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 !   www.musiconnx.com

Advertisements

“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 musiconnx@att.net .
  • 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 play.kindermusik.com 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.

It’s Gonna Snow and I Gotta Crow

I GOTTA CROW !

Like Peter Pan,

I get so excited, that…

I GOTTA CROW !

COCK-A-DOODLE  MOOOO !  (that’s the Kindermusik way to CROW !) 

COCK-A-DOODLE  BRRRRRR !!!

Winter Wonderland CDTHIS Sat. we celebrate the season:chilly winds, snowfalls, and ice skating with the best music for singing, dancing, and playing in the snow.

WINTER WONDERLAND PLAYDATES
THIS Sat. Jan. 28th Enroll online here, email, or call/text me: 863-397-4976

9:30 – Families with babies up to 18 m.

10:30 – Families with all ages of children

Special Prices this Month:     $15 includes music, snow props, & tuition for 1st child:  $5 for siblings: Siblings < 1 year or > 7 yrs. are FREE:  $5 to bring a friend new to Kindermusik

I GOTTA CROW ! COCK-A-DOODLE ZOOM !

Demos Days were delightful (Thank You!),  new materials are on their way, and

Spring Semester of Kindermusik is ready to roll NEXT WEEK !     (Click on the Spring Icon to Enroll)

I’m excited to see everyone:

the babies will be fascinated by the farm animals; the toddlers are going to chug and vroom, and zoom as Away We Go; and the preschoolers have many “treasures in store”… in our imaginary TOY store, that is.

Come join us ! It is never too late – jump in any time ! If you haven’t yet, come try your first class FREE !

 Tiffany is CROWING about the number of families who will be enjoying her Kindermusik Sign and Sing class. A few spaces remain !

 I GOTTA CROW ! COCK-A-DOODLE TWEET !

My “dinosaur” computer was replaced with one that actually does what I ask without crashing… It’s so NICE to work more efficiently !    And I am very excited about my new website that will launch soon, with all the ways it will help us connect more easily !

Come and CROW with me !

Let’s celebrate all our joys and accomplishments together, with music, and movement, and lots of fun !

May we never grow to old to CROW !

Peter Pan
Peter Pan ” I Gotta Crow “

Benefits of Beats for Babies and Beyond

Why do I need to spend time with my child focusing on Steady Beat?  There’s an old adage, “With age comes wisdom”.  And then there’s the comedy trailer, “… and sometimes age comes all by itself.”    The same is true for steady beat. 

Most people don’t understand its importance:  in an international study by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, the majority of 2,000 teachers and 5,000 parents indicated steady beat was only of moderate importance, and that no teaching was necessary for it to occur.  (Weikert, 1999)

BUT, a steady beat does not develop along with the ability to walk.  Just because we have a steady heartbeat does not mean everyone can match the beat of recorded music.  There are plenty of adults who don’t have this ability.  How many of you KNOW someone with “two left feet”?   It doesn’t mean they can’t learn it.  It just means they haven’t…  yet.     

Steady Beat, at any age, must be experienced fully.   And “developing a sufficient level of competence requires support from knowledgeable adults and plenty of opportunities for active engagement in targeted learning experiences.”  (Weikert, 2003)   In other words, get with someone who knows what they are doing, who can provide a wide variety of activities that can help that skill develop.

If this worries you as a parent (if you feel you have two left feet), be comforted.  For one – please realize that parents do not have to dance with a perfect beat, or sing with a perfect pitch.  Your joyful musical interactions with your child are beneficial across so many developmental realms – the musical benefit is just one of them.  Just KEEP making music with your child, even if you can’t “carry a tune in a bucket”, or you avoid skipping rope like it’s a snake!

In Kindermusik, a licensed educator facilitates the class, providing the “knowledgeable adult” who will help both you and your child to experience and develop this skill.  Even in class, we offer a variety of options, allowing each individual to find their own “best way” for beat development.   It’s never too late to learn !

So WHY is it so important to teach it to my child NOW?

Like learning a language, steady beat, rhythms and pitch of music are best learned through immersion at a young age.  As we talk, sing, and interact with our children throughout the day, they are naturally learning and using the same skills that are somewhat more difficult to learn later in life.   With each repeated steady beat activity in childhood, the early neural networks are laying a solid foundation upon which MUCH MORE information will be connected.   As the child is developing the concepts and skills, the benefits start working right away !

The consequence of insufficient steady beat experiences in early years can result in poor physical coordination, halting speech (in some cases, stuttering), and even weakness in thought flow. 

 So, really, how important is  steady beat competency?

Of course, there is the fact that a good steady beat is required for any musician to play an instrument effectively, as a soloist, or as part of a larger group of musicians;  and the sooner they learn it, the better.   Formal music instructors on any instrument, including the voice, can guide the child’s progress so much more effectively if the student has already have mastered steady beat.  Just ask a music educator.  You will get an earful.

But if someone is not planning to become a musician, how much does it really matter? 

Steady beat is an organizer for the child, purposeful and calming.

This skill is required for many physical abilities, both large motor skills, like walking, skipping, and bouncing a ball, as well as fine motor skills, like using a pair of scissors, or chopping vegetables quickly like a master chef. 

Because beat, rhythms and pitch are also a part of language, the addition of rhythmic and music experiences in their daily routines also supports the child’s development of speech, communication, and writing skills.  Actually, we KNOW that steady beat can help those who stutter to speak more clearly.   Some Scientists believe that a poor sense of rhythm could be the cause of dyslexia.  “Researchers concluded that an awareness of beats can influence the way young children assimilate speech patterns, which may in turn affect their reading and writing abilities.” These examples underscore the importance of steady beat in helping children make sense of their world and organize their responses.”  (Education Tuesday, 23 July 2002).

Feeling and moving to steady beat develops a sense of time, and the ability to organize and coordinate movements within time.   (A sense of time… what a great gift to give your child. )

The research carried out by High/Scope Educational Research Foundation (Timing in Child Development,  Kuhlman & Schweinhart, 1999) shows a positive correlation of steady beat to many academic and school skills, as well as physical coordination. 

“Standardized testing shows that children with steady beat independence are better readers and more successful in mathematics.  Further, teachers report that children with better abilities in steady beat are more well behaved in class and have less aggressive physical contact with other students.  Steady beat seems to help in these areas because it contributes to children’s ability to concentrate, to understand space and distance, and to have better control of their actions.”  (Weikert, 2003)

Wow !  All that can come from learning to keep a steady beat !?!   How can that be?

Well, let’s take a look at which basic skills are involved in developing true competence with steady beat:

They must LISTEN – intentionally listen – well enough to feel the beat in their head and in their body.  That, in itself, takes training.

They must OBSERVE – to watch closely enough to match the actions of others;  from the early stages of learning to keep a basic beat, to when they become involved with ensembles (playing music with others in a group).

They must CONTROL their movements, not just for a moment, but over time -coordinating their actions according to what they HEAR and SEE – repeatedly and consistently.

These are a fabulous set of skills to continually practice and develop for any aspect of life (and they do not necessarily develop in the natural course of aging.) 

Fascinating, isn’t it?   Now that you know WHY, let’s move on to WHAT &  HOW:

A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms –  includes games to help clarify these topics

Developmental Progression of Steady Beat – how the skill develops over time

The best teaching methods for parents to use, with links to a wide variety of ideas specific to each age group;  babies, walkers, preschoolers.

References

Insights on the value of music and steady beat  article by Phyllis S. Weikart   This article helped me round out a lot of my thoughts on this topic, and is referred to regularly in this review.  It is well worth your time to read the whole article, which also includes other musical skills such as pitch. http://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5015386.pdf

BBC News Education. (Tuesday, 23 July,2002). “Poor Rhythm ‘at heart of dyslexia’.“ pg. 1.

www.highscope.org/Research/Timing  Paper/timing study.htm

Weikart, D. P. (1999). What Should Young Children Learn? Teacher and Parent Views in 15 Countries. Ypsilanti, MI:  High/Scope Press.

Holiday Happenings in Lakeland, FL

Wow !  So much holiday fun, perfect for children,  is planned for this week, I thought I’d share what’s going on in town.  Plus, I’ve found some excellent online resources for keeping up with local events.

Snow? In Lakeland? Believe !

Events planned for the 1st week of December:

TUES.  –  Dec.  1 @ 6pm20th Annual Holiday Walkabout

This annual event in Downtown Lakeland celebrates the holidays with shopping, dining, music, horse-drawn wagon rides and more! Holiday music from many area schools and churches create a festive atmosphere. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a kiddie train ride, pony rides and lots of holiday shopping complete the picture!

Explorations V Children’s Museum, 109 N Kentucky Ave., is open late with hands-on activities for the kids!  Hot cocoa/apple cider for $1 donation.

THUR.  – Dec.  3 @ 7pm28th Annual Lakeland Christmas Parade        Theme:  “Festival of Lights”        See the Parade Route.       My family will be on the route near Barnett Park.

FRI.  –  Dec.  4 @ 6pmFirst Friday “Holiday Happenings”

Downtown Lakeland stays open late for holiday shopping and cheer.   Enjoy photos with Santa, holiday music and entertainment.    School groups performing!  Explorations V open late with hands-on fun!

SAT.  – Dec.  5 @ 10 am – 2 pm   Snowfest at Lake Mirror

This year’s event will feature the traditional Snow Mountain and also a Snow Slide!  A visit from Santa Claus, children’s entertainment, inflatables and food vendors will complete the day.

Price for admission to the Snow Mountain and Snow Slide will be a donated canned food item or a $1.00 donation.  Admission to the inflatables will be $1.00.

SAT.  – Dec.  5 @ 7:30pmFlorida Southern Christmas Gala
Each year, FSC’s talented musicians present a wonderful gift to our community: the best of the season’s sacred and secular music.   Branscomb Memorial Auditorium    Single admission ticket: $15

And that is just THIS week !  Check out the following online resources for even more holiday fun !

Downtown Lakeland Partnership Website provides a list and description of activities happening in the downtown Lakeland area.

Lakeside Village Website shares the options for music around the Village as well as Saturday Breakfasts with Santa.

I hope to see you around during some of these fun events !  If you have any more to share – PLEASE ADD your comments !

Follow me to Kindermusik

I LOVE watching happy children enjoying the act of making music with others –  in this video, as well as in my Kindermusik classes each week.   And your heart will truly melt when YOU see YOUR child so happy to learn and explore, and show you what NEW things they can do, or songs they can sing.   Your house will be filled with joyful music (that you won’t mind listening to over and over again).

It’s amazing how, in less than a minute, you can see so many of the wonderful benefits of these group musical activities (and that’s just the benefits for the children – there are lots more for the parents as well.)

Children are born with a love for music.   To help them build that love into skills can make such proud children, and proud parents.  From the first time they clap, to their first song you can recognize, to realizing they are keeping a steady beat to the music, to hearing them sing on pitch, to watching them play a song on an instrument,  Kindermusik is there with you every step of the way.

So PLEASE share a fun story about your musical child that made your heart swell with pride!

How can you teach music to BABIES?

People ask me,  “How can you teach music to babies?”  As part of the full Kindermusik curricullum, the Village program is designed for babies from infancy up to 18 months old.   Why start so young? 

I Love it when you sing and dance with me.

I Love it when you sing and dance with me.

That’s easy to answer.  Every experience they have now helps to build a foundation for learning.  Music excites the brain, getting it ready to learn.  When music is paired with a positive learning experience, it builds stronger connections, and a inner desire to learn more.  The musical experiences a baby has now provides a framework, not only for their further music learning, but also for the development of the whole child. 
Many parents already do so many things at home that aid in their child’s development, and offer their children the rich heritage of songs that they grew up with.  This is SOOO important in the life of a child, and every time a mother or father sings to their child, or chants nursery rhymes, or dances around the room to music, they are creating wonderful learning experiences for their child.   KEEP doing that even if you never step into a Kindermusik classroom.
My mom loved to sing and shared a lot of children’s songs and song from our Polish culture with me as I grew up.  I LOVED sharing these with my baby when he was so young.  But I did get tired of singing the same songs and lullabies.  I needed something MORE to offer MY brain, as well as for my son.
 
I got together with other families and we learned each other’s songs.  That was fun, and I learned several new activities.  I also went to the library and checked out MORE music, but it did not always turn out to be appropriate for my baby.
THEN I found Kindermusik.
Kindermusik is like a LIBRARY full of great music and books, specifically designed for each age group, and the Kindermusik educator is like a great friend who just loves to share these materials along with ideas and information with parents and families.  And I do, I really do.
 
The Village curriculum was actually developed by a creative team of professional who are both educators AND parents themselves, who did the research on what is BEST for babies, and ties it together with folk music from around the world, offering NEW songs and activities in each of the 10 semesters that are offered for this age.  That is WAY better than I can do as one person, even WITH a BS degree in Music Therapy.
There are so many CRITICAL developmental issues at this young age.  Through Kindermusik, babies are exposed to the musical sounds and experiences that are important to their musical development.  Because of the variety of music and HIGH quality of the arrangements and recordings, they experience a wide variety of sounds, timbres and rhythms they might not normally hear.  They get to explore musical instruments on their own terms and develop pathways for steady beat, timbre discrimination, and expressiveness.
Besides music education, we also USE music to focus on each area of development, creating an environment which stimulates the growth of the whole child. 
Musical phrases are much like sentences.  Rhyming words of nursery rhymes and finger plays are excellent for building foundations for speech and language.
 
Through movement and dance activities, babies develop their vestibular and proprioceptive systems and establish neural foundations for concepts such as high and low.  And mom’s learn how to encourage movements that help the different sides of the brain communicate more effectively. 
Parents comments are especially focused on how impressed they are at how the music opens up their child’s personality and lets it shine through, even as a baby.
With or without Kindermusik, MUSIC provides an excellent beginning for babies, and as we know:
 
A good beginning never ends
Kindermusik just makes it EASIER, and provides a fully fertile playground.