Kindermusik 30-year veteran and guru Carol Penney shares some thoughts on music in a five-day, five part series.
Isn’t it amazing how fast these children in Kindergarten and First Grade are learning, gaining new skills and loving all they can do on their own? It’s easy (and frequently, a relief) to let them do just that – proceed on their own – especially with a younger sibling at hand.
I frequently wore the cloak of guilt that surrounds the issue of quality time v. quantity time. I remember stretching the definition of “quality” to include inviting my son to sit at the kitchen table and play a song on his glockenspiel (a simple barred instrument with the musical notes of a scale) while I cooked dinner, emptied the dish-washer, cleaned out the moldy containers in the refrigerator and made tomorrow’s lunches.
The best gift you can give anyone is presence – unencumbered attention and participation, connecting with what they are saying, doing, learning, enjoying. When a young child senses that something is important to you, important enough for you to invest your authentic and full attention, it gains in value, energy, and enjoyment.
“Let’s play our recorders!” (Because I purchased one, too, and love that he is teaching me what he is learning.)
“Play one note of a song and let me guess which one it is.” (Turn any new skill into a game that’s both fun and challenging. Keep requesting the addition of another note until you can you guess the song – or until he’s played the whole song!)
“Time for Bernie’s (our golden retriever) concert.” (Schedule a regular time everyday to practice a new skill. The rewards of mastery alongside the life lesson of the importance of practice will pay off in all aspects of life – in sports, in spelling, in music, in everything!)
If you feel you don’t have the skill necessary to participate in musical activities with your child, enroll in a class, like Kindermusik, that provides the knowledge and guidance you might be looking for. Many parents graduate from Kindermusik with their own new musical skills!
-Carol Penney, Kindermusik educator and employee-owner