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 25

The many benefits of early childhood music

Each week I prepare classes for your child to enjoy!  There is a plan.  There is fun!  But beyond the fun aspect, have you ever wondered to yourself, "what is my child getting out of Kindermusik?"

That is a question I could explore at length, but here are a few of the most foundational benefits of Kindermusik - and in particular, staying in Kindermusik over the long term:

Children exposed to GREAT music learn to appreciate the finer aspects of complex sounds, engaging both the analytical mind and creative areas of the brain.

One of the strongest pulls of music is towards the universal connectedness it gives us.  People all around the world make music, love music, and bond over engaging in it together.  Some dance to it, some sing along with it, some listen to it, and some pick up an instrument and make music.  It can be enjoyed individually or as a group, but ultimately it is a gift of self-expression from one person to another.  Music gives people a voice for things sometimes too difficult to say.

Kindermusik classes help your child develop a sense of self control.  Our "Stop hands", are an excellent way of empowering our children to do something different "right now".  Being in control of our physical movements is self-rewarding to young children.

Learning to be reflective on the needs of those around us is a social skill that serves not only the individual, but our sense of community and belongingness.  Taking turns, watching that we are "being kind to our neighbours" are concepts best learned in context with other people.  For example, sometimes it is our turn to play an instrument, sometimes we need to let others have a turn.  Experiencing the rewards of turn taking is a great benefit of group classes.  In more advanced classes, children learn how when they listen to the parts other children are playing and blend their own voicing with others' , wonderful harmonies happen!

Finger plays are an excellent way of strengthening fine motor skills.  Fine motor skills are necessary for learning to use a pencil to write, typing out essays for school work,  buttoning up shirts, and tying shoe laces.

Moving our bodies throughout the space in the room provides vestibular stimulation.  Not only do we crave movement, our bodies use movement to help our brains sort through the other stimulation that comes to our brain every moment of the day.  Moving in a rocking, swaying, expressive way provides visual stimulation, a creative outlet, comfort, and relaxation.  And the pretend play of rocking our stuffies engages their sense of nurturing, too!

Kindermusik classes are not only fun, but they are also age-appropriate in their approach to laying a STRONG foundation of musical literacy.  Keeping a steady beat to an external sound source, feeling the difference between short and long sounds, being responsive in various degrees of volume, and eventually being able to read not only rhythm patterns, but pitch as well are all elements of music making that are necessary for the more complex aspects of playing in bands or ensembles later in life.  Even if your child does not grow up to be a professional musician, he or she will have enough skills to enhance their life experience through a deeper appreciation of how music is made and it's relevance to celebrations and self-expression.

With all these benefits (and so many more that reasonable space does not allow) music lessons have always been an essential part of my children's education.  I hope yours, too!  There is not a single activity out there that provides as much for your child's overall development as a person as music does - a bold statement, but true!

Sunday, November 18

Who are you?

When I brought my first-born home from the hospital it was a warm May morning.  I remember the sense of joy and fear mixed together, thinking, "what on earth am I doing?  I don't know what to do with a baby?  What if he is crying and I don't know what to do?  How do I find out what he needs?"

Living through a few months of colic and trying to figure out how to calm an evening-fussy boy was a challenge - but we learned a little of who he was and what would bring him relief.  But there were pleasant surprises, too.  In the days of trying to baby-proof the house, if we told him ONCE not to touch something - that was all he needed.  Never touched it again!!  Challenges and gifts wrapped up together in one little boy

Then baby number two came and I wondered how I would manage with 2 young ones.  What if they are both needing me at the same time?  What if I don't ever get to sleep again?  What if son number two doesn't listen like son number one? (And he didn't.)

In time, we figured that out, too.  I figured that our second son was an early morning person, while our first son was geared to more evening time activity and sleeping in til much later.  We also found out that our second son was much more naturally outgoing.  Each child completely different.

Our daughter came a couple of years later, and we discovered her personality was (not shockingly) different from her brothers.  She loved to talk.  She loved fashion.  She loved to play in the toilet (she is completely horrified at that now, by the way)!  Parenting our little girl was both a joy and a new learning experience.

Even though my husband and I are the same people we always are, we have developed a different relationship with each of our children.  Each person brings a set of attributes to the developing relationship, and all those factors merge together to create a unique personal connection - a connection that  changes over time, depending on the growth of each person.  All that to say, as we parent our children, we can expect that our best relationship will come with each child as we ackowledge that they are growing and maturing, and need something different from us over the years.  And they need us to lead the way to better connection by carefully watching to see what and where their hearts are headed.

The same is true with teaching.  Finding a child's natural curiosity and learning style and teaching to that will bring out learning moments that are unique.
Some children are very tentative and having the familiar security of having a parent there is a constant source of strength and reassurance.
Other children like to explore and have freedom to move out on their own, knowing that Mom and Dad will be there when they need them.
Some children like to learn while on the move.
Some like to stay focussed with quiet, organized activities.
Each style is fine.  Just different and important to that child.

When you are in the classroom, or in your home, or out in the bigger world of your community, make it your mission to find out who your child is.  Your relationship with your child will be greatly enhanced not only by finding out who they are and what is important to them, but also how your natural style can be adapted to create a stronger connection with them.  Is that a tall order?  Sometimes.  But being connected with your child is worth the leadership effort that it is!