Why Do You Sing?

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Dr. Boyle conducts the Middle Level All State Choir in Wisconsin. Scedra is right in the front row.
Dr. Boyle conducts the Middle Level All State Choir in Wisconsin. Scedra is right in the front row.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I teach my students that it’s the conductors job to make others musically powerful. This concept was crystalized for me by Ben Zander in his TED Talk. If you haven’t watched it, you should! As conductors, we develop a vision and inspire others to realize that vision.

When I work with choirs, I tell it like it is. I tell them what I expect – and to paraphrase my friend and fraternity brother, Karl Paulnack, from his Welcome Address to the parents of incoming Boston Conservatory students – I expect them to save lives with their music.

The Wisconsin Middle Level All State Choir was no different. They sang! They gave away their collective voice, honoring the composers, each other, and the audience. I told them – you never know whose life you might change with your music. I believe that. I believe that there could be someone in that audience whose life is at the crossroads – and honest and selfless art given freely by a group of emotionally connected middle schoolers has the power to pull them down the road that leads to life.

We sang! But we also talked about the music. We talked about the historical context of McCartney’s “Blackbird” – so relevant today. Not about a blackbird, friends. Sir Paul wrote this in response to the riots occurring in ’68 after Dr. King was assassinated. And the middle school musicians ate up this information. You could have heard a pin drop when I talked to them about this.

I have started taking a moment at festivals to ask students why they sing – particularly in choir. One young woman, Scedra (pronounced Say-dra – her name was a combination of the initials of grandmothers and great grandmothers) particularly touched me. Scedra was born 2 months premature. She fit in the palm of your hand. Her father’s wedding ring could slide up her arm to her shoulder with room to spare. Scedra is in a wheel chair. She put her hand up to share why she sang….[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][blockquote cite=””]“I sing because it makes me feel like flying. I don’t feel like I’m in my chair. It’s like I’m not disabled anymore.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I wept. I’m weeping now typing this. 149 of her new friends instantly applauded her. The smile on her face eclipsed her chair. Scedra is often (at first sight) defined by her wheelchair, but in that moment, she was simply and beautifully a young woman overjoyed to be making music with her new friends.

Scedra and a host of her colleagues shared from their hearts in a room full of people they had just met. Music did this. Music created this place that allowed these people to be who they were (are!) without fear of judgment.

And that is music’s power.

These young men and women changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful.

Thank God, the universe, and all good things for music.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Importance of Triangulation

Without a doubt, it takes all of the caring adults in a child’s life working together to effectively foster and nurture a child’s overall development.  That’s really what’s been at the heart of Kindermusik for over 30 years now – to empower parents as a child’s first and best teacher and connect a parent and child with their Kindermusik educator who can provide expert tips and loving support throughout those precious, formative early years.

This is the power of triangulation in its most positive context – teacher, parent, and child coming together in ways that significantly impact the child’s development, attitude toward learning, love of music, academic performance, self-confidence, creativity, and relationships with others.

From those first baby classes to the last big kid classes, the Kindermusik learning process is based on that beautiful, unending triangle of parent(s) – child – teacher.  The parent engages with the child, in class and/or at home.  The teacher not only interacts with the child, but also the parent, providing support and resources that help make great parenting a little bit easier (and a whole lot more musical!)  The teacher and parent then work together on behalf of the child, to ensure that the child is gaining the full cognitive, academic, social, and musical benefits from the experience.

And then there are those incredible @Home Materials that are the glue that holds the parent-teacher-student Kindermusik triangle together.  The @Home Materials are almost as good as being able to take your Kindermusik teacher home with you because you can take the music, fun, and learning with you all week long, wherever you go.

Kindermusik truly goes from class to home and back again, all because of that wonderful parent-teacher-student triangle that is the backbone of the Kindermusik philosophy and experience.

Parent - Student - Teacher Triangle

 

How Kindermusik Prepares Kids for Piano Lessons

Kindermusik prepares kids for music lessons

What’s the best preparation for piano lessons?  Any piano teacher who’s ever taught a Kindermusik graduate will tell you without hesitation that piano students who have had Kindermusik progress more quickly, have a solid grasp of music fundamentals, and stick with their lessons longer.  Many will even go so far as to say that a former Kindermusik student is a dream piano student.

I make those bold claims after 20+ years of watching Kindermusik kids graduate and not only do well, but absolutely flourish and thrive in our music program.  As director of a large music school, Kindermusik educator, and former piano teacher, I’ve seen, heard, and celebrated success after success that could only be attributed to Kindermusik.  In fact, I’ve conducted my own non-scientific “research” several times throughout the year when I’ve waited to tell my piano teacher that her new student was a Kindermusik grad.  And the experiment never fails to produce the expected result.  Within just a few weeks of working with that student, I always get a text or a phone call from the piano teacher, “Has this child been in Kindermusik?!”

In celebration of September being “National Piano Month,” I’d like to celebrate just some of the ways that Kindermusik prepares kids for piano lessons.

Kindermusik kids learn musical terms and concepts in the most perfectly beautiful and natural of ways.  These concepts are happily experienced and curiously explored in the kind of rich, multi-sensory environment that supports optimal learning and connection.

Kindermusik kids have an ear for all types of music.  This is because the Kindermusik library is so vast and varied, introducing these young musicians to music from all different cultures, different centuries, different genres, and different traditions.

Kindermusik kids develop an ingrained sense of steady beat.  From bouncing to rocking to dancing to marching, a sense of rhythm has been instilled from the time they were infants.  First in mama or daddy’s arms, and then on their own two feet.  They can feel it in their whole bodies.  And nothing is more central to music than steady beat.

Kindermusik kids know how to make music together, in groups both big and small.  They first learn to interact with mom and dad.  Then with others, in side-by-side play and exploration.  Their ensemble skills come into full bloom as the children successfully play their instrumental part with the rest of the class, on cue and in rhythm.

Kindermusik kids learn to read, write, and compose music at a young age, between 4.5 and 7 years.  What they grew to love in their hearts as babies, toddlers, and preschoolers becomes what they delight in understanding and creating as big kids.  The Kindermusik formula stays the same – singing, moving, exploring, listening, playing – all gently leading a child to a level of understanding that could only be the product of such a joyful, process-based approach.

Kindermusik kids are confident musicians.  From their very first classes, they’ve been encouraged to explore, to try new things, to think outside the box, and to use their imaginations – not because they were trying to find the one right way, but because there are oh-so-many ways to participate in Kindermusik class where process is always emphasized over performance.  This process-based approach develops a unique kind of self-confidence, not just at the piano, but also in the classroom and later, in the workplace.

Kindermusik kids love music, from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes.  This is the deepest kind of love that grows the strongest as it is lovingly nurtured and encouraged from an early age.  It’s the kind of love that opens the door to reaching the fullest potential in musical study.

Many Kindermusik kids have come through our doors over the years.  They have all left with a song in their heart that will stay there forever.  Many also left with another incredible gift – the ability to play the piano and enjoy making music the rest of their lives.

Do you want to prepare your child for piano lessons? Find a local Kindermusik class and see for yourself how Kindermusik prepares kids for formal music lessons later on.

Shared by Theresa Case who has been the Director of Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina for over 20 years now.

4 benefits of music for babies

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Nothing really prepares a person for the season of life called Parenting. It’s one of those things that no one really tells you. After all, parenting feels a bit like playing a game where the rules change constantly. For example, shortly after mastering the perfect origami-like swaddle, your child no longer needs it to sleep through the night. Or maybe you finally figured out how the straps on the stroller work but now your little one insists on crawling or walking everywhere. Sometimes just when you think you got it figured out, baby number 2 arrives on the scene and well, it changes again! One rule will never change: A parent is a child’s first and best teacher.
In Kindermusik, we celebrate the unique role a parent plays in a child’s life and the life-altering benefits of music throughout each season of parenting and childhood. In fact, even the youngest baby learns through music. One study showed that babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better, are easier to soothe, and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music. That’s not all. Here are four more benefits of music for babies.

4 benefits of music for babies

1. Music supports the early stages of language development.
Contrary to what babies sound like at times, they are not turning into a pterodactyl, a creature from the Amazon rainforest, or a boat. When we hear babies exploring the wide-range of noises possible with the human voice, mouth, and tongue, they are actually engaging in play—vocal play to be specific. Cooing, babbling, blowing raspberries and, well, screeching like a pterodactyl are all part of it.
BenefitsOfKindermusik_BabyMusicClasses_InfographicVocal play is one of the early stages of language development and parents play a pivotal role. In class, we create many opportunities for vocal play to happen. A baby and caregiver engage in vocal play by touching, gazing, observing, listening, and imitating. All of this vocal play support’s a child’s vocal development by encouraging breath control, the use of the vocal cords, and the coordination of the small muscles in the face and mouth. Plus, the pausing and waiting during vocal play teaches a baby conversational turn-taking.
2. Music helps babies experience patterns. During the first several months of life, babies follow a predictable pattern. Eat. Sleep. Diaper change. Eat. Sleep. Diaper change. Mathematicians call that an A-B-C pattern. Parents call it the “will-I-ever-sleep-again” pattern. (Spoiler alert: You will…one day!) Patterns help babies connect to and learn about the world. From recognizing the facial pattern of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth to hearing the vocal patterns of the common language spoken at home to even responding to the day-and-night pattern and eventually sleeping longer at night (really)!
Babies and young children who learn to identify patterns strengthen their sense of safety and feel happier and more relaxed because they can better predict what happens next. Plus, a solid understanding of patterns eventually leads to success in school, especially in math, science, and reading. Each week in class, babies experience patterns through rhythm and meter, tempo contrasts, dances, language and vocal play and the routine of the lesson flow.
3. Music and movement provide opportunities for fine- and gross-motor skills development
Babies grow by leaps and bounds their first year—or more accurately by grasps and scoots. One minute you hold a newborn who reflexively grasps your finger. Seemingly, the next minute your little baby intentionally reaches up to touch your nose. Whether reaching for a nose, lifting a head during tummy time, clapping, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking, a baby exerts tireless hours to learning how to intentionally move.
Each week in class, we provide many opportunities for a baby to engage in fun, musical activities that support and strengthen each stage of a child’s movement development. From tummy time to playing with baby-safe instruments to gently bouncing a baby in a caregiver’s lap, class activities will support the development of the small and large muscles as well as coordination for more complex movements like eventually kicking a ball, jumping, and even writing.
4. Music helps babies gain active listening skills.
Do you ever just stop and really listen to your surroundings? It’s kind of noisy. You might hear the sounds of music, television commercials, the humming of the refrigerator or air conditioner, birds singing, cars driving by, wind blowing, phones buzzing, coffee maker brewing, microwave dinging, someone talking, and more. Thankfully, as an adult, you know how to tune in to the sounds that matter most. Babies do not. In fact, young babies hear most of it—including the more than 300 different phonemes, tones, and clicks used to express every single language in the world!
At Kindermusik, we know babies need to learn how to tune in to the sounds and language most needed in their daily lives. In fact, a baby can already distinguish the sound of a parent’s voice from everyone else’s voice. In class each week, we enhance a baby’s growing discriminatory listening skills when we listen to and imitate different animal noises, the various sounds of instruments, and the voices of adults singing and humming. This ability to detect and attend to sounds, and to distinguish between them, sets a baby on the path to fine-tuned listening and receptive language.

For parents too!

Dad and baby babbling and bonding in KindermusikBecoming a parent turns a person’s world (and social calendar) upside down and inside out. A person moves from lengthy conversations over dinner to brief chats scheduled around naptimes. Eventually, a parent progress to speaking in short sentences interrupted by wardrobe and diaper changes, boo-boo kissing, rocking, sharing interventions, and a few paparazzi moments. (Children do the cutest things after all!).
When enrolling in Kindermusik, many parents list “socialization” as one of the reasons. We do help children develop social and emotional skills, but we also connect grownups with parents and caregivers who understand the unique joys and challenges of parenting a child the same age. In Kindermusik class, parents often make lasting connections of their own with the grownup sitting next to them or changing a diaper or kissing a boo-boo or experiencing a paparazzi moment, too.

Experience for yourself the benefits of music for babies (and parents!). Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a class!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

What You Need for Your Child When Your Child Needs It Most

Every stage, or “season,” of early childhood has its triumphs and its challenges.  At Kindermusik, we believe that music and movement should be a huge part of both the celebrations and the everyday moments of each stage of childhood.
That’s why Kindermusik classes are not just filled with happy music and delightful activities for kids, but are also full of practical tips and musical helps for parents.  And it all comes packaged in such a way as to also give you invaluable insights into the way your child will grow and develop into the special individual he/she is meant to be.
Village baby with new logo
Babies need nurture.
The first years are all about connections and learning.  A lullaby will become a beautiful ritual before nap time.  A sweet little finger play makes bath time extra fun.  A quick dance around the kitchen provides a needed distraction around supper time.
In Kindermusik, we’ll teach you all of the songs, fingerplays, and dances you need, but we’ll also give you the time to settle in and savor these precious early years.  The window for learning is open the widest right now, and there’s nothing more powerful than music and movement.
Our Time girl with new logoToddlers need engagement.
Busy brains and busy little bodies need something to keep them active. And yet they thrive on predictability and routine.  Despite attempts to be fiercely independent, these busy little people still need you and they still need lots of cuddles.  And they do love their music!
We’ll help you add plenty of activity to your week – in class and at home.  And we’ll give you the music to dance to, the songs to sing, and the lullabies to hum, along with the insights you need to better understand this beautiful little person that is your child.
IT girl with new logoPreschoolers need adventure.
More than at any other stage, play is your preschool child’s work.  Play is how they’ll learn best.  The preschooler enjoys action and adventure, and he/she is eager for the kinds of rich experiences and interactions that will best help get him/her be ready for school, for music lessons, and for life.
Pretend play, big imaginations, socializing, and new musical concepts – all of these and more are how this stage of Kindermusik helps your child thrive and flourish.  Best of all, Kindermusik allows you to be part of the grand adventure of preparing for some very exciting transitions.
YC boy with new logoBig Kids need opportunity.
Your child seems so grown up all of the sudden, but he/she is not as grown up as you might think.  Now more than ever, your child needs to move, to explore, and to have fun even while being challenged with new ideas and ways to learn.  Your child is more than capable of learning the more specific musical concepts that will continue to foster a love for music and prepare him/her for that next step to formal music instruction.
As we capitalize on your child’s love of learning and making music with friends, we’ll also keep you involved through pressure-free music-making and simple activities at home.  You’ll learn right along with your child, and you’ll have the resources you need to make time for music and enjoy time with your child.
Try A Free Kindermusik Class
We’d love for you to come see for yourself how Kindermusik meets your child’s musical and developmental needs at every stage in early childhood, from newborn to age 7.  Try a free class today!
 

Shared by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Upstate South Carolina

How Kindermusik Graduates are Prepared to Succeed

Young Child students play glockenspiel dulcimer drum and recorderThis is the time of year when many Kindermusik educators are bidding a fond farewell to their Kindermusik graduates – a bittersweet time for sure!  But they are sent way with so much pride, not just because of their accomplishments, but because of how Kindermusik has prepared them to succeed.

How Kindermusik Graduates are Prepared to Succeed

Musically – With hands-on experience with musical instruments and musical concepts under their belts, Kindermusik graduates are ready to take the next step into formal music instruction.  The rich foundation that was laid in the early years with Kindermusik uniquely prepares a child not just to do well, but to excel in music lessons.
Cognitively – Experiencing music with Kindermusik affects nearly every kind of intelligence and stimulates development in every area of the brain.  Kindermusik kids are problem solvers, creative thinkers, and eager learners.  They have strong, independent reasoning skills.
Creatively – Kindermusik kids have been given the freedom to be self-expressive, to explore the possibilities, and to think outside of the box.  Their imaginations have been encouraged and their minds stretched to think in terms of possibilities and “what if’s.”
Emotionally – Being in the safe, nurturing environment that Kindermusik provides has helped develop the key social skills and resilience that are essential for school-readiness and success.  Kindermusik kids are well-adjusted and socially adept.
Socially – Self-confidence and the ability to cooperate and work together in a group are just some of the social skills that set Kindermusik kids apart.  The friendships that blossom in Kindermusik and the sense of belonging that results imbue a sense of confidence and emotional well-being and connectedness that last long after graduation from Kindermusik.
Physically – Kindermusik graduates know how to move!  They’ve developed a sense of self, learned to move creatively, and experienced the joy of movement.  Kindermusik has provided these graduates with opportunities for noncompetitive, success-oriented, creative experiences. Gross and fine motor skills have been refined.
Aesthetically – A child in Kindermusik develops an appreciation of the arts and is more aware of the beauty around him.  His soul has been touched by the power of music during the early years when these kinds of musical and aesthetic experiences have the greatest impact.

YC Grad 5Poised for success in music, in school, and in life.

Kindermusik kids are ready… perfectly poised to succeed in music, in school, and in life.  And the path to readiness has been filled with exuberant delight, happy memories, and joyful learning – all of it accomplished through the power of music and an experience that is uniquely Kindermusik.
Congratulations, Kindermusik graduates!  We couldn’t be prouder.

Interested in learning more about how Kindermusik will benefit your child?  Learn more at www.Kindermusik.com and also visit a free class!

Music and Movement Benefits: What's Your Tempo?

What is TEMPO you ask?  Simply put, tempo is the speed of the music. Fast, slow, and everything in-between!

But why is TEMPO so important?

There is a tempo in every sport your child will play, in every speech, every talk, every meeting your child will hold, and of course, in music.  Here’s where being in a Kindermusik class is so valuable – your child’s Kindermusik classroom experiences with tempo will later translate into critical skills that cross into every aspect of your child’s life – music, sports, academics, dance, gymnastics, art, drama, and more!

Tempo at Home

And that’s not all! Even at home, you can use tempo to keep your child engaged in an activity, supporting both increased attention span and cognitive repetition. For example, you can repeat a song or rhyme many more times with your child if you vary the tempo, and each time we repeat the activity we strengthen the new neural connections in your child’s brain, helping to create retained learning.

How do kids learn about TEMPO?

First, little ones must FEEL it (baby music classes), then they can later PRODUCE it (toddler music classes).  Next, they can UTILIZE their sense of timing (preschooler music classes) so that by the time they are in our big kids classes they will be able to sense tempo as a group in ENSEMBLE play, and further develop their organizational skills for home, school, and beyond!
Follow Me to Kindermusik
Want to see how Kindermusik can benefit your child?  Try a free class today and see how your child will learn and grow with music.

10 Reasons Why You'll Love Kindermusik this Summer

Follow Me to KindermusikBased on what parents have shared with us over the years and all the hugs and smiles we’ve gotten from our Kindermusik kids, we could probably list 100 reasons why you’ll love Kindermusik this Summer, but here are our top 10.

10 reasons to take a Kindermusik music class for kids this summer!

  1. Fun summery themes
  2. give you plenty of ways to create special memories and capture the carefree, feel-good joys of summertime.

  3. Music, movement, stories, instruments, dancing, and creative play – your child will enjoy a stimulating class experience that fosters early learning, provides an outlet for energetic activity, and inspires a lifelong love for music.
  4. Kindermusik fits your child perfectly with age-appropriate activities that enhance every area of your child’s physical, cognitive, and musical development.
  5. Summer Kindermusik classes give your child the security of a comfortable, predictable routine.  You’ll both be delighted to have such a special activity to look forward to during the summer.
  6. It’s more than just a weekly class.  With Kindermusik, you also receive Home Materials that allow you to extend the class experience and the benefits of music into your every day family life.
  7. No other single activity you could choose this summer offers the integrated, creative, child-centered, musical experience that Kindermusik does.
  8. When the temperatures outside soar, Kindermusik is the ideal indoor activity, keeping little minds and bodies happily engaged – in class and at home.
  9. Summer time is the perfect time to try something new at Kindermusik – a Family Class, a new curriculum level, a new schedule – or just to try Kindermusik out for the first time.
  10. A child’s love of learning, interest in music, and need for quality time doesn’t have an off switch… and that’s why Kindermusik is there for you, even in the summer!
  11. Even though summer is a busy time for many families, your child still deserves the very best… and there’s no better choice than Kindermusik for helping your child blossom and grow.

Kindermusik, Summer, and you… SO happy together!

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Never tried Kindermusik before?
Get started with a Free Preview class.  Ready for a summer with Kindermusik?  Contact your local Kindermusik educator.

Music & Movement Benefits: Rhymers Will Be Readers

Today is World Poetry Day. And while your child may not be up to appreciating Robert Frost or Elizabeth Barrett Browning

just yet, he/she does benefit significantly by learning (and enjoying!) children’s rhymes and poems. Why are rhyming songs and chants so vital to a young child’s development? Reading expert and author Mem Fox explains why:

“The importance of getting rhymes and songs into children’s head’s can’t be overestimated. Rhymers will be readers: it’s that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, pg. 85-86)

Experts agree. Music is a powerful vehicle for learning and enhancing development in every area. As an educator, one of the things I love most about Kindermusik is the way that it inspires children – and parents – to learn together in ways that benefit the child now and for the rest of his life.

So the moral of this story is… If you can’t quite remember those rhyming songs, chants, and Mother Goose rhymes from your childhood, take a Kindermusik class! Remember… rhymers will be readers.

– Special thanks to Theresa Case for this post. Theresa’s Kindermusik program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios, is in the top 1% of all Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Bring a Friend to Kindermusik!

Most everything is more fun with a friend, and that’s especially true of Kindermusik!  Kindermusik is one of those really wonderful activities that is just as much for you as it is for your child – one special benefit being the friendship and support the adults find amongst each other because of Kindermusik. Many friendships have come out of being with other adults in a Kindermusik class, and many friendships are made that much stronger and more special because of attending Kindermusik class together.
BringAFriendToKindermusik
Your local Kindermusik educator would be thrilled to hear that you wanted to try Kindermusik with a friend, or even that you want to pay the highest compliment possible to her by introducing a friend to all that you’ve come to know and love about Kindermusik.

Simply contact your local educator about scheduling options.

And how you can make even more out of attending a weekly Kindermusik class with a friend?
Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Come a little early to class so that you can enjoy catching up and chatting before the class activities begin.
  • Arrange to meet after class at a local kid-friendly restaurant or coffee shop or even at a favorite playground for a picnic.
  • Organize a playdate with the other families in your class, either after class or on another day of the week.
  • Plan a “Girls Night Out” with the other Kindermusik moms – go out to eat, get a pedicure, attend a concert, etc. – without the kids.
  • Have a “Dad’s Day” or “Grandparents Day” where dads or grandparents attend the class and get to meet each other.

New to Kindermusik?

Try A Free Kindermusik Class
Try a Class for Free…and tell your friends!