Welcome to my Kindermusik space...

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

Sunday, November 27

Getting ready for Christmas

I know there are others of you out there.  People who do not have their Christmas shopping done and wrapped.  People who haven't decorated their homes yet.  People who haven't even thought about Christmas baking yet.

Part of me starts to get concerned when I am reading on Facebook or talking in person to others, and finding out that lots of my friends are  already finished with Christmas preparations.

Not me.  Not even started.

If you don't count the one banner that I hung the other day.  Yup - I pulled off one picture from the wall and put up a fabric banner that I bought in a Christmas store in Alaska  this summer.

It's such a BIG task - I've been putting it off.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Christmas, but my kids are all past the excitement of helping to set up the tree, and want it just done.  Secretly, part of me would like to just wake up and have it done, too :)

But then I don't get the joy of being nostalgic as I look at all the ornaments.  The memories of Christmases gone by as I go through the kids' collections, and student gifts over the years.  OK, now that I'm thinking about it...what would it hurt to bring up a box or two tomorrow?  When I started blogging tonight I was thinking that I'd wait til next weekend, but maybe it's time to dive right in and turn up the Christmas tunes.


Anyone else game to take it one small step at a time?

Sunday, November 20

Lessons learned in the gym

Life has so many cross-over learning points.  A lesson learned in one area of our lives so quickly has a corresponding point to be made in another area.  This became so obvious to me in the gym the other day.

A few months ago I joined a local gym and have been going a LOT.  Not bragging.  Just saying.  But I do get so anxious for results.  The results they show on TV are not nearly as quickly played out in real-life, I find.  17 weeks in, though, I am starting to notice changes.

While on the machines the other day I was thinking that although the results aren't shown after each day's efforts, there is a cumulative effect of being in a health-oriented, supportive environment where I can put one more piece of the pattern together.   If I just showed up once a week, or came for 6 weeks then took a few months off, then came back, the total effect would not nearly be the same.  Being health-conscious is a lifelong pursuit and for me, and is so much easier in community.

The same cumulative effect holds true for Kindermusik classes.  There is a difference for families who come semester after semester, than for families who take a term, then take time off.  When we do repeated activities, our brain patterning changes and we start to experience information in new ways.  Not only do we form new habits, we actually change the way we process information.

It is SO important to re-inforce information.  Not only do we do this in the week to week activities in a given semester, building on introduced concepts in new and interesting, engaging ways, but we also reinforce and expand ideas over time from one semester to the next.  Growing brains need the reinforcement of repetition and creative adjustments to truly grasp concecpts and assimilate them into action patterns.

Younger children, in particular, need to have many reinforcements as the neural connections in their brain are still forming.  Experiences that a person has in life are all stored away in their cognitive processing center, providing a framework for sorting through future experiences.  Children, however, have less cumulative experience to draw on, and the repetition of an activity is essential to strengthen the learning.

As you are considering what to do next semester, I encourage you to continue with Kindermusik. Or maybe you are contemplating joining us for the first time.   Not only are you going to experience a happy and supportive musical environment for you and your child, but you are establishing a strong framework for a lifetime of musical expression - a lifetime where musical expression is as normal as breathing!

Sunday, November 13

Slowing down on an overcast day

It's been a couple of days of gray skies and snowy/wet weather.
Not snow-to-stay weather.
Just snow and melt weather.
Weather that makes you want to stay indoors, while the outdoors takes a break.

Makes me want to take a break, too, from
A full schedule both professionally
and personally.
Classes to teach, computer stuff to do...

...the weather makes me want to slow down.
Put my feet up and let my eyes fall shut.

Not such a bad idea.

Been reminded lately about living life consciously.  Making a point to be inspired.  Taking time to rest the body.  Reading a good book.  Nourishing our inner spirit.

A rested body supports the soul.  An inspired mind challenges the spirit.  A full spirit leads to making better choices for the body.

I LOVE Sundays!
Rest for the body - just restorative walks
The best music all week - feeding spirit and soul
Meeting with friends who have become family
Time to recharge for the great week ahead.

Monday, November 7

When your expectations don't match your child's needs

Two minutes to class time.  On your way up to the classroom and your child who has been excitedly talking about class all week, suddenly develops a strong affection for Mom's legs.  No eye contact with classmates - certainly not the teacher.  Hmmm....

Or perhaps your child is happy to come to class, but they prefer to watch activities than to actively participate.  When the sticks are presented for exploration, your child likes to hold them in their hands and then watch and see what others do with them.

Has your baby ever fallen asleep during class, or your older child been hesitant to join in?

All these responses are quite normal, even if they throw Mom's expectation level for a loop.  Some children like to learn by watching others and then explore the ideas in the comfort of their own home.  Over time, parents notice a growing confidence in interpersonal interaction and their child ventures out into the hub of activity.  Opportunity to explore in an accepting, encouraging environment invites children to move beyond their current action paradigm and explore new ways of engagement - but it does take time.  I've also seen parents gently guide their children towards exploring out of their comfort zone by being their to provide reassurance as they move outwardly together - such as in going to the instrument boxes together to retrieve or put back instruments.

Regarding sleepy babies:  again, this is quite normal.  Babies are wanting to gather information about their world, but it is a journey that takes a lot of energy.  Singing, dancing, insrument play, and interpersonal interaction are all activities that can make a baby tired.  And depending on where they are at in their sleep/waking/eating cycle, it may be more or less challenging to last the whole class without sleep.  The good news is that falling asleep in class is totally fine.  If they are tired, they should sleep.  A large percentage of the class is geared towards equipping the parents with ideas for home music making and understanding their baby's development.

It's hard to let go of parental expectations and let our children explore at their own pace.  But you will find that letting them learn in their own way has way less stress on families, than trying to make them learn in your favourite or dominant style.  There is more than one successful way to learn  - ask me about how Kindermusik utilizes multiple learning styles for maximum effectiveness.