Sing Peace Around the World

My 5 year old daughter has been singing a beautiful song about peace that she learned at school (Lakeland Montessori).  From the teacher’s weekly email, I followed a link to find all the words, and found a lot more than that.  This song travelled the world in 24 hours – on the International Day of Peace – Sept. 21, 2009.

Sing Peace Around the World dove of Peace

Light a candle for peace,
Light a candle for love,
Light a candle that shines,
All the way around the world.

Light a candle for me,
Light a candle for you,
That our wish for world peace,
Will one day come true

Sing Peace Around the World  (4 times)

This simple song (not rock, pop, or jazz) is being sung by millions of children around the world, and is serving many purposes.  

In this song, this calming melody and these heartfelt words, children are introduced to the idea of peace – placing in their heart a desire to live in a peaceful way.  Throughout the year, during each Montessori school day, they learn specific ways to spend their time peacefully and productively.  They also learn to resolve conflict in peaceful ways.  We all need this.

Children singing in unison create a strong feeling as being a part of a unified group.  This instills a feeling of belonging, and a feeling of a group purpose.  These feelings help children be strong emotionally, and to feel safe.  This allows their psyche to be free of stress and worry so they can concentrate their energies on learning; independently, and from each other.   The same processes occur in our Kindermusik class room as we sing together, and enjoy circle dances with each other.  

The same processes can also occur within the family as you sing together at home or in the car.  These songs you sing together help you share your values with your children, and help the bonds between the family members become strong, creating memories strong enough to last a whole lifetime, and help children overcome life obstacles.

As children realize that the song they are singing is also being sung by children in so many different countries, they start increasing their awareness of, and feeling connected to the rest of the world.  Cora and I enjoyed seeing the videos of children around the world singing the SAME song, and, of course, after a bit of listening, we sang along (when in English).  Her vision of the world is so much larger than mine was a the same age.  The Montessori system is fully developed in countries all over the world, and this world vision is an important part of each child’s ongoing education – at every age level.  We are very fortunate to have such a quality school in our community.

Kindermusik also had a larger world vision.  Cultural music from around the world has been studied and collected, and added to the compilations of quality music on the CDs parents take home, as well as to the curriculum of our class activities.   Kindermusik classes are being taught in 60 different countries, and our semesters coincide.  For example, the Our Time class (toddlers)  is now enjoying the Wiggles and Giggles semester, no matter where you live.  Children in Germany, Canada, South Africa, and Japan are all enjoying moving and dancing with their partners singing “Love Somebody, Yes I do!”

Music truly can make a difference and create a positive impact on people, on so many different levels:  personal, family, community, and globally.   That’s why I am so glad that my daughter is part of the Montessori learning methods.  That is also why I named my business Music Connections, and started teaching Kindermusik over 11 years ago.

Do something special with your child.  Learn this song together, and sing it with all your heart.  Sing it as a family.  Talk about children all over the world singing the same song.  Watch a few of the videos and feel connected.  Together, learn to live in peaceful ways, and share this with others.  Soon, we may all be Singing Peace Around the World.

Do you have a favorite song of peace that you sing with your children?  Please Comment and Share which song helps your family connect and feel at peace.

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Build Connections and Peace through Music

In so many ways, music allows us to connect, within ourselves, our family, our community, and our world.  That’s why I do what I do.  See my philosophy for creating Music Connections .   My “Summer Series” blog postings will feature unique ways to connect to through music  – for everyone.  The tab at the top will link them all.

This video highlights the ability for music to make global connections, and the discussion encourages what you can do with  it to further connect with your family, and the world, through music.

A street musician in California, Roger Riddley, was just playing for change, but he played his heart out and offered music that uplifts the soul.   He didn’t know it would inspire a worldwide movement for peace through music.

This beautiful rendition of Stand By Me (by Ben E. King) was recognized for its potential to connect.  The recording of Riddley’s music was offered to musicians (see headphones)  around the world (names & countries included), and their unique voices and instruments were added to the original sound track to create a truly amazing feeling of unity.  

When you watch this video with your children, consider engaging them with some of these options:

  1.  Point out the instrument that each musician is using (including their voice).  You can even pretend to play that kind of instrument.
  2. Read the names of the musicians and where they are from.  If you have a map of the world, jot down all the countries and try to find them on the map.  Place a little piece of playdough on each country, and see how far this music connected people.
  3. Learn the words to this song and sing it along with your family.  This song can actually become a ritual in your family, and its ability to connect you to each other may be able to help through tough times.  Due to copyright laws, I cannot provide the words here, but they are online at LyricWiki.
  4. Learn about PLAYING FOR CHANGE, a “multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music”  This introduction, http://www.playingforchange.com/journey/introduction , shares the story, and connects you to their website so you can learn how to be a part of this amazing movement.  The video on this page explains the heart of the movement and includes one of the best versions of Bob Marley’s “One Love” (I cried because it was so heartwarming.)
  5. Watch this cute video of how baby Eli responds to the music as he is watching the Stand By Me video.

How does YOUR child respond to this music and video ?

What matters most

Recent experiences have created sort of a LIFE SHIFT for me.  I know most people re-evaluate at the beginning of each year, set new goals.  I was just too overwhelmed during the last few months. (Thus the lack of blog postings – sorry!)  It has led me to be guided a little differently. 

Instead of writing a To Do list, I am compelled to start each day asking,

“What Matters Most?”

Instead of MORE, I am looking for LESS.  So again, I have to ask,

“What Matters Most?”

Instead of trying to micro-manage my children, I step back and think,

“What Matters Most?”

Instead of trying to do everything that I think everyone wants, I am wondering,

“What Matters Most?”

SO, if you see my blog looking / feeling / being a little different.  Please know that it is guided by my asking that question repeatedly.  And I want to know What Matters Most to you.

I will continue to add blog postings with enhancements that I feel expand the world of music to my students and families, as well as anyone else who comes across it and enjoys the information. 

I will no longer be posting information here to ANNOUNCE my upcoming Kindermusik programs.  I am using Constant Contact to send e-newsletters.  It is simply not efficient to try to design the information in both places.  If you want to subscribe to my e-newsletters, please contact me at musiconnx@att.net .

There is basic information about the classes offered in Lakeland and Winter Haven in the Pages listed across the top and on the left side of this blog.  And the Calendar lists all dates for the classes and events that we schedule.

I WILL be adding posting concerning things that touch my heart, things I feel “Matter Most” to me, to my customers, and to those who love their children and want to offer them the best of themselves.  Hopefully, I can find and share things that will give you ideas and inspire you to do just that. 

To be the best parent I can be to my family, and to inspire others to do the same, that’s at the top of my list of What Matters Most! 

As a Kindermusik customer of mine, I would LOVE to hear “What Matters Most” to you and your family.   I am happy to put forth my best efforts to provide my families with information, ideas, and inspiration through emails, e-newsletters, blogs, pictures, etc., as long as it important to you.  Finding out What Matters Most to you will help me spend my time on the services you want the most. 

  • Obviously, the first element is providing an excellent classroom experience.  That will NEVER be compromised.  
  • The home materials from Kindermusik International are of the highest quality, and based on the best research in the areas of music development and child development. I’ve done the research:  These materials, and this curriculum, are the BEST that are available to offer you. 
  • I will continue to send weekly emails to help families recognize some of the developmental issues that are going on in class, and how to help facilitate this learning at home.
  • I would LOVE to find out more about What Matters Most to you as far as the rest goes, so I’ll be sending brief email surveys.  Please take the time to complete those, so I can use my time most efficiently in providing the BEST service for you and your family.  OF COURSE, you can email or call me directly with ANY Thoughts you have on the subject.

If you don’t hear from me as often, I am most likely finding What Matters Most with my own family.  I hope you are doing the same.

Why MUSIC works to help children learn.

I am frequently asked why music works so well with children.  As a music therapist, Kindermusik educator, and mother of two, there are just so many ways to answer that question, citing research etc.  But in my OWN words, THIS is a short version of why I believe so strongly in the power of music – for it’s innate responses it provokes in the human body, and the fact that it lends itself so well to be used as a powerful tool, in coordination with loving guidance.

 A child learns best when they enjoy the process of learning, and desire comes from within the child themselves.  Music and movements that spark enthusiasm in a child makes the whole learning process FUN, and the desire to repeat the process comes from within.   

Neurologically speaking, as the initial synapses occur, forming a bridge of knowledge in a child’s brain, strong emotions are “attached” to this connection.  Negative emotions, such as coercion or punishment, cause a child to want to avoid that situation.  Positive parental attention, paired with music and movements they LOVE, establish a pattern of positive emotions connected with what they are learning, and cause the child to desire continued repetitions of these skills. 

 Continued positive repetitions of skills leads to ritualistic habits, and the child is eventually able to generalize these skills to a variety of situations where they can perform them independently.  

The greatest piece of advice I have is that it is so important to recognize that each child has their OWN personality.  It is our job as parents to learn and nuture these unique personalities, finding out what “makes them tick”, and setting up their environment and our responses to meet their unique needs.   

Music & the Developing Brain

I love the way Julee Kowalis describes how a child’s brain works, and how music can be such a powerful influence.

 Catch this part:  As a child participates in a stimulating activity, it establishes new neural connections.  Each time they repeat the activity, it strengthens this connection.  These neural connections include ALL kinds of development.   Musical activities engage multiple senses at once, establishing and strengthening these developmental skills.

As a degreed Music Therapist, and through my further studies I would also at at least one important thing.  Music includes a positive emotional element, these positive feelings bond with the learning, strengthening it even more, and making it so the child desires to repeat these learning activities over and over again.  Just ask any child who has participated in a “pony ride” lap bounce activity, and the adult who has sore legs due to the amount of repetition required.  “Do it again, Do it again!”

Molly McGuinn – “I AM Kindermusik”

At the last Kindermusik Conference, I was fortunate to meet Molly McGuinn, one of the staff at Kindermusik International.  I just want to share with you the kind of philosophy and commitment that is prevalent at the headquarters of this company. 

 littlemolly.jpg         http://mollyskindermusik.blogspot.com 

Molly has her own BLOG, which I frequent regularly, as it is filled with unique  pictures, videos, and brief comments about Kindermusik, community outreach, and other very interesting topics.      (If you liked my comments about Dr. John Rosemund, you will love hers.)   In a comment on one of her posts, a coworker included an earlier response Molly had made to answer a question, and I had to share it with you.  It’s a story, and a philosophy that bears repeating.

“When people ask where I work, I have no problem, in fact I am proud, to say Kindermusik. Then I usually follow it up by saying Kindermusik not only hired me, they “rescued” me.

I spent four years chasing a career in newspapers trying to balance the dream of being a journalist and a singer. It was almost impossible. Newsroom hours never end. There was little to no time for music and my inner creative spirit was withering like a little raisin. But I didn’t want to stop writing for newspapers. I believed and still believe in newspapers and the community purpose they serve. I didn’t think I could ever find a job with as much integrity—until I came to here.

Today, my life is totally different. My creative spirit is steadily recovering. Learning about the philosophies of the Kindermusik classroom has changed my life and I believe we’re changing the lives of the families who enroll in Kindermusik. Where newspapers strive to understand the problems in society that have already begun, Kindermusik strives to undo problems before they start, at the very beginning. We do this by helping families spend more time together, learn to love each other and find a balance in their lives, all through music.

We teach children music so they can become better learners. Not little Mozarts. We teach families how to spend time together. We show them the kind of things that grandparents would have passed onto their grandchildren, such as dancing around the maypole, or singing a song to wash the dishes, fall asleep, or ride an imaginary big, blue boat. So when these children grow into adults, they can use that great musical beginning to soothe and celebrate life when it’s needed most.

The same philosophy is true for this company. We’re all owners. So we treat each other with respect. Every employee has a coach who leads and mentors each one through their jobs. We’re encouraged to think creatively. Join community organizations and volunteer our time to local non-profit groups. We’re not only encouraged, we’re led by example:

• Our CFO started a round table discussion for CFOs in other Triad businesses, so they could discuss ways to stimulate the local economy.

• Our CEO coaches a girl’s soccer team, and is a member of the downtown improvement committee, “Action Greensboro.” He is also known for dressing in odd and often unflattering costumes at each fiscal quarter kick off (think Yul Brenner from the “King and I,” skull cap and all).

• People get pregnant here. In the eight months since I came to Kindermusik, seven women either gave birth or got pregnant. People feel comfortable here about having a family and a career.

Those are just three reasons why I say Kindermusik has changed my life. In other ways, Kindermusik has helped me believe in the possibilities again. You can make a living playing music. You can have a family and a career. You can change the world one child a time. You just have to be willing to sing a little, dance around a maypole, and hold a child in your lap every once in a while.”

Music and Movement – Why we move to learn

Kindermusik for Young Child  Semester 4 – Wk 8

 

In Kindermusik we cover a large amount of material concerning music terminology, pitches, songs, composers, playing instruments, etc. Meanwhile, we never forget the importance of movement! Just today we continued to dance while singing “Bow Wow Wow” and also incorporated a fun movement game into an up/down listening activity.  In listening for pitches that go higher or lower in steps (one note to the one next to it) or leaps (to one farther away), the children were asked to move up or down in small or large increments.  This is a fun activity to try at home.

“Movement is the essential ingredient of space perception…. By observing his own body and the relationship among objects in space to parts of his body, [the child] relates himself to the space outside himself….” (Dance and Grow, by Betty Rowen, p. 57.)

 Also, movement in activities such as listening for ascending or descending pitches brings a different type of understanding (a kinesthetic understanding) to an auditory concept.

To ‘pin down’ a thought, there must be movement.  A person may sit quietly to think, but to remember a thought an action must be used to anchor it.  We must materialize it with words.  When I write, I am making connections with thought by moving my hand… Talking is very much a sensory motor skill…  

Recent research is helping to explain how movement directly benefits the nervous system.  Muscular activities, particularly coordinated movements, appear to stimulate the production of neurotrophins, natural substances that stimulate the growth of nerve cells and increase the number of neural connections in the brain.”  (Smart Moves, by Carla Hannaford, pgs. 98-102.)

Literary Notes:

Smart Moves  If you want to read a great book that describes the importance of movement in the learning process, I  HIGHLY recommend “Smart Moves” by Carla Hannaford.  There is fascinating information in that book, based on extensive research, which she lists, and is written in a way that makes it very understandable.  She talks a lot about the development of neural connections in the brain, and how movement is KEY to developing strong connections, and a foundation for further learning.  It also talks about movements that help your left and right brain hemispheres to work together.

Awakening the Child Heart  I have also read her new book “Awakening the Child Heart”, which takes her theories a step farther than the nuts and bolts of the body’s hardwiring.  It’s a bit more philosophical, and I do recommend reading “Smart Moves” first.  But if you are up for a book that will make you really stop and think about human beings and how integrated our body systems are – and how even little things make such a difference – pick that one.  From Carla, to me, to you:  I wish you Coherence.