Finding Your Voice: Lessons Learned from Isabella

This guest post originally appeared on the blog: One Random Angel. 

I’ve been working with children since I was old enough to babysit. Been teaching children in some capacity for the last 23 years. So I don’t want to say I’ve seen it all, but I will say not much surprises me. And I generally think I’m pretty good at reading kids and meeting them where they are and bonding with them from there. Or at least I thought that until this past year when a creative, loud, happy child named Isabella surprised me and taught me a new lesson that will help me now to be a better teacher and maybe even a better person.

Let me back up. When I first began teaching Isabella, then 2 years old, in one of my parent/child gymnastic classes, I did not see her at all as creative, loud, or happy. In fact, I saw her as timid, introverted, and nervous. She hid most of the class behind her dad’s legs. And her kind, supportive parents, along with her kind, well-meaning teacher would encourage her to try skills and push her to participate. But if I’m honest, she didn’t really ever seem to enjoy the class in those days. I thought she needed time: time to get to know me, time to be comfortable in the environment, and time to just watch and observe before doing.

Then we started a new Kindermusik program at my gym.

Isabella and her mom joined my very first class. I could see the first day that Isabella was more comfortable. From day one, she participated fully in the class. As the weeks went on, Isabella became louder and louder in her participation. She modeled for the other kids all the imaginative play involved in Kindermusik. She was the first to vocalize and sing along. She really transformed into a leader before my eyes. One week early on we were dancing with scarves to classical music. Isabella stood off to the side and sang “Let It Go” as loudly as she could over the music. It was glorious.

As amazing as watching her come out of her shell in music class was, here is the part that really blew me away. When she found her voice in Kindermusik, the way she participated in the gym class also changed! She stepped out from behind her dad’s legs and into the center of the circle. She met me in the gym class with the same imaginative spirit that we used in music class. In our opening circle for example, instead of burying her head in her dad’s chest when I’d ask her for her name, she began to give me a different name each week for what I should call her. Then she’d pretend to be that person (usually a princess). One day during our exploration time, she said to me, “I’m Miss Angel and you are Isabella. You follow me.” She led me around equipment that a few months earlier I couldn’t even get her to go near.

Lessons Learned from a Child

Isabella didn’t need more time or understanding from me. She needed a change in environment. She needed to find her voice where she felt confident and where the activities spoke to her and her strengths. She found those things in Kindermusik. Then she owned her new voice and used it to overcome whatever fears she had in the gym. Now she tries skills. Now she participates fully. She is sometimes still nervous when trying new physical skills, but instead of hiding and refusing to try, she just tells you that she feels nervous. Then she tries it anyway.

Isabella is a joy to teach in both programs. Take a look at Isabella and her family singing with me and the Wiggle and Grow Family class. You’ll recognize her from her confidence and joyful, loud singing!

Finding Your Voice Video Clip

So my hope for all of us is that we can find a change in environment when we need it. Find a place where we feel confident. A place that speaks to our strengths and draws out the very best in us. A place where we can sing “Let It Go” loudly even when entirely different music is playing.

What lessons have you learned from a child? Join in the conversation on our Facebook page and tag your response #lessonslearnedfromkids.

Angel Hundley has owned and operated a The Little Gym Franchise in Huntsville, Alabama, since 2007. She has taught hundreds and hundreds of children. She hopes they’ve learned from her. Angel is certain that she’s learned from them!

To the Mom Who Showed Up Late to Music Class

early childhood music

I saw you today.

Yes. You!

Did you really think that you could slip in unnoticed after class already started? We had finished all the rounds of the “Hello” song and just transitioned into rhythm sticks when you and your child walked into the classroom. You held your head down trying to avoid eye contact, but your little one didn’t even think about feeling embarrassed for arriving late. Instead, she burst through the door ready to make music with her friends.Rhythm sticks

But I saw you.

Did you see me?

I smiled. Big Time. Could you guess that behind my smile I said a cheer for you: “You made it! Woo-Hoo! Good for you!”

It doesn’t matter what time the clock reads. It matters that you came. After all, time takes on a different meaning when a child enters your life. Every parent learns that lesson sooner or later. We’ve all experienced one or two (or all of these!) reasons for being late somewhere:

A Few Reasons Kids Make Us Late

  • As soon as you dress your infant and strap her in the carrier she experiences her first diaper explosion—the kind your BFF warned you about—and the one you didn’t believe because she tends to exaggerate. After the shock wears off, you spend the next 30 minutes cleaning up your baby, your car, and yourself.
  • Your child refuses to get dressed in anything other than his Buzz Lightyear pajamas, except said PJs are stained with who knows what and two sizes too small. After 20 minutes of intense negotiations, you arrive at a compromise of last year’s Scooby Doo Halloween costume, which is only a slightly better option.
  • It takes your toddler 13 minutes to walk 10 steps to the car. She keeps stopping to investigate something spectacular—a rock, an old piece of chalk left in the rain, an ant. When you attempt to spur her on down the path, it sparks an epic meltdown on full display of the elderly couple next door. After 8 minutes, your child forgets the root of her despair and happily gets in the car.
  • Ten minutes before you need to leave for class your child FINALLY decides to take a nap. You debate letting him sleep to help ward off the evening drama guaranteed to happen on “no nap” days. You opt to shorten the nap by letting him sleep 20 minutes instead of his usual 30 minutes…which means you are 10 minutes later for class. You hope a short nap is better than no nap, but only time will tell.
  • YOU take a nap. Hey! Parenting is EXHAUSTING…as in “will-I-ever-sleep-again exhausting.” You needed that nap because you know you will be up three times between your child’s bedtime and 630am.

So, while your reason for arriving late may not be listed above, it’s okay. You are welcomed whether you show up early, on time, late, or not at all on some days. We understand. It’s why I wasn’t the only one who noticed you arriving late. The other parents did, too. We all widened the circle to include you. After all, we are a family and that’s what family does.

Kindermusik Class Toddler

Do you want to join a community of other families who understand what it’s like to be a parent today? Find a class near you!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area. Through the years, she arrived late countless times to Kindermusik class (for all of the reasons listed above).

Photo Series: Snapshots that completely capture what’s going on in music class

Music makes memories—and conjures them up, too. Think about it. How many of us instantly transform back into a 16 year old when we hear our favorite song from that time period? Or maybe your musical memories include family road trips, your first concert, or the lullaby playlist you put together when your first child entered the world. Regardless of the soundtrack to your memories, we can all agree that music connects us to our past…and imbeds current experiences firmly in our hearts.

Here are a few snapshots of memories in the making through music.

Kindermusik 4 Kindermusik 5 Kindermusik 6 Kindermusik 7 Kindermusik 8 Kindermusik 9 Kindermusik 10 Kindermusik 11 Kindermusik 12 Kindermusik 13 Kindermusik 14 Kindermusik 15 Kindermusik 16 Kindermusik 17 Kindermusik 18 Kindermusik 19 Kindermusik 20 Kindermusik 21 Kindermusik 22 Kindermusik 23 Kindermusik 24 Kindermusik 26 Kindermusik Class 1 Kindermusik Class 2 Kindermusik Class 3 Kindermusik Class 25

Share your favorite musical memory on our Facebook page. Tag your image: #MusicalMemories

The Top 10 Benefits of Enrolling in Kindermusik

Kindermusik Classes - Enroll Now - For a Child's Brain, Body, Heart & Soul

With so many choices out there for young children, we thought we’d try to help make the decision a little easier by sharing our top 10 benefits of enrolling in Kindermusik.
Kindermusik Classes - Enroll Now - For a ChildBenefit #1: Kindermusik gives your child that unique head start you’ve been looking for – musically, cognitively, and academically.
Benefit#2: Kindermusik inspires a love of music from an early age with songs, instruments, and activities that are just right for each age and every stage.
Benefit #3: Kindermusik enhances every area of your child’s development – we are so much more than just music!
Benefit #4: Kindermusik gives you the time and the tools to enjoy quality time with your child – in class and at home.
Benefit #5: Kindermusik Home Materials let you take the music, fun, and learning with you all week long, wherever you go.
Benefit #6: Kindermusik classes provide a happy social outlet for your child and a valuable support network for you.
Benefit #7: All Kindermusik activities are research-proven and giggle-approved, and all are supported by a developmental and musical focus.
Benefit #8: Kindermusik lays a strong foundation for future success in school and in formal music lessons later on.
Benefit #9: Kindermusik is something you and your child will use every day – at home or on the go!
Benefit #10: Kindermusik offers a comprehensive program with the potential for positively impacting your child from newborn all the way to 7 years of age.

Kindermusik - Where Music and Learning PlayFrom music skills to life skills, it’s all there in Kindermusik. Best of all, your child will

love it, and so will you. Find a class near you and enroll today!
Contributed by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Music and the Senses

Kindermusik Classes - Learning Through Music & Our Senses

Happy New Year from Kindermusik International!

What better way to start the new year than to learn through music and our senses. Are you enrolled for classes in January?

Kindermusik Classes - Learning Through Music & Our Senses“Experiences and sensations are learning.  Sensations form the base understanding from which concepts and thinking develop.  Therefore, sensory enriched environments are imperative to learning.”
(Smart Moves by Carla Hannaford)

Multi-sensory learning is like glue for the brain.  According to Carla Hannaford’s work in Smart Moves, multi-sensory learning partnered with a positive emotional experience leads to learning, reasoning, thought.  That’s a Kindermusik class!

Kindermusik Classes use Music, Movement, and our Senses!

Each week in Kindermusik class we are using your child’s senses – eyes, ears, tongue, the skin, etc. – to build a foundation of knowledge.  It has been said that learning does not occur without movement, because the brain is not taking in information from the environment. As a result, your child is moving and learning and thinking and creating new ideas.

Sensory rich environments are also considered one of three major factors that lead to competency in adulthood.  What are the other two factors? Continue reading “Music and the Senses”

Kindermusik and Your Child: Spatial Awareness in Four Parts

Kindermusik Class - Spatial Awareness

The four parts of spatial awareness are:  Kindermusik Class - Spatial Awareness

  • Distance
  • Form (shape)
  • Direction
  • Position (in relationship to others)

How many of you absolutely LOVE GEOMETRY?  If you want your child to love it and be good at it, then you will love learning how for the first seven years of your child’s life, Kindermusik and you will be teaching spatial orientation skills through play.  Among other benefits, spatial awareness is the basis for success in Geometry and Higher Math.

Spatial awareness is the knowledge of where you are in relationship to other people and objects in your environment.  To develop spatial awareness, children learn concepts such as direction, distance and location.

Kindermusik Class - Spatial Awareness With MusicIn the Kindermusik classroom, a child with spatial awareness will understand that as she walks, hops, skips or jumps toward another person in the classroom, she is coming closer to that person.  She will be able to judge how much space she and her hoop require to navigate around the room without bumping into others.  Or she will be able to tap a woodblock or drum with a mallet.

Studies have suggested a link between a well-developed sense of spatial awareness and artistic creativity, success in math, and the development of abstract thought.  The ability to organize and classify abstract mental concepts is related to the ability to organize and classify objects in space.

The key to promoting spatial awareness in your child is to encourage and allow them to explore their surroundings.  And there’s no better way to inspire that spirit of exploration and learning than in the Kindermusik classroom!

Compiled by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Kindermusik and Your Child: Making Music Together

Kindermusik Class - Music & Learning

When creating music together with others in an ensemble setting, children and adults alike have a better opportunity to experience music with “greater harmonic color, musical depth, variety of sound, and rhythmic complexities” than if they only played alone. Ensemble opportunities like the ones found in Kindermusik class also “stimulate and challenge” self-confidence, imagination, creativity, self-expression, and musical understanding. (Leung 2006)

Kindermusik Class - Making Music Togther

Before you know it, your child will likely want to participate in a team sport, play in a band or orchestra, or sing in a choir. In class we help introduce you and your child to the opportunity to develop and practice the skills that are required to perform in an ensemble, such as:

  • strong self-control – stopping on cue
  • distinguishing between sounds
  • listening for an appropriate entrance on cue
  • timing the participation on cue
  • matching the steady-beat play with an outside sound source, and
  • playing with others on cue

These skills of timing, coordination, and group participation are also essential characteristics for success in sports. Kindermusik is truly so much MORE than just music!

Making Music Together

Making music together is what music is all about! When children learn to contribute their part to a beautiful whole, they have benefited from one of the most important advantages of group instruction. Music becomes even more exciting when children begin to develop a growing awareness of themselves within the context of the group.

For example, in Kindermusik classes, when an Our Time age child moves up to Imagine That, he/she will be both the leader and the follower in ensemble and will have the opportunity to learn all of the basic skills necessary for ensemble participation in Young Child when they enter Kindergarten. This is a truly amazing musical journey, made possible in the early years by the quality time, and fun, productive, musical play in which you engage your child in and out of class.

Compiled by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Thank you, Kindermusik!

Thank You Kindermusik

Thank You KindermusikHere’s a great story from a Kindermusik Parent – we had to share!

Thank you to Fiona & Fiona’s Mommy for posting on the
Family Gathering Forum.

“Remember when I posted about when to start cleanup time with a toddler? I mentioned how in Kindermusik they have a “toys away” song that we sing each time we put materials away. Well, Fiona has recently made the connection and started applying the concept to cleaning up her own toys. She will sing, “put ’em away, put ’em away” and put her toys in the basket. She is still kind of playing at it, because then she will pour them back out and yell, “oh no, Max!” or “Dragon!” – in other words, Max from Max and Ruby is dumping the toys all over the floor, and she has to clean them up all over again. But she is definitely starting to really get the concept of it, which is great!

Also, tonight she used the same strategy when she was done with her dinner. In the past, I have had to really watch for when she was finished, because she would dump it in the floor. But tonight, she started singing that song, put the uneaten food on her plate, handed it to me, and said “tank you!”

I am so proud of her – the first night of Kindermusik when she threw a fit each time we had to put toys away, I had a hard time believing she would get to this point before turning two!”

We would love to hear your great experiences with Kindermusik, please share!