Reminder about NEW Musiconnx Website

If you have found this page through a web search, or if you are still getting this message via email through Feedblitz, please switch your subscription to my new website:    The Feedblitz email notifications will no longer be working.   Come check out my new wordpress website… it is so much more colorful,  fun and easy to navigate.

You can simply use this link to subscribe to my new articles as they are posted:  Subscribe to Musiconnx

I believe you will love the content of my recent articles.  I have enjoyed completing several series on Peaceful Parenting, Roadtrips, Scaffolding, etc.

I am regularly posting information about establishing good FOUNDATIONS OF LEARNING,  letting you know about NOTEABLE NEWS, sharing PARENT PERSPECTIVES, and sharing wonderful pictures in my PORTFOLIO.

Please subscribe and join the fun on this more creative and interactive website.  I look forward to seeing your comments.

Merry Melodies,
Debbie Mondale

Come Follow Me to my new Playground

Thank You stampThanks to those who have been listening !  Come follow me to my new Playground, er… I mean my new highly interactive Website !   I won’t be posting here any more, so we’ll play hide and seek.  Your it !  Come Find ME !  But I’ll give you a big clue !

The ALL NEW Music Connections Website address is VERY easy this time:   

M U S I C O N N X . C O M  

Instead of having TWO places to look for my information, a website and a blog, you can now find everything all in one place, and there is so much more.   All of my previous blog postings are still there, ready for you to SEARCH them out for details on holiday ideas, parenting perspectives, musical connections for children, musical humor, etc.  PLUS, I will be adding more content, more concisely, and more frequently.  And more pictures from classes will be popping up (with permission, of course !)

Catch the essence of the Kindermusik Experience by clicking on one of the pictures in the slide show on the first page.

Follow the weekly blog postings in the following categories:

  • Foundations of Learning
  • Noteable News
  • Parent Perspectives
  • Portfolio

And there are many ways to connect, at whatever level is comfortable for you,  with me, with other Kindermusik families both locally and around the world.  My desire is for you to find inspiration, ideas, and motivation to use music to enhance your daily lives, your child’s development, your relationship with your child, and that you will know where to find us when you are ready for more.

So, sing along if you know the melody,  “Come follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow me.”  Click over to my new website, and click the RSS feed to be notified of each new post.  Or sign up for the e-newsletter to get a weekly overview with links.

Bye Bye for here.  See you on the other site !

Listen Purposefully, Avoid Tuning OUT

We are surrounded by sounds, but how well are we listening to them?   Is there too much so that we “tune out” the sounds, ignoring it like “musak”.   Or can we hear the violins play the melody, and the horns play the ominous chords that helps us feel the building tension in an orchestral piece about a thunderstorm?  Can our children recognize the difference between different types of drums?  We are either training our brain to listen purposefully, or we are training it to “tune out”.

There are so many sounds in our busy world these days that we learn to “tune out” most of the ones that aren’t directly effecting us at the time.  The interplay between our brain and hearing mechanisms that allow us to block out certain sounds is a wonderful ability that our ear has, and is not something that can be duplicated with technology.  Ask anyone with a hearing aid how they miss the ability to choose to focus on one sound, instead of hearing everything at the same level.    This is truly an asset when we are trying to focus on something. 

Yet, if our brain makes it a habit to ignore the background sounds, it lessens our ability to be fully aware of our environment.  That is why it is important that we limit the continuous background sounds in our environment, such as the TV, or even music if played all the time.   I knew a fabulous mom whose 2 girls were involved in Suzuki violin lessons.  As part of the methods for training the ear to hear the right sounds, it is important to listen to this music regularly.  In her zeal, she had this music playing in the background of their room all day and all night… for months.  This is sensory overload, and the brain simply cannot process continuously like that.  She appreciated this new perspective, and chose times to play it that the girls would be receptive to this auditory stimulation; as they were getting ready in the morning, before practicing the violin, and while relaxing before bed.

Families can consider and CHOOSE times that will work best for music to be played in their home, or even in their car.    Play SONGS at a time when you and your child can interact with fun activities, even if singing along and talking about the music in the car.    Play instrumental music while they are coloring or doing some artwork.  OR play soothing music as a child is going to sleep.  Just don’t have sound going on all the time.  The brain needs a break so it can listen with refreshed awareness when it does get a chance.

In order to develop our ability to “tune out” the irrelevant sounds, and to focus on the important sounds, we must PRACTICE active listening.  This means engaging our brain in the active decision to reduce our own sounds and pay attention to the details of specific sounds that we hear.  In class, I suggest rubbing the ear lobes before an active listening opportunity.  This helps stimulate MANY neural connections that help us pay attention and listen.  With practice, a child, when told to listen carefully, will start to rub their earlobes and close their mouth – waiting for the sound.    Music is a wonderful venue for learning to listen with purpose.  There are many things we can listen for: 

  • We can focus on each instrument separately to hear their particular “voice”. 
  • We can try to listen to the words to determine what the song is about, or to learn the words. 
  • We can listen to hear if the music seems happy, soothing, or sad. 
  • We can listen to sounds of real creatures or objects and try to imitate the sounds. 
  • We can listen to patterns in music, anticipating, and making sounds or actions at the right place in the music.  Ex,  If your Happy and you Know It  (clap, clap)  This is the beginning of ensemble development – playing instruments with others.

Practicing active listening provides lifelong benefits. It’s necessary for following directions at home and at school. Preschoolers are developing the ability to notice subtle differences of sound, such as listening to many different styles of drums, and naming that style of drum- something he wasn’t ready to do as a toddler.   

In our Imagine That class this week, and at our Studio Free Play on Saturday, the students were able to feel and hear the sounds of a variety of REAL drums, such as a djembe (African drum), a Native American Pow Wow Drum, and even a SNARE Drum.  They got to feel the curled wires underneath the snare drum.  They made an “ooooh” sound near it, and heard the buzz, and they played with drumsticks on the top. 

This hands-on experience was delightful for all, but even more than that, it has laid a concrete foundation for them to start really HEARING the different timbres of drums.


During some of our movement activities, we are practicing active listening as we listen to how the drum is being played, and try to determine HOW it is telling us to move.  For example, the drum is played with a nice steady beat for “walking”, or a fast steady beat for “running”.   The students listen, and determine HOW to move.

After much practice, they are quite the experts at listening to the sound, and they are READY to use their creative thinking to figure out HOW to make the drum sound like we want others to move. Start with “walk” vs “run”: then explore tiptoe, march, slide, spin. We will continue to explore this in class next week.

So this week, take time together to “put on your listening ears” and discover all the wonderful sounds around you. 

What do you now HEAR that you didn’t really recognize before?  How will you “train your brain”?

Share the Love – First set of Winners

Thanks to all who were the first entries in our Share the Love Give-a-Way !!!  See my previous blog for more details about how to enter, as well as the fun events that are coming up this weekend, like the Kids Night Out on Friday, and the Playdate, and Studio Free Play on Saturday.  Many of the following winners made their comments on the All-Inclusive Registration Form, as they let us know which events they wanted to attend !

There were wonderful comments shared by many families to answer the questions, ” We Love Kindermusik because…”

*******   Here’s some of the fun that our friends had to share:

Don’t know who had more fun with the Sign & Sing class, Mama, Papa or baby!  – Skarrn & Rolando (1)

We love Kindermusik because the programs are developmentally-designed for my children! Everything is age-appropriate, which is wonderful! Miss Debbie is a beautiful teacher! I would not be interested in anyone but her!  –  Amy, Logan (5), and Mya (2)

See the picture she put on the Music Connections Facebook Page !  The funny part is that each child is playing the instrument that the OTHER one got in their classes.  Happy little musicians !  (Ms. Debbie’s comments)

My son and I have only been to two classes but we fall in love with it more each time. With having more then one child it’s nice to spend some one on one time while still learning and having fun with others!  –  Nikki  & Guage (20 months)

Aidan loves kindermusik! The classes have not only helped him develop confidence. The music has opened a whole new venue for communication. He looks forward to learning and participating in new things.  –  Jillyan & Aidan (2)

I don’t think Emery has ever been as entranced by a song as he has been by the Jack-in-the-Box song this semester.  He listens to it over and over and over.  We are now trying to figure out how to make one of our own–I found a really cool idea today…hopefully, we’ll have something to show you soon.   Emery insisted on putting our Kindermusik decal on our glass door, like yours is at class.  We would also love to put one on our car, if you have any more.  –  Jaime & Emery (3)

I love learning how to play a new instrument !     – Mattie (6)

*********   Awww… thanks everyone !  *******************

Drum Roll… please….   And the winners are… randomly generated !

In order to effectively use a random system to determine the winners, I used .  All persons qualified to enter were included in the drawing before making the final draw.

See the details of the give-a-way, AND a list of the winners by clicking the link.


Thanks for Sharing the LOVE !

There will be additional drawings in our Share the LOVE week at InTune Studios.  Check the details on the blog posting:  Share the Love Week  Then take YOUR opportunity to Share the Love for Kindermusik, Music, and Art at InTune Studios, and get a chance to win one of our fabulous prizes…  like the cool Gertie Ball, or a $40 gift certificate for Kindermusik Tuition !

We Love Kindermusik Slide Show

Some of my favorite pictures from the Fall 2011 semester was used to make this slide show that shows the LOVE in these Kindermusik classes.  It made me cry when I saw and heard it all put together with the music.  I hope you love it as well.


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“Share the Love” and get a chance to win a prize

People around the world are sharing their love !   “We LOVE Kindermusik Week” is being celebrated around the world.   Here at InTune Studios, we are extending the love to include our music and art lessons… and our students ! 

We LOVE YOU because YOU allow us to see music and art blossom in the hearts and minds of your children.  It is why we do what we do.  

We invite you to share in this celebration of love for Kindermusik, music, and art !   Every week, many families share with us why they love our programs, and we just want to share these wonderful stories with everyone !

Check out “Kids and Parents Love Kindermusik because…” or this We Love Kindermusik Video

SHARE the LOVE you have for Kindermusik, Music, and/or Art at InTune Studios, through your comments, stories, art work, and/or pictures of your adorable musical child and family.

Each time you do, Feb. 3 – 18th, you will be entered to win one of the prizes we are offering:

EACH of the following gets you a separate entry in this Share the Love give-a-way:

  • LIKE our Facebookpage, and Post your comments, and/or pictures of your adorable musical or artistic children:
    • Music Connections Like us on Facebook
    • InTune Studios Like us on Facebook
    • Lakeland Kids Art & Violin Like us on Facebook
  • Add your comments and/or pictures to the comment section of THIS BLOG POST !
  • Email your comments and/or pictures to .
  • Add your comments on our ALL-Inclusive Form, as you register for a Share the Love Event.  For more details about our Kindermusik Playdates, InTune Studios FREE PLAY, or the Friday Night Music and Art Kids Night Out, see the newsletter
  • Decorate your vehicle with one of our We LOVE Kindermusik window clings and show Ms. Debbie (take a picture and send it to me via text, email, post on my FB page, or drag me out to look at it !)  Everyone participating in any Kindermusik class last week or this week will get a free We Love Kindermusik window cling.  You just have to clean a small space on your car and apply it !
  • Decorate your “We Love Kindermusik” Coloring Page (given in class) and bring it to class so I can hang it up on my wall!
  • Join us during the Studio FREE PLAY and:
    • make a video of your family as you share your family’s thoughts, story, or a favorite song.
    • Create some Wall Art for our Studio sharing why you love music and/or art at our studio

Prizes to be awarded during EACH of the FREE PLAY events – to be chosen from all entries that are NOT online: 

  • 2 Kindermusik Ball Prizes – choose Gertie Ball or Village Chime Ball
  • 2 Art Sets including paints and brushes, etc.
  • 2 Best of Kindermusik CDs (or may choose download of 10 songs)
  • ONE Special Do-Re-Me & You Music Set – (choice of 3 options shown at the studio)

Prizes to be Awarded on Feb. 19th to be chosen from all online entries: 

  • 3 FREE FAMILY PASSES that can be used for ANY:
  •        –   Kindermusik Playdate, including materials  (offered monthly)
  •        –   InTune Studios Music and Art Kids Night Out  (offered monthly)
  •        –   InTune Studios MUSIC or ART Workshop  (part of summer schedule)
  • $40 Gift Certificate for Tuition for any Kindermusik program, including Summer Camps

So… now is a great time to make your first entry.  Comment on this blog post to share your thoughts and/or post a picture of your musical family.

FIRST Observe – Start where the child IS

“I See YOU!”  “Look what you are doing…”  “Wow, that looks fun, I want to try it.”  These phrases are TREASURES in a parent’s tool box.  Every child LOVES to be noticed.  How many times do you hear “Watch ME!”  Every child LOVES to be recognized for what they CAN do, or what they HAVE DONE already.  Every child feels more competent when a significant adult in their life wants to copy them.   These all start with the most important part of connecting with and teaching your child, to watch closely, OBSERVE.



Oftentimes, we as parents are in the position of giving our child directions.  Sometimes our children are exploring or learning something new, “Stack the blocks like this.”   Other times, it is due to our schedule, or daily routine. “Sarah, it is time to brush teeth, and get ready for bed.” And other times, we find them needing to solve a problem, “Let me help you.”   Many times we find it easier and faster just to quickly give directions or solve the problem ourselves.  

Aaah, but connecting and teaching take time…  and it starts with the time to observe and recognize. 

Observing starts by simply stopping and WAITING to see what they are doing, or what they will do.   It is certainly human nature to start showing examples when a new object is given to explore, or giving directions first.  Try this.  Do it like this.  But then we don’t get to observe what the child already knows, or, for that matter, what they can teach themselves.   Over 100 years ago, Maria Montessori found out, by intent observation, that given the opportunity, children are very capable of teaching themselves a great many things.  As adults, it is our responsibility to provide them that opportunity and wait to see what they can teach themselves, and to provide just enough support to help that process along.

Recognizing means that somehow we share with the child that we see and care about what they are doing, without judging them.  Sometimes this is through using our words to DESCRIBE (which supports their language skills).  “Sally, I see you tapping your rhythm sticks together end to end.”  Sometimes it may just be letting them see you COPY them.  Someone(?) said, “The best compliment someone could give you is to copy you.”  Without any words at all, the child knows that they are SEEN and RECOGNIZED.  Sometimes it may be a little of both. 

Without judgement means that we refrain from making a vague statement like “Good Job.”  Not that it is a bad thing to say, but that it is not clear what was done well, AND that it infers that the importance is on the parent’s evaluation that it was “good”.  When a parent says, “You did it !  You placed the sticks in the shape of a V !”, the child is able to take ownership of the act, and be proud of himself for doing so.  Ultimately, the child’s inner motivation is what will get her down the path to success.

A whole different benefit to these parenting skills was an eye-opening kick in the pants to me.   I had been having problems with transitions, getting my child to do what I wanted or needed them to do NEXT.  And it specifically was significant when I approached him when he was involved in an activity independently.  My son would be playing his room with his Legos, and I would come in and ask him to wash his hands for dinner.  A fairly simple request really, but it was met with reluctance and procrastination.  After reading much about parenting through Becky Bailey, I learned that my son is heavily invested in what he is doing at that moment.  It is important that I recognize the hard work in which he is engaged.  His mind is busy designing, problem solving, and creating.  Washing hands for dinner seems so insignificant in comparison to the processes currently at work in his mind.  So, it is important to take the time to start the conversation where his mind is presently.  “Wow, look what you are doing with those legos !  You have made some sort of flying machine.  I can see the wings are jutting out here and here.  Tell me more.”   OH, what a difference a few minutes of observing and recognizing can make !!!  Sharing out loud what is “on the table at the moment” allows for a winding down of the brain process, and an openess to what may be next.

This works for young children as well, even those who are unable to talk.  When they are engaged with a toy or activity, the few minute a parent takes to patiently watch, and then describe gives them WORDS to pair with what they are doing, lets them know that there is respect for their ability to focus, and that what they can do for themselves is recognized.  THIS is the starting point for teaching, ie. expanding on their current interest,  or for transitioning to another activity. 

Without getting into a lot of details, the same skills are exceedingly important when a child is faced with a challenge or a problem to solve.  Wait; watch what they will do; ask them questions to help them assess the situation effectively.  If intense emotions are observed, the best support is to allow them (or yourself) the opportunity to find a quiet place to calm down before they tackle the task of solving the problem.  ANYONE who is too emotionally distraught cannot solve problems effectively.  A chemical in the brain screams to fight or avoid – not solve.   When cooler heads prevail, approach the problem like a puzzle, allow them to, or help them describe the pieces of the issue without emotion, wait and listen, and encourage a creative list of solutions, from those based in fantasy, to those based in reality.

A parent’s time to observe and recognize helps children feel confident and competent, and eager to try more things, and more able to solve their own problems.   And it helps US, as their primary teachers, know where to start with the teaching process, and how to support their own abilities to teach themselves.   It is the beginning of the incredibly effective method of teaching called scaffolding, which we will be talking about more over time.

These parenting skills do not necessarily come naturally.  I consider myself a good parent, yet I have to continually focus to ensure that I WAIT and OBSERVE before giving directions (so hard for me at times, esp. in our busy schedule !).  Before I approach my independently engaged child, I often have to give myself a Becky Baily Pep Talk to OBSERVE and CONNECT first !   When my child is struggling with a challenge, it is hard to be patient and let them come up with the solution themselves.  It is an ongoing challenge not to blurt out “Good Job”.

BUT, EVERY TIME I do it RIGHT…  Every time I take the time to Observe and Recognize…  Every time I DESCRIBE instead of Judge…   I SEE how my children respond so well to it, and I KNOW that it is worth the continual effort.  It does get easier.  Just like learning to play an instrument, practice makes perfect.

Do you have a story to share about how observing your child FIRST made a difference?