Welcome to my Kindermusik space...

A place to refresh your love of music, your wonder in children, and your peace in parenting well.

Friday, October 29

My Favourite Thing

Just mentioning the words "The Sound of Music" brings a smile to so many faces. I sat down last night to watch the Oprah special of the reunion of the original cast and was just enjoying a great hour of memories. Like many of you, I'm sure I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've watched that show!

Today as I was talking about it with friends, we smiled as we agreed with Oprah's comment about how we've all imagined ourselves spinning in the open fields of Austria as Julie Andrews does in the opening scenes...

"The hills are alive - with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years..."

Funny but I could sit here and type out all the words without even checking a score, I've sung them so many times. Even now a big smile is on my face as I mentally think through the words and imagine the movie scenes.

I think I was about 6 when I saw it in the movie theatre with my mom for the first time. I watched it as a teenager on TV, sang the songs in music festivals, watched it every Christmas for years, and have watched it with my children all snuggled up in our pyjamas on the couch.

And there are so many favourite scenes (Maria singing "I have confidence", the stormy "Favorite things" dance, the scene in the gazebo with Maria and the Captain where they have just gotten engaged and she sings "somewhere in my youth or childhood - I must have done something good..." and they kiss. Aaahhh. So lovely.) Watching that movie just wants a person to have a musical family, true?

I am openly sentimental about this show. Guilty. But what surprised me last night is that as I was watching it, all three of my kids stopped and watched it, too. Musical memories...they are long lasting. And when they are formed with the sweet spot of family connection, they remain a golden moment of joy for a lifetime!

Tuesday, October 26

Drink lots of tea and stop talking

By all accounts this should be a lovely day. Fresh snow on the ground...my dog sleeping on the couch while I make a chocolate birthday cake for my son. All is quiet in the home and it feels like I should have a fire on. It's the middle of the afternoon, though, and I still have my pyjamas on - it's a day to be still and not teach. Yes, it's back to my semi-annual laryngitis.

In the words of Eeyore..."oh bother".

I would so much rather be back at my happy place (that's code for the classroom), but in the spirit of not sharing whatever it is I'm fighting...I'll keep myself sequestered.

Hope to see you all soon!

Monday, October 18

Getting Smarter Day by Day

One child and two rhythm sticks can equal a great big bunch of improv! Especially when you have an excited cheering section, ready to encourage with modelling and expansion we call "scaffolding". Scaffolding happens when mom or dad observes what the child is already doing and encourages them to try those actions in expanded ways. For example, if your child likes to wiggle the sticks, you could suggest wiggling them as the "rabbit ears" or "kitty whiskers" that we've seen happen in class.

Or how about tickling your feet with them, or mom's feet, for that matter!

Hiding them in your pants is over-the-top funny when you are two! The more options, the better, really. Creativity is a learned concept. As we model out-of-the-box options for our children in pretend play, they are starting to gather ideas from which to draw on later. Stimulating new learning pathways in one area of interest actually makes physical connections in their brain, making new creative endeavors next time easier and faster. Even if the new creative option has nothing to do with the previous project.

Creativity is a skill that is built up through opportunity and practise. So if you don't have rhythm sticks at home, get out a couple of spoons to play along with your Kindermusik CD's.

And bring your new wild and crazy ideas to class to share with the rest of us!

Saturday, October 9

Counting blessings

On Thanksgiving weekend, it seems appropriate to think of

things we are thankful for.

Without making it an exhaustive list, here are a few of mine...

and in no particular order : )

lilies - my favorite flower

warm fall weather

my dog sleeping by my side

children who tap my back during music play-along

dinner ready when I come home

a handy husband

extra hugs at the end of class

watching my daughter do ballet

friends who call

homemade pictures for the class bulletin board

pumpkin pie and real whipped cream

walks at night with my son

piano music
a job I LOVE and find SO meaningful

Kindermusik families who have become friends


God, who loves us all

Want to take the first step of starting your own list?

Sunday, October 3

So Happy Together

Let's talk about bonding through music. My son, Colson, has a friend, Kent, who also really enjoys music. They have known each other for a lot of years and share a lot of interests. Making music is one of them. Above is a picture of the two of them at a band event last year where they got to enjoy some craziness together on the keyboard. (Colson is in the blue sweater)

Today was my turn. Not only do I teach music Monday to Saturday, but I'm involved in music at my church, too. On weeks when I'm not singing in the choir, I help out on the synthesizer - usually once a month. Got a call from one of our music pastors at church this past week asking if I'd play synth while Colson was on piano.


It was so amazing to be playing together this morning with my son and some other fantastically talented musicians! The drummer this morning asked me while we were rehearsing if it was kind of like being Wayne Gretzky and his Dad on the ice...big smile...

Happy, happy day.

When we do our circle dances at Kindermusik,
or play instruments together,
or sing out the children's names during our Hello songs,
not only are we nurturing musical skills,
we are developing a musical community
where people feel like they belong
and are part of something bigger than ourselves.

A place to belong and matter. No wonder we like to hug at the end of class.

Friday, October 1

What's the big deal about "steady beat"?

We spend a lot of time in class playing with the steady beat.

We dance to it,
pat to it,
clap our hands to it,
step to it,
rock to it,
wave to it,
speak it,
sing it,
and we get out instruments and think of creative ways to play along to it.

It is one of the most foundational aspects of making music. Being able to keep a steady beat allows a person to play in ensemble with others and interpret music as it was intended.

Every baby is born with an awareness of steady beat (thanks to mom's heartbeat), but it takes some exposure and being able to practise it, to be able to keep a steady beat with, and without, an external sound source. A stong sense of steady beat helps your child co-ordinate their movements. As your baby internalizes the steady beat you will see it evidenced in their co-ordinated movements of rocking, patting, even walking.

Additionally, as your baby grows into toddlerhood, a growing sense of steady beat helps with co-ordinating movements with timing, such as bouncing and catching a ball. Beyond even the physical movements, steady beat helps with your child's communication as they learn the rhythm of language. Speaking in smooth cadence is a key factor in effective communication. Tests have shown, too, that children with steady beat internalization are better readers and more successfull in math skills.

So as you are tapping your rhythm sticks this week, remember that your modelling is going a loooong way today. Your child is building bridges to stronger communication skills, strengthening eye-hand co-ordination, increasing their sense of group belongingness, and ...having FUN!