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.
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!
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.
Spotlight on Wiggle & Grow for Toddlers: How Do You Feel? (June Unit)
As a parent, some things are worth repeating—the first time you hold your baby, your child’s first laugh or first few steps, watching your child make a new friend, and even a random snuggle on a rainy day. Other moments are best left in the past—your child’s first bout with croup (or an ear infection or a stomach bug!), the, um, diaper incident that happened on a quick trip to the store, and yes, even the 95threading of your child’s favorite book. (Good riddance Goodnight Moon, indeed!)
However, from a child development standpoint, reading that same book over and over again is actually a good thing. Few things build your child’s brain and open opportunities for learning more than consistent repetition of healthy activities and experiences. Every new activity your child participates in makes a new neural pathway in your child’s brain. Each time that experience is repeated, the neural pathway (learning!) is strengthened. So, every week in Kindermusik class, we intentionally repeat some of the same activities from previous weeks and also give you the music and resources to repeat them at home. It’s how your child learns best!
Everyday connection: Practice makes perfect learning. Listen to the music from class and do the activities together at home. Repeat. Listen to the music from class and do the activities together at home. Repeat.
Spotlight on Laugh & Learn for Families: Splash (June Unit)
To parents of young children, a night out at the movies can seem like a vacation and adds a little bit of variety to days often noted by routine. (And, no, the latest animated feature does NOT count as a night out!) On the other hand, staying in and watching a re-run of a favorite sitcom when your child (finally!) falls asleep can provide a sense of comfort. Plus, you often catch a joke or two that you missed the first time. Truth be told, we all need a little but of variety and repetition in our lives—and for your child, both actually support early learning!
Children need a variety of new experiences to help lay the groundwork for learning, but a one-time event does not make a lasting impression. Every new activity your child actively participates in makes a new neural pathway in the brain. Each time that activity is repeated that connection grows stronger. So, from week to week in class, we include an age-appropriate mixture of both new and familiar activities to help make the learning last and help children boost skills and gain confidence in their abilities. Plus, we give you the tools to repeat all of the activities at home—or on the go—so the learning continues throughout the week!
Everyday Connection: Repeat after me. The next time your child asks you to read the same book again and again or put the same song on repeat just say “yes!” Each new reading or listen can reveal something new to your child. Plus, now you know the reason behind the request!
Spotlight on Wiggle & Grow for Toddlers: Down on the Ground (May Unit)
Do you remember your child’s first few words? Although Webster’s Dictionary didn’t include definitions for “da,” “ba-ba,” or “la,” you knew—without a doubt—your little one said daddy, bye, and mommy. (Or, something along those lines!) Now, as a toddler, you may hear your child deliberately making up silly sounding words and giggling profusely. I mean, seriously, blibber-blobber, really is funny! Laughing together over nonsense words supports your child’s growing sense of humor!
In Kindermusik, we know that nonsense words also support your child’s early language and literacy development. While your child may laugh at the silliness of nonsense words from class like “Fiddle-dee-dee” or “fuzzy wuzzy,” your child is also practicing in the development of specific oral motor skills that create vowels, consonants, or cluster sounds. Nonsense words often employ alliteration and rhyme, which fosters phonemic awareness or the understanding that words are made up of small speech sounds or phonemes. So, blibber-blobber or fiddle-dee-dee away!
Everyday Connection: Call the Doctor. Dr. Seuss made a living making up nonsense words like wocket, grickle-grass, and zizzer-zazzer-zuzz. Read some Dr. Seuss this week and add some new nonsense words to your family’s vocabulary.
Spotlight on Move & Groove for School Aged Kids: Drums, Drums, Drums (April/May unit)
Do you remember taking spelling tests as a child? Sitting at your desk, listening intently as your teacher said a word, and then trying to visualize what the word looked like while also attempting to write it on your paper or (gasp!) spell it out loud in front of the whole class? Ugh! For English speakers, that silent “e” caught many of us off guard. You probably didn’t realize it at the time but listening, identifying the word, and then writing the word down helped you become a better reader.
Although we don’t give spelling tests (or any tests, for that matter) in Kindermusik, we do give your child’s ears lots of musical practice in listening to rhythms, identifying what they hear, repeating them, and using rhythm cards to “write” the patterns down. We call this process rhythmic dictation. So, while we “ta ta ti-ti ta,” clap, pick out the right rhythm card, or play an instrument along with “Tepok Amai-amai,” your child gains practice in recognizing relationships between sounds and symbols, which supports your child’s budding musicianship and early literacy skills.
Everyday Connection: Are you copying me? Children love to be a copycat. Clap out a rhythm and let your child repeat it. Make each clapping rhythm more difficult than the last. Take turns being the copycat.
Becoming a parent means becoming a teacher—as in your child’s first and best teacher. But it also means becoming a student. Children teach us how to move and sound like a garbage truck, an airplane zooming in the sky, popcorn popping in the microwave, or even how to spin around in a circle faster than fast pretending to be a whirlpool. (Most of us need help learning how not to feel queasy after that one!)
Supporting your child’s expressive movement helps connect the outer world of movement and sound with the inner world of feelings and observations. In class each week, when we dance around the room in time to the music, reach for a star in the night, or spread our robin wings and fly in search of food, your child taps into a growing imagination and experiences support for early artistic expressions.
Everyday Connection: Take a Bird Bath. Expressive movement isn’t just for class. Tap into your child’s imagination during bath time. After feeding all those baby birds in class, your little robin needs a bath. How would a robin (gently) splash in the water, wash the dirt from feathers, or even fly around the room to dry off?