7 Musical Ways to Make Your Holidays Less Stressful

7 Musical Ways

You don’t plan for it to happen, but sometimes the stress creeps in over the holidays.  And your children, being the sensitive little souls that they are, often feel it too, whether they can articulate it or not. So how can you make the holidays a little easier and more enjoyable?  We’re delighted to share seven musical ways to make your holidays less stressful – for you and your child.

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Educator Spotlight: Marie Kusters

Marie Kusters

Lovingly known as “Mrs. Marie” or “Madame Marie” to the children in her Kindermusik classes, Marie Kusters has been bringing Kindermusik into the hearts and homes of children and families in Ottawa, Ontario at Mieke Musike Music Studio for over 24 years now.  Marie is a dedicated educator and accomplished musician, with a heart not only for her own Kindermusik families, but also for her Kindermusik colleagues.  She has served as a Kindermusik Faculty Member, a Kindermusik Mentor, and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas as well as the Suzuki Association of Ontario.  She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of music in a way that her families describe as loving, nurturing, and encouraging.  Anyone who has been around Marie Kusters for very long at all will agree — to know Marie is to be inspired by her…. and “Mr. Marie” too (aka, Marie’s husband, Doug)!  

Continue reading “Educator Spotlight: Marie Kusters”

The Surprising Reasons Why Grownups Love Kindermusik Too

Grownups Kindermusik

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]All you have to do is look around the classroom during a Kindermusik class, and you’ll see why children love Kindermusik so much — from beloved class routines to pint-sized friends to favorite instruments to that teacher they absolutely adore.  Look a little closer, and you’ll notice that the adults are really loving “their” Kindermusik too.  Here are some of the surprising reasons why.


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Theresa Case
Theresa Case changing lives!

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You’ll Receive Great Parenting Support

This support comes in many different packages.  Sometimes it’s that hug of empathy when your child is having a bit of a rough day.  Sometimes it’s that spontaneous celebratory cheer of delight when your child takes his first steps in class.  Sometimes it’s sharing the joy as another child sings for the first time.  Sometimes it’s that interesting fact about child development or that musical tip you can take home with you.  And then at home, you can find all kinds of musical parenting insight and support through the Home Materials.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

You’ll have a Social Outlet, Too

Let’s face it.  Parenting a young child can be lonely sometimes.  It’s tough work too.  And that’s why so many adults tell us that they look forward to coming to Kindermusik as much as their child does!  In class, Kindermusik parents meet other adults with children – and challenges – that are similar.  And there’s nothing that inspires community and connection more than the circle dances and social activities that are built into every class.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

You’ll Gain Tremendous Insight into your Child’s Heart and Mind

There’s something about being in a music class with a proven curriculum that’s been so carefully rooted in child development.  Being in a Kindermusik class opens various windows of understanding as you observe your child in the weekly class setting, interacting with other children and adults, participating and engaging in his/her own way, and even listening to the teacher.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Grownups
Theresa Case teaches her Kindermusik classes with love and a boundless energy.

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You’ll Know – or be Able to Adapt – a Song for Nearly Every Situation

From the “toys away” song to that one lullaby that works every time, you’ll have a whole playlist of songs and rhymes to make day-to-day routines and transitions a little easier.  Best of all, these will be the kinds of songs you’ll enjoy singing – songs that bring a smile, soothe, distract, or inspire play.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

You’ll Feel Really Good about Being Able to Enjoy an Activity with your Child that has Such a Lifelong Impact

It isn’t every day that the things you do with your child can strengthen your heart ties with each other or create the feelings of connection and stability that being in Kindermusik does.  And knowing that you are fostering a lifelong love of both music and learning makes being in Kindermusik all the more special.

You might think that you enrolled your child in Kindermusik because the Kindermusik experience is so good for him or her.  But after over 30 years of bringing children and families together in the Kindermusik classroom to enjoy and make music together, we can say with confidence that Kindermusik is just as good for the grownups who participate as it is for the children they bring to class each week.


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case who has had the joy of making a difference with Kindermusik in the lives and hearts of children and families at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina for nearly 25 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What Makes Kindermusik So Compelling to Children

Children

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It’s More Than Just Instruments!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s the cutest thing to watch even a very young baby’s first responses to music and being in a Kindermusik class.  As Kindermusik educators, we have the incredible privilege of observing these young children very closely so that we can most effectively adapt and personalize the activities we teach in our Kindermusik classes.  What we have come to know about how and why Kindermusik resonates with children so strongly might surprise you.  It really is about more than just the instruments… though they do take great delight in the bells, drums, and egg shakers![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

children
Photographed by Thomas | © 2016 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

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Children Love the Predictable Routines in Kindermusik

Kindermusik classes are purposely designed to have a predictably comfortable flow of activities in every lesson, although there are always happy surprises and new challenges along with the repeated activities.  The routines help children feel secure, because they know what to expect, and the new things not only help keep their brains firing and making new learning connections, but also add to the excitement and joy that fills every class.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Children
Photographed by Thomas | © 2016 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

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Children Thrive on the Musical Bonding with Their Grown-ups

Ask any empty nester, and they’ll tell you wistfully that those early years go by oh-too-quickly.  So while the children absolutely adore the together time and common experience of Kindermusik with their favorite grown-up, Kindermusik gives the adults in class a chance to linger in the precious moments of early childhood just a little bit longer.  The shared memories of class time become an integral part of the happy memories of childhood.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Children Blossom as They Gain Confidence in a Group Class Setting

The beautiful thing about a Kindermusik class is the mix – the mix of personalities, learning styles, and ages in any given level.  Quieter children learn from the more outgoing children.  Visual learners become more willing to explore alongside their physically interactive peers.  Older children unconsciously take on the role as leader when the younger children move up to their same level.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Children Benefit from the Social Elements of Kindermusik class.

Even if children cannot put it into words, making friends and gaining life skills through the social interactions in every Kindermusik class are a big part of why they look forward to each weekly class.  It’s truly a beautiful thing to see many children start in Kindermusik as babies and then go on to graduate from Kindermusik together.

Every child who participates in Kindermusik classes on a consistent basis will unquestionably be a more musical, well-rounded, confident child.  But it’s really what happens in their hearts and minds as a result of being in Kindermusik that creates such a compelling, lasting, memorable, and delightful experience for them…and for their grown-ups.


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case who has loved bringing children and families together for over 20 years now in her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Emilie Gaschke

Educator spotlight

You can’t be around Emilie for long without sensing her deep love for children and her absolute belief in the power of Kindermusik, something that led her to begin her Kindermusik business and became a licensed Kindermusik educator in 2010.  Lovingly known as “Miss Emmy,” Emilie’s families describe her as patient, kind, fun, and energetic.  Her enthusiasm for teaching music is absolutely infectious, as evidenced by how Emilie’s Kindermusik program has grown and thrived since she first opened Kindermusik with Emilie.  Emilie not only inspires a love of music in the children and families in her program, but she also supports and inspires her Kindermusik colleagues as a member of the SOUND Board, an advisory committee and professional organization for Kindermusik educators.


TC: What makes your studio, Kindermusik with Emilie, so special?
EG: Our studio is bright, cheery, full of laughter and joy, with teachers who genuinely enjoy what they do and love the families in their classes. Love and joy comes through in everything we do at our studio and our families see it and see that our studio is a special place.

TC: Every Kindermusik educator seems to have at least one favorite Kindermusik song to sing. What’s your favorite?
EG: I would have to say “Love Somebody.” I like to sing it slowly when I’m introducing this song to the families in my class so they can really take time to connect with their little one and it’s usually how I sing it to my own little ones. But it’s also fun to put on the fast, recorded version and dance along as well.

TC: And how about your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?
EG: This is a hard one as I have many favorites! But my top ones would be “Mama Paquita” and “Shoo Fly.“

TC: What’s your favorite part of teaching Kindermusik?
EG: Seeing the growth and transformation in children from week to week. Oftentimes a child will come in very shy, hesitant, and unsure and within just a couple of weeks (sometimes sooner even!) they are running into the classroom eager and excited to be there. Also, seeing the joy on parent’s faces as they see the change and growth in their child. There’s nothing better.

TC: If you had to name just one secret to success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?
EG: I know it sounds cliché’ but for me, success in the classroom comes from me being in the moment. I try not to think too much about what’s coming next in the lesson plan and just completely enjoying what’s happening in that moment and noticing the “little things” that are going on. Being in the moment allows me to truly focus on my families and being well prepared allows me to be in the moment and not stress about what’s coming next.

TC: What’s one of the most touching things that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?
EG: I could share many individual stories here as well, but what has been the most touching that I’ve been able to witness is watching the kindness of our families. Each year in February we collect hundreds of new pairs of socks for a women and children’s shelter in our city and in the spring we do a food drive and collect non-perishable food items for a homeless shelter. I’ve also had families donate money to help pay for Kindermusik classes for families who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Our families are some of the most kind and generous people I’ve ever met.

TC: You’ve mentioned having a special Kindermusik family that really impacted you as a teacher. Can you share a little more about them?
EG: I have many Kindermusik families who are special to me and have become like family, but one family that will always have a special place in my heart is a family who was one of my first families ever enrolled in my program 7 years ago. They enrolled in a Village class when the little boy was 15 months old and last May he was in my first ever Young Child graduating class. He’s the first child to go all the way through my program and graduate and he and his family are some of my biggest fans. And now his younger brother is enrolled in my YC class this fall!

TC: What do you feel has made your studio business a success?
EG: I would say being willing to try different things to find what works best for our studio and thinking big. If you name it, we’ve probably done it and if it worked we’re still doing it but if it didn’t we’ve moved on quickly. Nowhere does it say that you have to keep doing the same old, same old. If it works, fantastic! If it doesn’t, it’s time to move on and find what does.

Educator SpotlightTC: What are some of the goals you have for your studio business?
EG: My goals for my business would be to continue to grow to reach more and more families in our community with the specialness that is Kindermusik. I also want our studio to become a place that our community sees as the “go-to” place for early childhood learning. We’re getting there!

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?
EG: After renting classroom space for the past 7 years, an amazing opportunity presented itself and on July 24th we purchased a beautiful, 5,000 square foot building for our Kindermusik Studio! We now have 2 Kindermusik classrooms, a coat and shoe room, a waiting room, an office, a playroom, smaller rooms for private voice and instrument lessons, a full basement for storage as well as a kitchen! Our Grand Opening at our new studio was September 11th and we are LOVING our new space! I am so grateful for God’s provision in giving us this amazing building. This will allow us to offer so much more for our Kindermusik families and community, from private music lessons to Kindermusik birthday parties to much more in the future. The possibilities are endless!

TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?
EG: Know your value and don’t apologize for it. When I was first starting out I would practically apologize for what I was charging for classes. I was nervous people couldn’t/wouldn’t pay what I needed and I was nervous to talk about tuition costs. That changed one day when a parent overheard me talking with another parent who was trying out the class. She sent me an email later that day listing child-related activities in our area and what they were charging. She pointed out that we were right on track for and told me to be confident in talking to parents about costs because our classes were worth it. That was life-changing for me.

TC:  I think I already know the answer to this one, but what are some of your hobbies?
EG:  I used to have lots of hobbies but to be honest, the last year especially has been focused on my family and my business. After 12 years of marriage, God blessed my husband and I with our daughter who we adopted in January of this year. She just turned 1 in August and she is the sweetest little blessing you will ever meet. Then on August 1st, we welcomed into our home a little baby boy who we are fostering. Life with a 1-year-old and 2-month old is both exhausting and rewarding all at the same time, and while running a business and being a Mama to two little ones definitely has its challenges, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.


Shared by Theresa Case who has loved bringing children and families together for over 20 years now in her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina.


Interested in learning more about Kindermusik University, starting a new Kindermusik business, or adding Kindermusik to your existing business? Just fill out the quick form below. We look forward to seeing you in our next training class!


Book Review: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Book Review

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In this touching and triumphant rhyme of a story, we meet Gerald, a giraffe who sadly believes what the other animals have always told him – that giraffes can’t dance.  His legs are too long, his neck is too skinny, and his knees are too crooked.

“Hey, look at clumsy Gerald,”
the animals all sneered.
“Giraffes can’t dance, you silly fool!
Oh, Gerald, you’re so weird.”

He leaves the Jungle Dance in utter defeat until his path crosses with an insightful little violin-playing cricket who offers a different perspective… and a solution.

“Excuse me!” coughed a cricket
who’d seen Gerald earlier on.
“But sometimes when you’re different
you just need a different song.”

 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]book review[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The compassionate cricket begins playing his violin and suddenly, Gerald realizes… he is DANCING!  Soon the other animals gather round and witness the incredible transformation.  Animals who before scoffed and taunted are now applauding Gerald as the “best dancer that we’ve ever, ever seen!”  As Gerald finishes his dance with a flourish, he says, “We can all dance… when we find music that we love.”

In other words, we are all unique and have something special we can do – which sometimes is something that others don’t expect or think we can do.  But all we need is a little confidence and encouragement.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]book review[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With vibrant illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees and an engagingly lilting rhyme written by author Giles Andreae, Giraffes Can’t Dance engages the reader from the very first page and then tugs at the heartstrings because of the teasing and bullying that Gerald endures.  It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and audiobook formats. This is a lovely story not only to teach children the power of words, but also other important life lessons like helping others, kindness, resilience, acceptance, empathy, and compassion.


This review was contributed by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program has been making a difference in the lives of upstate South Carolina children and families for nearly 25 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music as Medicine: Good for Mental Health

music as medicine

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You might know the classic song from Mary Poppins with the line, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”  Well, we’d like to propose that music can be wonderful medicine, especially when it comes to enhancing our mental health.  Let’s explore a few of the many reasons why music is so good for our minds and hearts.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLkp_Dx6VdI”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Increases Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that affects our emotions, behavior, attention, learning, feelings of pleasure and pain, and even our movements.  Research studies have demonstrated that listening to music can increase dopamine levels significantly, providing a documented link between the enjoyment of music and our overall well-being.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Provides an Outlet for Self-expression

The famous quote by Hans Christian Andersen says it best, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Music can help even young children understand how they feel and give them a way to express those feelings, even at a young age.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music makes us smile!
Music makes us smile!

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Music Can Help us Relax

In our fast-paced, busy lives, we all need to deliberately make time to just relax and do nothing.  This is especially true for young children and precisely why our Kindermusik classes include listening and quiet time activities with beautiful, gentle music.

Music Can Enhance our Ability to Focus

Sometimes tired or distracted minds just need a little boost, and the right kind of music can do just that.  Classical music and music with no lyrics playing softly in the background does wonders for increasing attention span and improving the brain’s processing efficiency.

Music Connects us with Others

Especially when you share a musical experience with others, like a Kindermusik class, music brings people together and creates opportunities for meaningful social interaction.  In Kindermusik, we purposely include Meet-and-Greet dances and Circle Songs to build a strong sense of friendship and belonging.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][blockquote cite=”Ludwig van Beethoven”]“Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit.” [/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Motivates Us

When you’re feeling tired or unmotivated, or you have a child who has trouble getting going, turn on some lively, happy music so that you can help but feel energized! For young children, a routine of using music to get up and going or to make a car ride go faster can make all the difference.

The bottom line?  Music is great medicine! Music has the power to soothe, to inspire, to energize, and so much more, contributing significantly to the health of our mental and emotional well-being, both as children and as adults. The well-known classical composer Ludwig Beethoven put it beautifully, “Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit.”   [/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][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]