Children’s Book Review: Music Is…

Children's Book Review

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With its bright, colorful cover, Music Is…, wonderful board book, grabs your attention even before you even open it and read it. In many ways, it is a simple book with very few words on each page, but it is a wonderful teaching book – the perfect at-home library complement to the concepts children are learning and the musical styles they are being exposed to in Kindermusik class.

Each two-page spread is a contrast, which is perfect because young children learn best in contrasts. So just like Kindermusik introduces contrasting musical concepts and styles in class, Music Is… introduces contrasting concepts, moods, and styles, one concept per page, making it easy for young children to begin to grasp and for older children and adults to enjoy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music is lo-fi and high-fi[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It teaches concepts such as…

music is quiet
music is LOUD

music is sad
music is happy

music is lo-fi
music is hi-fi
a capella
instrumental
acoustic
electric

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The really lovely thing is that as the book is teaching music concepts, it is also developing a basic music vocabulary for parents and children alike.  As the story unfolds, it is delightful to see children of all ethnic backgrounds making music and also playing with music.  There are instruments and music makers on every page.

It’s an entertaining read-aloud for younger children and an engaging conversation starter for older children.  For the sake of the non-musical adult, there’s even a basic glossary of musical terms on the very last page.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music is one music is many[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The simple story line is enhanced by whimsical and interesting illustrations that explain what music is and explore how music makes us feel. It’s the kind of fun, feel-good story book you don’t mind reading over and over again…which is a good thing since it’s sure to become a family favorite![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At the end, the author brings it all together in this profoundly beautiful conclusion:

music is old
music is new
music is for everyone
music is for you

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music Is… by author Brandon Stosuy and illustrator Amy Martin can be found at your favorite local book seller or online in both physical and digital formats.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, has been a happy advocate for the benefits of music for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reunited: A Short Film About Music and the Human Spirit

spirit

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Friends, I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll continue to say it: music is magic. Below, you’ll find a short, five-minute film about Edward Hardy, a retiree in Somerset, England, and Sam Kinsella, a young man looking for a few extra bucks. Sam’s search lead him to Mellifont Abbey, a residential care facility in Somerset and the position of activities coordinator. What happened next was nothing short of amazing, a word that gets tossed around a bit too casually for my taste. But for Sam and Mr. Hardy, no other word will do. Together, they discovered how music can heal the spirit.

Mr. Hardy had been suffering from dementia for some time. He would pound on the floor and call for help for no reason. His interaction with others was limited and strained. He was depressed and detached.

Sam eventually disclosed to Mr. Hardy that he was part of a band in Somerset. This bit of information seemed to pique Mr. Hardy’s interest. He told Sam that he played piano for years.

This gave Sam an idea. He had a keyboard brought in for Mr. Hardy. This was the beginning of a new light in the 93 year-old’s life. To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Hardy came out of his shell and played for everyone.

But Sam wasn’t done.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Spirit
Mr. Hardy plays with former bandmates.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

We’re Getting the Band Back Together!

Sam decided to seek out some local musicians so Mr. Hardy could make music with a group again. People came out of the woodwork to make music with Mr. Hardy. To Sam’s surprise, among them were some of the original members of Mr. Hardy’s band. They gladly came out to Mellifont Abbey for a jam session. You’ll see Mr. Hardy make music with them in the film, and the obvious joy on his face when he does.

This lead to the idea of having the newly reformed group give a concert at Mellifont. This not only brought joy to Mr. Hardy, but to the other residents as well.

Mr. Hardy’s story was featured on the BBC and other news sites across the UK. Music, that magical art form, is now a more regular part of life at Mellifont Abbey. And Mr. Hardy, he found a little bit of himself that was lost.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/Tp6c_oG1SBk”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1500644816485{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ben Folds, the National Symphony Orchestra, and Magic: Improvisation Unpacked

Improvisation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You may have recently watched a viral video of Ben Folds improvising a work with the National Symphony Orchestra. It’s rather impressive and demonstrates a host of skill sets, not just by Ben, but by the entire orchestra. To create something new on the  spot like this takes knowledge and talent. While Ben is calling the shots, it’s a team effort. These musicians have put in a lifetime of practice to get to this level. Let’s unpack what you are seeing in this short video; there is A LOT going on.


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Improvisation
Ben Folds doing what he does best – singing his head off!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

 Selecting Home Base

The very first thing that is selected is a key center. This is basically picking the musical neighborhood in which all the musicians will play. All basic, western musical keys consist of a set of seven notes. You might be familiar with the song from The Sound of Music, Do Re Mi” in which Julie Andrews lays out the pattern for a major scale – Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti and Do is repeated at the top. You can start on any note on the piano and sing this pattern. The easiest way to find it on the piano is to play C to C on all white notes – that’s the key of C Major. The audience selects a minor. Minor keys are a slightly different pattern. If you were to play A to A on the piano using all white notes, you’d get the a minor scale. With the key selected, the musicians know to hang out in the musical neighborhood of a minor. If they were artists, they might agree upon the same color palette.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tempo

The next choice the audience makes for Ben and the NSO is the general tempo. Tempo can really affect the mood of a piece of music. Give the choice of a ballad (generally slow) or something upbeat, the audience (nearly unanimously) selects upbeat, indicating a faster speed.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Text

Ben is a song writer, so they needed a text. The audience is asked to find an interesting bit of text from the evening’s program booklet.

The key, tempo, and text selections can be seen below.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226328589″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Magic Starts – with a Joke

Ben sits at the keyboard and readies himself to create something entirely new. This is amazing when it happens by yourself as a composer – when you find that right sound and jot it down on staff paper or on the computer. It’s another level of awesomeness when you do it with 50 other people in real time. Be fore he gets started, he makes a wonderful musical joke, invoking Beethoven. He asks, “It has to be something completely new, right?” Without missing a beat, he mimics (although incorrectly – but we’ll forgive him) the main motive of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

After creating a grove, Ben moves on to a basic melody with the text. He then starts assigning parts to the various sections of the orchestra, starting with the cellos. He instructs them to play “arco,” or with the bow rather than plucking the strings with the fingers. He plays a pattern using the notes A, E, and the next octave B. Without telling the cellos what the notes are, or writing out the rhythms, the cellos nail it. This is exactly what happens in a Kindermusik class when children learn new songs by ear. He further instructs them to alter the pattern on the second iteration. “Just one on the second one.” He then asks for the same pattern at a different pitch level, creating a different harmony. He then asks for a low C and a then a low E, both held for four counts. Note that everyone knows what time signature he’s in just by listening – four beats to the measure. Here’s the creation of he cello line:[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226342028″][blockquote cite=”Ben Folds”]”It takes a second to create a whole song.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Winds – Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, and Basson

Next, Ben moves on to the reed section and suggests a “one size fits all” accompaniment figure for them. he then, like composers do ALL THE TIME while composing (one of my teachers used to say that there is no good writing, only good rewriting), decides to just give a harmony figure to the clarinets. You’ll note he uses the term “concert” G and E. This is too complicated to explain in detail, but some instruments, clarinets among them, transpose. This means that they might play a written A, but it sounds a “concert” G. Don’t worry about it too much!

So – he asks the clarinets to pick a pitch – E or G – and rock back and forth to that pitches lower neighbor on fast moving notes. It sound like a little flutter. He puts it together with the cellos and decides to make a small change – joking with the audience that it “takes a second to create a whole song.” On the fly, Ben is fitting the pieces together as he creates them. Take a listen:[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226345129″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Violins,Violas, and the Rest

Moving on to the rest of strings, he improvises parts for both the first and second violins – slow moving notes in harmony. Not wanting to leave the violas out in the rain, he gives them what he calls a “little timing shizzle.” He gives them what is best described as a rhythmic ostinato – a pattern that repeats over and over. It’s also syncopated, meaning it happens on the off beat. You’ll feel it.

He then turns to the double basses and says “You know what you must do.” Their repeated quarter note figures on the lowest note of the harmony are sort of a bass line trope and why the audience (and the basses) laugh.

Ben then asks the drummer to do his thing, relying on his musical instinct. He asks for a trumpet solo and…ta-da…the under pinnings of a new song are created.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226350128″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Final Product

And with that, away they go. You’ll note in the final video that some instruments Ben never mentioned play – the horns in F are an example. These are top shelf artists. They know how to join the fun with the information Ben has provided.

He set out to create something new in ten minutes, and that’s exactly what he did. Just shy of the ten minute mark he completes his instructions and the conductor counts everyone in. Ben riffs a melody on text from the program book and eventually gets to the selected text. The act of creation isn’t complete until the music is delivered to an audience. The fun part about this compositional process? The audience was there to see it unfold before hearing the final product. That mad it even more special.

Listen to the end result – its a lot of fun to experience the new song after watching it be built from nothing by a room full of classical musicians, lead by one of the most talented singer-songwriters of our time.

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226351404″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ben demonstrates the joys of creating original music and improvisation, and he does so with four chords, a room full of incredibly talented orchestral players, and the words from a program book. The truth is, with just a little bit of knowledge, anyone can write a song, and it expresses who you are in a way that mere words just can’t. I’ve taught lots of students over the years, and one of my most special memories is teaching a brother and sister (ages 8 and 11) how to write a song during a summer program. We had so much fun coming up with words and a melody. It was rewarding for all of us.

Writing music is similar to building a house. In the end, you’ve created something. But things crumble. A song lasts forever as long as there’s someone around to sing it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Everyone Can Sing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A recent article, written by Northwestern music education professor, Steven M. Demorest, over at The Conversation, an “independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public,” explored the idea of musical talent.

The most telling fact, one that I have been aware of for most of my career as a choral conductor, is that adults who consider themselves unmusical were often told that they couldn’t sing as children. Prof. Demorest relates part of the story of Sing, an Oscar-winning short film from Hungary about a girl named Zsófi.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Sing tells the story of young Zsófi, who joins a renowned children’s choir at her elementary school where “everyone is welcome.”

Soon after joining, Zsófi is told by her teacher Erika not to sing, but only mouth the words. On the face of it, she accepts her teacher’s request stoically. But later in the movie, her anguish and pain become obvious, when she reluctantly tells her best friend what happened.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Dr. Steven Demorest
Dr. Steven Demorest

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Our culture has become obsessed with the idea of “talent.” The concept that making music is reserved for the revered few is promoted by shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice. I don’t want to take away from the entertainment value of these shows – the people that perform on them are certainly gifted. But the reality is this: every child is born a natural musician. They sing and dance and make music from the very beginning. They are surrounded by music – so – they respond by mimicking what they hear. If this inherent ability is fostered the benefits are life-changing.[/vc_column_text][blockquote cite=”Dr. Steven Demorest, Northwestern University”]”…indeed every child has musical ability that can be developed into a satisfying and lifelong relationship with music.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Negative feedback can come from many different places, especially peers. Sadly, it can also come from music educators and even parents. This has a lasting effect on self-esteem and the desire to make music, especially singing. Singing is an intensely personal activity. It’s just you – no external instrument. You can’t put the instrument down and ignore it. You carry it with you. When the singing voice is disparaged, it is very difficult to not allowed that disparagement have an impact on the entire self.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Combating the “Talent Mindset” with the “Growth Mindset”

Carol Dweck, psychologist, author, and professor, researches why and how people succeed. Here’s the main point of “Growth Mindset”:

Students who view their success as a result of hard work will persevere through challenges, while students who believe their success lies with some innate ability – like “talent” – are more likely to give up.

Watch Dr. Dweck’s TEDTalk below.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226460812″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]sing[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Encourage, Encourage, Encourage

So what can we do to get kids on board the train destined for a lifelong connection with music? The most important thing we can do is getting them started early. This is one of the reasons Kindermusik classes are open to newborn infants. To be surrounded by music from birth helps set the tone for that lifelong connection. As the child grows, immersed in musical experiences coupled with positive support of their musical activity from parents and educators, their confidence in music making will grow as well – and the host of social, emotional, and cognitive benefits music provides will be part of their life’s journey.

Dr. Demorest tells us that perhaps the most important impact on a child’s desire to continue to make music is having an example of music making in the home.

…if you are a parent, you could sing the music you loved growing up and not worry about how good you sound. Having an adult in the home committed to music and singing without shame may be the most powerful influence on a child. You could sing with your kids from the time they are little, sing with the radio, sing in the car or sing at the dinner table.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]sing[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Along with Dr. Demorest, I find the Hungarian title of Sing very telling. It’s Mindenki, which is Hungarian for…Everybody. It’s perfect, isn’t it? I firmly believe that music is for everybody, especially singing. And when you sing with others you are more likely to have empathy for them, to listen to them when they share their ideas. You become part of a community.

I always tell my students that the main reason we have a singing voice is to give it away to others. That’s certainly true, but for young children, the singing voice allows them to express their joy in a way words alone cannot. It can heal the spirit and free the mind.

Start ’em young and keep ’em singing. They’ll thank you for it later.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1500653314338{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Independence Day and the Music of the USA

Independence Day

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Happy Independence Day to those celebrating in the United States! Music has been with us from the beginning. Native peoples had their own music, used for ceremony and celebration. Settlers from Western Europe, mainly from the British Isles, the Netherlands, France, and Spain, brought with them a rich musical tapestry. Folk songs, tavern songs, and religious music from these cultures provided part of basis of an American musical sound. The music of the fields – songs of the slaves – were the bedrock of gospel, jazz, blues, and rock and roll, which were some of the first truly American original musical genres. Let’s learn a bit about American musical heritage!


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Folk Songs

Folk music of just about any culture is the musical language of its people. Often times, the rhythms and melodies are related to how people speak – the cadence of their speech patterns. What songs were popular in the late 1700s, right around the date of American independence? Here’s an example…Early One Morning, an English folk song that tells the tale of a young maiden forsaken by a young man.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGYdD3M6BH8″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here’s an early video recording of a Scottish folk song, The Four Marys, that found its way to Appalachia. It dates back to the middle of the 1700s. This recording is from 1966.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/mrPTrkpO6EQ?list=PL7C924A91D47257E1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tavern Songs

Our National Anthem actually uses the tune of an English drinking song, To Anacreon in Heaven, a tune written in the mid 1770s by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreon Society in London. Here is an ensemble at the University of Michigan performing the original work.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/3l-n64NWHS4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Songs of the Fields

Africans from a tremendously wide variety of ethnic groups were brought to the colonies against their will and were forced into slavery. They brought music with them, rich in polyrhythms (multiple rhythms at once) and syncopated rhythms (think Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones – lots of syncopation there). The percussive nature of this music, coupled with syncopation and call and response formats, would find its way into many popular forms of the late 1800s and the 1900s such as blues, jazz, gospel, and rock. Listen to Roll Jordan, Roll, taken from the movie, 12 Years a Slave. Clapping on the back beat (beats 2 and 4), the syncopation on the word “Jordan,” and the contrast between the solo voice and the full group are all typical of the genre. Most slave songs related stories from the Bible, especially those that dealt with freedom.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/7oFcFzJT7Tw”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Early American Hymns and the Sacred Harp

In the late 1700s and into the 1800s, early shape note singing was used in New England, and worked its way down to the south and out to the west. In 1844, a collection of tunes called The Sacred Harp was publishedGroups would gather together, without instruments, sit in sections in what is called the hollow square, with a leader in the center who calls the number of the tune to be sung. In recent years, Sacred Harp singing has experienced a resurgence. The tunes are characterized by even rhythms and are often based on the five note pentatonic scale (our normal scale has seven notes). Take a look at this mini-documentary on Sacred Harp singing.

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/YaLnG7vfVOc”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, and Rock and Roll

Without the American genres of Rhythm and Blues and Country of the first half of the 20th Century, the American genre of Rock and Roll wouldn’t exist today. The music of African slaves found its way into churches and the folk songs of Europeans morphed into songs of Appalachia and influenced Country music. The melting pot of the United States does more than mix cultures, it also mixes the music of those cultures. We can trace the uniquely American musical genres of today back to the music of those that brought their music here. Here’s an early bluesman, Big Joe Williams, singing and playing Baby Please Don’t Go from 1935.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/g22l1hnAnlA”][vc_column_text]Now…fast forward 70 years or so and you can hear Aerosmith’s rendition of that original blues tune. Take a listen. Sounds a bit different…but you can hear its roots in Big Joe Williams’ music.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/9r25eLFBAc4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the grand scheme of things, we are a young country. England’s been around in one form or another for over 1000 years. China, depending on who you talk to, is over 4000 years old. We’ll hit 250 in just under 10 years. But music…music is timeless. And once that music finds its way into our bones, it becomes part of who we are. You can’t tell the American story without Rock and Roll and R & B, without Country and Hip Hop. So while you’re watching fireworks this year, be sure to listen to some American music! There’s lots to choose from. I’m old fashioned – I’ll settle in with some booming Sousa marches. In fact, that’s what I’ll leave you with – Captain John Philip Sousa’s immortal march, The Invincible Eagle March. Happy 4th of July![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/1hXGZwHsTcM”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music’s Effect on the Developmental Domains

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When we say that music is a powerful tool for learning, one of the biggest reasons is because music positively affects every area of a child’s development.  And for over 30 years, one of the strongest advocates for early childhood development through music and movement has been Kindermusik International.

With a music and movement curriculum entrenched in research and infused with joyful activities that make learning effortlessly fun, it’s no wonder that parents, experts, therapists, and doctors have recommended Kindermusik over and over again for an experience that inspires giggles, bonding, and learning in every critical area of a young child’s development.

But don’t just take our word for it.  For some enlightening and fascinating resources, here are the links to some of that incredible research that is at the core of all that Kindermusik was founded, created, and built upon – research that continues to be affirmed over and over by further research and advances in technology.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Cognitive Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-cognition-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222523817″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Language & Literacy Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-language-literacy-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222523998″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Math & Logic Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icon-Math-Logic-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524206″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Social-Emotional Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-social-emotional-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524484″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Physical Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-physical-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524639″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Creative Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-creative-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524801″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Musical Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-music-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222525015″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It doesn’t take an expert to see how every part of a child’s heart, soul, and mind can be powerfully impacted for a lifetime by early childhood music and movement classes.  That’s why so many of us believe in the power of music, and because of that, believe in everything that is completely delightful and utterly magical about Kindermusik.

Want to learn more? Download these research studies from Kindermusik International.


[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case, who’s been making a difference in the lives of children and families through her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina, for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

At Home Beach Activities

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether it’s a beach stay-cation or an actual trip to the beach in store for you, we’re here with some fun and simple ideas for bringing the beach indoors and creating memories that are sure to bring smiles to everyone’s faces for a long time to come. Best of all, instead of “I’m Bored!”, we bet you’ll even hear that sweet little voice begging with a smile, “Can we do that again, Mom?”


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

At Home Beach Crafts

Make a Paper Plate Sun and Pipecleaner Windcatcher  

Beach Activities[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Make a Salt Painting

Beach activities[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Make a Beach in a Bottle

beach_in_a_bottle_vid[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sand Clay Handprint Keepsake

Sand Art[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

At Home Beach Books

Sand, Sea, Me! by Patricia Hubbell

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]sand_sea_and_me[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]commotion[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Good Night, Beach by Adam Gamble[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]good_night_beach[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]At the Beach by Anne Rockwell[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]at-the-beach[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

At Home Beach Music – Dance, Sing, and Play Along!

All albums are downloadable from play.Kindermusik.com

1, 2, 3 Octopus & Me

Music Makes My Day

Get Up & Move

The next time you need a little something to keep a little someone occupied, pull out one of these ideas and head to the beach – even if it’s just in your imagination!


[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Ideas shared by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina, where she’s not too far from the beach![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

School’s Out Soon! Make Some Musical Moments!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere! Here are some suggestions on how to keep those little ones busy and how to make the time you spend together meaningful.


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

1. Read Together

There’s a strong connection between the skills required for reading books and reading music, and you can enhance both reading literacy and music literacy by reading with your child. It’s a great way to sneak in some calming snuggle time too!

2. Take a Listening Walk

Listening is a huge part of music and music appreciation. And there’s nothing like a listening walk to captivate your child’s imagination, hone their listening skills, and develop an appreciation for the world around us. By the way, we highly recommend the book for children by Paul Showers called The Listening Walk.

3. Turn on Some Gentle Music and Blow Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is one of the cheapest forms of childhood entertainment, and you can even sneak in some music appreciation benefit by playing some classical music during the activity. We suggest selections by J.S. Bach or Mozart. By the way, a bubble wand with more than one hole is the secret to a better bubble-blowing experience.

4. Color to Music with Sidewalk Chalk

Want a no-mess activity that also gets your child’s creative juices flowing? Give your child some sidewalk chalk and offer the canvas of your driveway. Add a variety of music for fresh inspiration and enjoy watching your little artist go to work.

5. Use Painter’s Tape to Create Roads and Movement Pathways

Hum along as you drive small cars around tape-defined roads or dance and move around paths marked by painter’s tape. The fun will be in deciding where to put the tape down, and the learning comes as you sing and label with movement words.

6. Use a Hula Hoop as a Prop for Dancing

Hula hoops are great for helping children develop spatial awareness and refine large motor skills. The joy comes in exploring all the different ways to dance with, around, and through the hoop!

7. Make a Homemade Instrument… or Two!

Here are ideas for a oatmeal bongoscardboard guitar, simple shakers, homemade maracas, and castanets.

bongos

8. Start your Own Marching Band

Grab your homemade instrument, turn on some marching music, and have a parade through the house… and back around again!

 

9. Play a Musical Alphabet Chairs Game.

This is a fun educational twist on a classic childhood game that combines moving, listening to music, stopping on cue, and identifying letters of the alphabet. Perfect for when it’s too hot or yucky to be outside!

10. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching!

Put on some homemade ankle bells and dance, dance, dance! This is a great activity for indoors or outdoors. You can even help your child experiment with different kinds of music for all kinds of creative movement ideas.

Need more? How about joining us for a class this summer! It’s a great time to try something new. You’ll make new connections and your little one will have a blast! Find a class nearby.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music and the Bridges it Builds

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My earliest memories involve music. My mother would sing I’ve Got a Crush on You to me as a very young child. Most of my closest friends came to me through music. I met my wife because of music. When our children came into the world, music was playing in the delivery room. Music has been the master builder in my life, building bridges and strengthening relationships. I knew from a young age that my career would involve bringing music to others. The relationships with those with whom I make music are some of the strongest in my life. How does music do that? How does it wrap itself around the invisible connections between people and reenforce them?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Trust and Empathy

As a kid, I was acutely aware that kids I sang with in choir or played with in band were closer friends than those friends with whom I didn’t make music. In fact, as a 40-something year old man today, the school age friends I remain connected to today are all friends who shared music making with me. While one could argue that this was simply because of the amount of time we spent together, science tells us there’s a bit more to it.

When you make music with someone, it has an impact in the part of the brain (the supramarginal gyrus in the cerebral cortex for those who really want to know) that deals with empathy, trust, and compassion. This area lights up when one makes music. If you’re making music with others, you will be more likely to empathize with them, to feel compassion toward them. Perhaps this is the secret behind the documentary Playing for Change: Peace through Music. If you feel empathy and compassion for a fellow human. you are more likely to relate to them. It’s hard to call someone you relate to an enemy.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Bridges
The supramarginal gyrus (G. supramarginalis) of the cerebral cortex – found in the red area.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Teamwork and Cooperation

Think about what it takes to make music with other people – you must coordinate entrances, tuning, rhythm, pitch, breathing, dynamics, phrasing…the list goes on and on. Much like team sports, making music with others requires giving up a little of yourself to be part of the whole. All of this cooperative work can result in something called biological entrainment. As groups breath together, heartbeats can become synchronized. This biological coordination happens pretty quickly. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Psychologist Jill Suttie puts it this way:

Performing music involves coordinating of our efforts, too…at least if we want to produce a pleasing sound. According to researchers, when we try to synch with others musically—keeping the beat or harmonizing, for example—we tend to feel positive social feelings towards those with whom we’re synchronizing, even if that person is not visible to us or not in the same room. Though it’s unclear exactly why that happens, coordinating movement with another person is linked to the release of pleasure chemicals (endorphins) in the brain, which may explain why we get those positive, warm feelings when we make music together.

“Four Ways Music Strengthens Social Bonds” – Greater Good in Action: Science-based Practices for a Meaningful Life

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Musical Bridges

There are so many instances in which music has been the bridge between cultures – as the art form exists in every culture on earth. Take the instance of Daniel Barenboim, a well-known Jewish conductor, and Edward Said, a Palestinian born American citizen. Their friendship resulted in some musical bridge building. From Culturesofresistance.org:

Their friendship led them to hold a series of public talks at New York’s Carnegie Hall, which were gathered in the book Parallels and Paradoxes. The reception was so positive that in 1998 the two launched an ambitious project together: the West-Eastern Divan, an annual summer workshop that brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab world (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Palestine) for musical training and cultural seminars on neutral ground. The first workshop took place in Weimar, Germany, in 1999. Since 2002, the workshop has made its permanent home in Seville, Spain. Each summer, following the workshop, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra gives a series of public concerts. They have performed in Europe, North and South America, Cairo, Ramallah, and Istanbul.

This orchestra is still in existence and continues to build bridges between young musicians from these different cultures. The groups motto? Equal in music.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Barenboim rehearses the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Barenboim rehearses the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

A Life Well-lived in Music

I am eternally grateful to count among my close friends musical colleagues, former students, and fellow musicians from my childhood. Not all of those elementary friends went on to be professional musicians, but most still make music on a regular basis. They’ve encouraged their kids to get involved with musical activities, as have I. The gift of music creates ripples that move outward, impacting the musicians, their audiences, and how their audiences interact with the world.

It’s what we need – more and more music.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to Keep the Daily Rhythms and Routines that Matter to Your Child

routine

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here in the States, summer is almost here, and with it often comes changes to our normal routines.  As adults, we adapt to the break and look forward to a change of pace – a different kind of busy.  But a change in routine can be very unsettling to young children who not only need the security and predictability of routines, but actually thrive physically, emotionally, and cognitively on those routines.  

 

Whereas we as adults are driven by our clocks and calendars, the day is defined by routines for young children.  Deviate too much from those routines and you can potentially end up dealing with fussiness, whining, or tantrums.  The reality is that life is unpredictable at times, so teaching our kids how to adapt and be flexible is a valuable life skill.  So how can we keep some consistency in those routines that are so necessary to small children?

 

Start and end your day the same way

Keeping your morning and evening routines makes what happens in between a little easier for your young child.  Even the smallest things like the order in which you get ready in the morning or the way you always read together before bed will be very comforting.

Keep that favorite toy or book handy 

Children find security in what’s familiar.  It’s why some kids really latch on to a certain stuffed animal or blankie.  So tuck that favorite toy or book in your bag when you’re on the go, and offer it to your child when you sense he’s needing a little distraction.

 

Lean into the changes

If you know that your summer is going to be different for the next several months, create some new routines – and then stick to them.  What’s hardest for children is not knowing what’s happening next because the next day is always different.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Rhythm[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Talk through what’s coming up

This is especially helpful for older toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids who are beginning to be old enough to understand and flex better with change.  Surprises can be unsettling, so simply taking a few minutes to let them know what to expect will go a long way towards making day go much more smoothly for everyone.

 

Infuse your day with music

 Sing your child’s favorite song as you load up in the car, turn on that beloved Kindermusik CD as you travel, or play that favorite lullaby playlist before bed.  It’s all about finding ways to include the familiar even when there has to be a change in the normal routine.  A simple thing like playing or singing some favorite songs can make all the difference in how the day goes.

 

Stay enrolled in some of your regular activities – like Kindermusik class!  

Anchoring your week with a beloved and familiar outing goes a long way in your child being able to adjust better to other changes.  Children mark time by their predictable activities – precisely the reason why Kindermusik educators regularly have parents share that their child wakes up asking, “Is today my Kindermusik day?”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Life is full of surprises, yes, and often the day’s activities are somewhat out of our control.  But the goal with young children is to control what we can, keep whatever routines we can, and add in the touches of the favorite and familiar to give a sense of comfort and predictability wherever possible.  And our best tip??  Music makes everything better – all day, any day, every day.

 


Shared by Theresa Case, whose favorite part of the week is when she’s enjoying her Kindermusik teaching routine in her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.   [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]