same time supporting different learning styles. We do live in an age of instant gratification with the speed of technology, but not everything is instantaneous. Honing a skill such as playing and instrument, excelling at sports, dance, trades, business… whatever it is takes time, practice, perseverance and PATIENCE. So it is important to teach our little ones from a very young age about these skills. Watch and enjoy!

 

Uuup and Dooown…

Children learn through movement – and that’s a fact. Children also learn through multi-sensory experiences. So any time we couple these together in a Kindermusik activity (which is most of the time), we are solidifying new brain waves and locking in the learning.

You’ll see in this video from our Wiggle & Grow for Families class that the children (and adults) are moving up and down, making glissandos with their voices up and down, listening to sliding up and down with voices and the recording and seeing others move up and down. Talk about locking in the learning! Not only are the exploring up and down, they are also exploring their vocal range, creating more expressive speaking and singing voices, practicing listening skills, working on gross and fine motor skills as they work with scarves, working on spatial recognition – moving through a room full of people without crashing and learning about new musical timbres! There is plenty of learning that takes place during just one Kindermusik activity – plus it’s loads of fun!

 

Ensemble Play – Now that’s Beneficial!

These students are in their 2nd year of music class together and are really getting the hang of ensemble playing! This is an excellent skill and there are so many facets involved here. The most obvious skill being teamwork – and what an important skill that is! So much of our lives are about working together – from school projects to sports to plays to ballet to board meetings and work relations. But when we make music together as a group, not only are we working together but now we are also using our listening skills for our cue on when to come in, to what the other musicians are playing, we are singing at the same time and if not singing we hear the music in our head and we are using both our fine motor and gross motor skills while engaging our cognitive skills – using memory, patterns and sequences. Now that is A LOT going on in those little children’s brains all at once! Take another look, it’s pretty impressive.

Video of Baby doing ASL at Home!

In this adorable video sent in by a parent, you can see one of our baby class cuties who graduated from our signing classes this summer showing off a bunch of ASL signs! This baby is only 13 months old! It’s so incredible to see him in action. Mom and Dad are definitely super proud!

 

The Music to Reading Connection for Pre-Readers

 

 

It’s widely known that music can aide mathematical skills, memory skills, brain development and learning – but did you know that learning to read music also lays the groundwork for reading skills in our pre-readers? A four year old may not be quite ready to read words but piano lessons and introductory music classes such as Kindermusik for the Young Child can help prepare your little one for reading and literacy.

Many parents aren’t aware of the synonymous nature of music reading to language reading:

  • Music teaches your child to read left to right, top to bottom across the page on a staff in the same manner as reading language does.
  • The musical alphabet is the first 7 letters of the alphabet, written in capital letters. Children begin their reading skills by focusing on the alphabet and capital letters.
  • In piano lessons, children learn the music alphabet forwards and backwards solidifying and creating confidence in the knowledge of the musical alphabet – setting the stage for confidence in reading readiness.
  • As we learn the music alphabet in relation to the piano or glockenspiel (in Kindermusik), we sing the letters as we play, adding vocal inflections that can aide your child in speaking and reading aloud with enthusiasm and exploring the inflections necessary for public speaking.

Each week I can clearly see the thoughts, ideas, groundwork and small steps my students are making towards reading, whether in a private piano lesson or my Kindermusik for the Young Child classes. It is a slow process and it takes patience, understanding and knowledge of how to engage a young child’s mind and understand their thought processes. But the connections are made, and with patience and perseverance they are strongly made, setting the stage for excellence in school. What an incredible privilege it is to be such an influence and on these young children’s lives, aiding them to achieve, set goals and succeed.

Learning through Music: Imagination

Spotlight on Laugh & Learn for Preschoolers: Out & About (August Unit)

Many parents love to imagine their little ones all grown up. Will she be a doctor, teacher, CEO? Will he travel around the world, open up a restaurant, or work from home to stay with the children? Ask your child what the future holds and you may hear any number of ideas: M&M candy maker, firefighter-super hero, monster catcher, parent with 20 children (whoa!), or mermaid. In a child’s imagination, anything is possible.

Each week in class, we create an environment that fosters your child’s growing imagination. When we pretend to ride bicycles, go on a mountain hike, or play in the waves at the beach, your child’s imagination (and gross-motor and social skills!) get a workout.

During the pretend play activities, the social interaction is usually characterized by a heightened use of action and language. At home, where your child is most comfortable, the imaginative play can become even more complex as your child reexamines life experiences and adds to or changes what really happened.

Everyday connection: Character Acting. Encourage imagination and emerging literacy by pretending to be the characters from a favorite book. Let your child lead the way…even if it differs from the story’s plot. You might even get your child to clean up (or eat vegetables!) while in character!

Kindermusik or piano lesson – what’s the right fit for your 4-5 year old?

Your want to enroll your child in music. You already know the benefits of music and how much it can enhance your child’s learning and school readiness. But how do you know whether to choose a kindermusik class or a private piano lesson?

It’s easy for me to tell by seeing how your child interacts with me, in class or a lesson. But let’s face it, you know your 4-5 year old behaves differently with mom or dad than with a teacher and peers. So here are a few key things to look for when deciding between a piano lesson or kindermusik:

  • Where does your child’s interest lie? Does she keep asking for lessons or sit down often at the keyboard or piano to play or make up tunes? If your child is showing a keen interest in piano then that’s a good indication that a lesson is the right fit. If your child loves music and singing but is not yet gravitating to a specific instrument or is more interested in guitar or other instruments that are challenging for a 4-5 year old’s fine motor skills, a kindermusik class where we introduce a few different melodic instruments and continue to work on fine motor skill development is likely the right option.
  • What is your child’s energy level like? Do you have an active, high energy child on your hands who love to go, go, go? This child would likely fare well in the kindermusik class where we use a combination of movement activities (like the human staff), games, active listening and playing a variety of instruments to teach your child the basics of music. Or maybe you have a quieter child who prefers to listen and watch can easily focus attention and responds well to one-on-one interactions. In that case a private piano lesson is probably the best option.
  • Is your child an introvert or an extrovert? An extroverted child will more likely be comfortable in the kindermusik class environment interacting with his peers while an introverted child will likely feel more comfortable and confident in the one-on-one piano lesson.

Of course these are just guidelines and while an introverted child may get just as much out of the classroom environment, a high energy child who adores piano would likely do just fine in a piano lesson! The best way for me to tell is to teach your child! So if you still aren’t sure, then join us on September 3rd for our Kindermusik Demo Days or visit a class for a preview or sign up for a 4 week trial in piano lessons. I am here to help you find the best musical fit for your child.

Learning through Music: Steady Beat

Spotlight on Wiggle & Grow for Toddlers: Time for Lunch (August Unit)

Walking, running, riding a tricycle, dancing, kicking a ball: you name a whole body movement and your child is probably trying to master it….in the house, in the yard, at the grocery store, and sometimes while buckled in the car. (Please, stop kicking Mommy’s seat.) All this movement takes a sense of time and the ability to organize and coordinate movements within time.

In Kindermusik, we call this regularly paced repeated motion: steady beat! The most basic property of music is beat, the underlying, unchanging, repeating pulse. When playing the sandblocks while listening to “Donkeys Love Carrots” or tapping, shaking, or jingling the bells during “Sweet Potatoes,” your child is practicing steady beat. That same sense of steady beat will help your child walk, run, ride a tricycle, use scissors, and, yes, even kick the back of your seat in time to the music.

Everyday connection: Can’t catch me! Put on your favorite Kindermusik songs and pretend to be the Gingerbread Boy (or Girl!). As you take turns chasing each other, try stomping, running, marching, or jumping to the beat to get away. If the Gingerbread Boy gets caught, try tickling to a steady beat!

Learning through Music: Making Transitions

Spotlight on Wiggle & Grow for Toddlers: Beach Days (July Unit)

During childbirth, women in the last part of labor—called the Transition period—may feel exhausted, frustrated, impatient, and overwhelmed. In the movies, this is where the actress with perfectly applied makeup and red-carpet-worthy hair yells, “Get this baby out!” Thankfully, in reality, the mind tends to forget the intensity—and pain—of the transition period. However, parents of toddlers might experience similar feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and impatience during other “transition” moments with their child—like leaving the playground, putting away toys, or even starting the bedtime routine.

At Kindermusik, we know that toddlers can struggle with transitioning from one activity to another as they also experience rapid—and turbulent—emotional development. Helping your child navigate those feelings and learn how to move on to something else can ease the daily struggles between you and your little one. In class each week, we use musical cues to help children move from a big, blue boat to listening to a story to playing with sand blocks. All of these experiences give your child practice in bringing one thing to a close and beginning something new. Plus, the community of other parents and caregivers gives you the perfect place to share your own labor transition pains and successes!

Everyday Connection: Instruments Away. Sing the “Instruments Away” song from class and change the words to fit the situation. “Playground Away” can help your toddler make a smoother transition from the playground to the car seat.

Learning through Music: The Joy of Music

Spotlight on Laugh & Learn: Wild Animal Park (July Unit for Families and Preschoolers)

Parents sometimes don’t realize how “easy” a certain developmental stage is until their children move on to the next. Being pregnant seems “easy” when you are waking up every two to three hours to feed a newborn. Babies seem “easy” when your toddler won’t stay in the cart (quietly!) during your weekly grocery run. Toddlers seem “easy” when your preschooler stops taking an afternoon nap. Well, the truth is no developmental stage is actually “easy.” Each stage comes with unique challenges and delights.

At Kindermusik, we celebrate your child’s stage of development with the indelible joy of music. Woven through and around the learning in a Kindermusik class is the simple pleasure of making music together. When we play drums in class during “Ritsch Ratsch” or dance around the room to the “Yangtze Boat Song,” your child expresses thoughts and feelings naturally and easily through movement and music. Plus, when you join in the music making in class or “rumble, rumble, rumble in the jungle, jungle, jungle” at home, you create memorable moments full of joy that you and your child will carry in your hearts from one developmental stage to the next!

Everyday Connection: Singing in the Rain. You don’t need a sunny day to sing. Anytime is the right time to sing with your child. So, go ahead, sing along with the music from class or make up your own songs together. The memories you create will last a lifetime!