Learning through Music: Security and Independence

From time to time as parents, we may find ourselves asking: Where has my sweet little baby gone? This question generally occurs during periods of intense growth and development, such as teething, moving to a “big kid” bed, and well, maybe right about now. Between 18 months and three years, children begin to realize that they exist as separate individuals apart from you. This revelation starts a revolution as your child begins to exert independence! Now, when it is time to get dressed, take a bath, or even get strapped in the car seat, your child says (or more accurately loudly demands!) “No! I do!” with escalating insistence. Where, oh, where has your sweet little baby gone, indeed.

Take heart. Your sweet little baby is still there. Your child might be stretching his independence muscles, but your little one still needs the sense of security that only you can offer during this emotionally turbulent time of development. Each week in Kindermusik class we provide a safe, predictable, and developmentally appropriate environment where your child can experience guided independence by practicing new skills, making choices, and sharing unique ideas with the class but still run back to the safety of your arms at a moments notice.  So, rock your little one during “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” and know that this quest for independence will lead to a emotionally confident and capable adult…who will always be your sweet little baby!

Everyday Connection: Me Do…and You Do! Add an extra 5 to 10 minutes into your morning routine to give your child the time needed to get dressed, brush teeth, or put on shoes without your help. Some days your child will be all about “Me Do!” and other days “You Do!” Follow your child’s lead to best support your little one’s need for both independence and security.

Learning through Music: Active Listening

We live in a noisy world. Buzzing lawn mowers, phones ringing, cars honking, dogs barking and cats meowing, planes zooming—and those are just the sounds your child makes during play!  As adults, most of us know how to tune into important sounds and tune out the rest (well, usually!).  Children, however, need to learn how to identify and discriminate between sounds and tune into those sounds that matter most—like the sound of your voice instead of the sound of a toy.

During the school years, children will spend an estimated 50 to 75 percent of classroom time listening to the teacher, to other students, or to media. Developing strong active listening skills will prepare your child for classroom learning, including language and literacy development. Each week in Kindermusik we provide many opportunities for your child to practice active listening skills. So, when we intently listen for the sounds of the pipe organ in a Bach piece, use the wood blocks to produce a Staccato sound, or move smoothly with streamers when we hear the the music change from Staccato to Legato, your child is practicing active listening.

Everyday connection: M is for? Make a letter sound and ask your child to identify the letter and to name an animal that starts with that sound. How would that animal move? What would it sound like? Pick another letter. Try whispering so your child can practice listening even more intently to the sound of your voice.

Learning through Music: Self Awareness

As parents, no one can make us more self-aware than our own child. After all, our children do not need to look like us to be our mirror image.  They mirror our actions and reactions and the words we say in our best moments—and sometimes our not-so-best moments. They can even mimic our likes and dislikes. Eventually, as they become more self aware, children begin to express their own preferences for things, like wearing pajamas everywhere (Not a bad idea!) or eating ice cream for breakfast (Not a good idea!).

In Kindermusik, we support your child’s growing self-awareness and your unique role in it.  Each week we include activities that not only encourage your child’s personal choices but we actually incorporate them into the lesson. By including your child’s favorite way to say “Hello” at the beginning of class or movement idea during the “Monkey Dance,” we place value on your child’s ideas and preferences.  In doing so, your child learns to not only recognize and share ideas in a meaningful way but also to celebrate the differences of others.

Everyday Connection: Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings. Recognizing and responding appropriately to feelings further develop self-awareness skills in young children. Listen to music that expresses different emotions, like happy, sad, angry, or scared. Dance with your child based on the emotion and help your child label the emotion. Not only does this activity develop children’s vocabulary; it also helps them to identify—and even to manage—their own emotions.

 

Learning through Music: Scaffolding

There is a reason children start out small. Changing diapers and clothes, strapping into car seats, bathing, feeding, sleeping (or not): It’s a steep learning curve for new parents! For many of us, it’s only after surviving that first year (and every year thereafter) that we recognize how much we learned along the way—and how much more we have to learn! Thankfully, as we built on what the previous day taught us, we gained both skills and confidence in our parenting abilities.

In Kindermusik, we call this learning process “scaffolding.” Each week in class, we support your child’s learning by building on your child’s current abilities and nourishing your unique role as your child’s first and best teacher. Scaffolding involves varying the level of the activity depending upon your child’s responses. So each week in class scaffolding occurs when you investigate together different ways to mend shoes with rhythm sticks or when you follow your child’s lead on how to move with the scarves on “Sing a Ling” while also offering suggestions based on the original idea. As with your parenting abilities, scaffolding helps your child gain both skills and confidence.
Everyday Connection: “Scaffolding Seuss.” During story time, use scaffolding techniques to support your child’s emerging literacy skills. Point out letters, label the pictures, ask your child questions about what is happening or encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next or even after the book ends. Let your child’s responses guide the conversation.

Learning Through Music: Fine Motor Skills

Do you remember when we actually called someone on a cell phone? Ah, those primitive years! Then texting entered the scene. Many of us watched in amazement as those of a certain age moved their fingers at an alarming rate while we struggled to text even one word on the tiniest of keyboards. Our finger muscles and fine motor skills certainly got a workout as we learned this new skill.

Children also need to learn how to use and coordinate their finger, hand, and wrist muscles—not for texting—but for reaching, grasping, and more. In Kindermusik class each week, we include many activities that support your child’s fine motor skills development. Wiggling fluffy chicks in a “Ten Egg” finger play or striking the resonator bars on “Sweetly Swings the Donkey” helps your child learn to coordinate hand, finger, and wrist movements that support fine motor control and precision. The skills practiced in class and at home build the foundation your child needs for buttoning buttons, zipping zippers, tying shoes, using scissors, and even writing. Texting will come later. Much later.

Everyday connection: Let your fingers do the walking. Finger plays are great activities to do together anywhere. Waiting at the doctor, grocery shopping, restaurants, or even at bedtime. Teach your favorite to your child or pick one from class. 

Many Thanks for Culture Days – Celebrating the Arts!

What a terrific class we just had, celebrating the Canada wide Culture Days event! Local families with children under age 7 from Port Credit joined us at Sing Music Studio to participate in a fun filled music and movement class to celebrate the event! There was singing, lots of movement, instruments, laughing and learning for both parents and kids. And was it ever fun! I’m lucky to say I really do love what I do! I adore meeting new children and families and sharing my passion for music with them – what better time to do that than during Culture Days!

So thanks for participating with me today! And thanks to Culture Days for creating such a wonderful weekend of arts celebration! I’m really looking forward to continuing to share my passion for music and music education with more new and familiar children and families this coming week as our new Kindermusik classes begin!

Spotlight on Move & Groove for School Aged Kids

Lesson Focus: Musical Patterning

If young children ruled the world, daily life would follow a predictable AB pattern: Play, Eat, Play, Eat, Play, Eat. However, even world leaders need to sleep, take a potty break, and brush teeth. So, as a parent, you add a few more of those things to your child’s daily routine, creating a pattern that works for your family.

In Kindermusik, we lead children to experience patterns through movement, listening, and playing instruments. When we step, step, step, stop through the rainforest or ta, ta, ta, rest with rhythm sticks, your child is learning rhythm patterns (quarter note, quarter note, quarter note, rest), a basic musical concept.  Rhythm patterns are combinations of long and short sounds and silences. Your child’s whole body involvement with patterning not only lays an early foundation for reading music but also for math and literacy…and maybe even world leadership one day!

Everyday connection: DO play with your food. Give your child two small snacks, such as pretzels and blueberries. Make patterns with the food and then sing or clap it together. Add a third item as a “rest.” Example: pretzel (hand clap), pretzel (hand clap), blueberry (wave), cracker (shh!). Enjoy eating the patterns you make together.

Learning through Music: Steady Beat

Spotlight on Learning: Laugh and Learn for Preschoolers

Lesson Focus: Steady Beat

Do you remember the first time you listened to your child’s heartbeat? Hearing that steady gagon-gagon-gagon-gagon probably made your own heart skip a beat or two (or three or four!). As an infant, hearing the steady beat of your heart coupled with the feeling of being swayed back and forth could lull your child to sleep…usually!

In music, the most fundamental property is beat—the underlying, unchanging, repeating pulse. For your child, feeling and moving to a steady beat develops a sense of time and the ability to organize and coordinate movements within time. Each week in Kindermusik class, we develop your child’s awareness of beat when we greet everyone with a steady beat motion, drum, march along with Liberty wagon, play together with zig zag blocks, or move together on the Merry Go Round. We know your child will use this same sense of steady beat for walking, running, riding a bike, cutting with scissors, and even reading!
Everyday connection: And the beat goes on! Steady beat occurs everywhere. Take turns naming things with steady beats and those without. Try this at home and in the car!

Improved Kindermusik Classes and New Digital Materials!

Check it out! We’ve gone digital!

You might notice a few changes to our curriculum here this year at Sing Music Studio. If you visit our ABC Music & Me page, instead of seeing the usual monthly themed units, you’ll now see Kindermusik Wiggle & Grow for Toddlers, Laugh & Learn for Preschoolers and Move & Groove for School Aged. You’ll also see an additional class, Laugh & Learn for Families on our Family Time page. The good news is, these programs are still the same fun and educational monthly themed music classes. The great news is they’ve been revamped to be even better with additional content and longer class times!

All classes are now 45 minutes and Move & Groove now includes sharing time during the last 15 minutes of the class. This is a pretty important aspect that was missing previously as you, the parent, are the most important teacher for your child. So, we want to make sure you know what’s going on in class and have the tools to engage in music activities at home with your child as well.

Which leads us to the new home materials – Kindermusik has gone digital! Check out the video to discover all about these wonderful new digital materials. In addition to the digital materials, each child will receive a monthly instrument – previously it was a bi-monthly instrument – so that’s another improvement.

Not only are we excited about the great new curricula and materials improvements, we’re also trying to make life even easier for you by offering these classes the same way we do our lessons at Sing Music Studio. All you need to do is register once and your spot is saved for the whole school year! So no more monthly scrambling to register at the last minute. And it’s easy to change classes at any time! Plus with the addition of our new online enrollment system – all your family information is saved so you don’t have to re-enter anything next year unless you move or have a new baby!

We’re so pleased to be bringing you such positive and time saving new benefits and features and can’t wait to see you in our new Kindermusik programs!

Congrats to our Draw Winner!

Congratulations to Chiara and Marcus for winning our draw for free tuition!

Marcus has been attending Kindermusik classes since the summer of 2011, beginning in the baby classes. Now Marcus has graduated into the next level, attending our toddler programs. Marcus and Chiara love kindermusik so much that they come twice a week to different toddler classes! So, it seems pretty fitting that Marcus was drawn as the winner of our June draw for fall tuition.

Marcus definitely marches to the beat of his own drum in kindermusik – illustrating how their are many different ways to participate and no one “right” way. Marcus is a mover and a shaker, as many toddlers are, and prefers to be up and dancing when we’re sitting and sitting when we’re dancing! Lol! But he is really taking it all in – no matter how he participates. He’s very focused when we do listening activities and has lots to comment on during story time. And the second I start to play the guitar, Marcus is up front and centre, bopping to the tunes as if he’s front row centre at a concert! It’s evident that Marcus loves music! I can’t wait to see how Marcus grows and changes with music as he gets older.

So, once again, congratulations to Chiara and Marcus! And I’ll see you both in Kindermusik!