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”?


A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms

For the non-musician, sometimes musical terms can be a second language.  For many parents, some terms may be familiar, especially with the brilliant musical teachings of The Little Einsteins (Thanks Disney).   But it might not be easy to explain it to someone else, much less understand these concepts well enough to help your child develop these skills, or to know why it is important to do so.

Before we start, I need to clarify that this is for the parents.  PLEASE don’t feel compelled to try to use words with children to explain these concepts.  From birth to around 5 – 6 years old, they must simply feel each of the concepts in their bodies.


What is Steady Beat?  

 Steady Beat is the most fundamental property of music

and life.

It is the underlying, unchanging, repeating pulse. 

We each have our own internal steady beat, our heartbeat.

“… it starts as a heartbeat, and sprouted a rhyme”    – Village Do-Si-Do


You may feel this as you tap your foot or dance to a piece of music.

To illustrate a steady beat, tap with each underlined syllable as you sing the song.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,

How I wonder what you are.

The taps should have continued at an even pace throughout the song.


Make it a GAME:  Let the child choose a favorite song.  The adults clap the steady beat while the child sings the song, or as you sing it together.  Once it becomes easy, try tapping the beat on your child’s back, or on the bottom of their feet.

There are LOTS of ways to experience and practice steady beat:  See my blog posting:  “Catching a Beat” with very young Children.



The steady beat of a particular song may be fast, or slow; this is called Tempo.

The tempo of the steady beat may even change during a song.

Physiologically, beats that are slower than the heartbeat calm the body, allowing it to slow down and relax.  Beats that are faster than the heartbeat engage the brain, getting it ready to learn, and engage the body, getting it ready to move.

Make it a GAME:  First, the child and adult should FEEL each other’s heartbeat.  Choose a favorite lullaby song, sing it together several times, or listen to the recording while rocking to the beat.   Then feel the heartbeat again. 

Do the same with a favorite upbeat song while “dancing” the way it makes you feel – sung or recorded.  Feel the heartbeat.  Wow ! 


How does Steady Beat relate to Rhythm Patterns & Melodic Rhythms?

Rhythm Patterns

Within the steady beat of most ALL music, there is steady underlying pattern of a stronger beat followed by less strong beats.  In music, these are often carried by the percussion instruments, and help to keep the rest of the musicians playing together.

 At the most basic level, our human perceptions often “recognize” rhythms in a series of identical sounds, such as dividing clock-ticks into “tick-tock-tick-tock”. 

That is a basic 2 beat pattern.


MOST popular music from the Western side of the world has a 4 beat pattern, including marching songs, and folk songs like 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,           How I wonder what you are

    1             2              3          4                  1           2              3                4


Make it a GAME:  Holding your child, or holding their hand, step forward 4 steps with the beat of “Twinkle Twinkle”.  Then walk backwards on the next 4 beats.  Continue forward and back throughout the song.  Make it more fun by standing in front of a mirror watching yourselves.  Or march toward and away from another favorite adult who is making funny faces when you get close.  Got it?  Try it with another song.


Waltzes and many lullabies contain 3 beat patterns, and have more of a swooping feel, such as:

 “Rock -a-  Bye    Ba—- by,  In the tree    top———”

      1  –  2  –  3      1 – 2 – 3      1 – 2  –  3       1  –  2  –  3

Make it a GAME:  Standing and holding your child, sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” while swaying side to side.  Start moving the opposite direction on each count of ONE.  Feel the swinging motion.  Once that feels natural, change the way you are moving.  Try swooping the baby up to one side, then down and up on the other side.


Musicians around the world have enjoyed working with these familiar rhythm patterns in new and different ways, as well as exploring unique patterns of strong and weak beats.   Cultural music from Africa often includes a variety of beat patterns even within the same song. 


Melodic Rhythms

follow the melody of the music,

it is the beat of the words in the song

that are unique within each measure of that underlying rhythm pattern.

To illustrate this, clap along with each syllable in these songs  (with the X): 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    1         2          3          4  

   X     x     x     x    x   x   x


Notice that sometimes you clap TWICE for each beat (twink-le)


“Rock -a-  Bye    Ba—- by,  In the tree    top———”

      1  –  2  –  3      1 – 2 – 3    1 – 2  –  3       1  –  2  –  3

      x  –  x  –  x       x – — – x    x – x  –  x        x ———–

Sometimes you DON’T clap along with the steady beat (top).


These rhythms are unique within each set of beats.

A melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, and is sung with the voice,

or played with a melodic instrument.

Nursery rhymes are basically melodic rhythms without pitch.

 Make it a GAME:  Find a book full of nursery rhymes.   Tap along with each syllable as you chant the rhyme.  The fun is to find new ways to tap.  Tap on different parts of the child’s body.  Tap on an upside down cooking pot.  Use a stick to tap on a tambourine as the child holds onto it.  Tap on the table of the high chair they are sitting in.        

For older children, play “Name That Rhyme” using just the beats of the words.  To make it easier for preschoolers, just make it a choice between TWO familiar rhymes that are in the book.  This makes it more concrete.

Experiencing beats and rhythms, repeatedly, in new and different ways,

is the best way to build a foundation for these skills.


Every class of Kindermusik is filled with beats and rhythms: in the rich recorded music, in the songs we sing together, in the Hello song we sing for each child, in the lap bounces that make us giggle, with the instruments we play, in the circle dances we share… in so many ways.

Kindermusik makes it easy and fun.  Come join us.


Find out WHY this is important for a child to learn at such a young age.

Learn about the developmental progression of steady beat.

Learn about the best teaching methods to help your child progress

Explore LOTS of ideas for each of these age group:  babies, walkers, preschoolers.


How do you share beat and rhythm experiences with your child?

Developmental progression of Steady Beat

Help your child develop a Steady Beat

Learning to keep a steady beat is more about ability than age, because you can improve this ability at any age.  And it always starts with experiencing it fully FIRST.  But during the earliest years, there are developmental milestones that must be met in order to progress to the next level.  It is important to understand the basic progression that a child goes through to develop a steady beat during the first 7 years of life

The ability to react to the beat in music is an important learning process.  This beat is basically a walking pulse.  Many young children are able to steadily tap to an “inner beat”.   Yet they may have difficulty changing their “inner beat” to correspond to the pulse of music or a drumbeat.  Encourage, but don’t impose an external beat too early, it may result in tension, resistance, or loss of confidence in their abilities.  Experience it, and Encourage practicing a beat in a variety of ways (see the linked posts for each specific age group).  Realize that children will progress through these developmentally appropriate stages as they grow and develop their abilities: 

#1        First a child must  experience a steady beat.  They can feel the steady beat by having someone tapping on their knees (or a variety of body parts).  Sing, play music with a strong beat.  “Catch” the beat with their hands on yours while you sing.  This is pretty much what is appropriate for a baby before they are comfortable with walking.  Even as they begin to gain abilities, it is good to continue to just EXPERIENCE it repetitively.  There are plenty of ways to continue experiencing this all the way through their elementary years.

#2  Watch for Repetitive Movements, like hand clapping, tapping a chair like a drum, tapping Dad’s head like a drum.  Sing or dance along AS IF they have the best steady beat that makes you move.  For babies, the focus is the joy of making the sound, as they are not able to keep a steady beat yet.  But they can still experience it through your interactions.

#3  Around 1 ½ to 2 years old, start your own beat and verbally encourage them to imitate different ways to keep a beat. With your hands over theirs, start the beat… but remove hands after a few beats.   Encourage them to continue throughout a short song or piece of music with a good steady beat.  We are only encouraging continued movement, and looking for signs of the next step.

#4  –  Have them walk or march (without recorded music), and watch carefully for their “inner beat”.  It usually is more apt to occur first with these large motor movements.  Then will progress to using their hands.  Imitate their beat with your own hand movements, drum, sticks, or tongue clicks, and keep the same pace while singing a familiar rhyme or song to their own “inner” beat.  

Expand on this by practicing with variety of hand movements and body movements.  Take enough time to process even just one movement for a whole “short” song.  This repetition is necessary for their development.

#5  While singing, practice with percussion instruments – continuing to match their inner beat.   AFTER they have mastered a steady “inner” beat with their hands and body, is a great time to start working on steady beat with an instrument.  Until then, when they play an instrument, the focus is to explore how to make sounds with that object.

#6 –  Once they feel confident with their “inner” beat, encourage them to slow down their beat, or speed up their beat.  Then finally, encourage them to Match YOUR steady beat.  “Watch my hands and try to tap your knees at the same time as my hands”.  Praise any effort on their part to watch your hands, or if they try to adjust what they are doing.  They don’t have to be perfect to make progress. 

#7 – Eventually, they will be able to keep a beat with recorded music, and practice the beat with movements and non-pitched instruments.  Just so you know, that doesn’t usually happen until around 3 – 4 years old.  But those children with more guidance and experience in their life are likely to develop it sooner.    It is a major focus of our Kindermusik Imagine That program for preschoolers.

#8  And finally, they will be able to keep a steady beat to play simple accompaniments on melodic (pitched)  instruments, ie. xylophones.  These are skills we work on with the 5 – 7 year olds in the Kindermusik for the Young Child program.

One of the most popular postings on this blog offers some of the best teaching techniques for parents while “Catching A Steady Beat with very Young Children”.

For a wide variety of ideas of steady beat activities for a specific age, see the following posts:  Any of the ideas for the younger children can also be used for older children (if it captures and engages them).

Ways to Catch a Beat with Babies

Ways to Catch a Beat with Walkers

Ways to Catch a Beat with Preschoolers

Stopping, Trading, Taking Turns, and Waiting

Does your child have the ability to stop on cue?  How about the ability to wait patiently to take a turn with a desired toy or object?  How about the ability to see ONE marshmallow in front of them, and wait awhile WITHOUT eating it, in order to get TWO marshmallows upon your return? 

I can wait. They won't be late. For I am GREAT... at WAITING !


Your child’s ability to successfully master these inhibitory control tasks are a significant factor in their future success, in some ways even more of an indicator of their future success than their academic abilities. 

These are skills that a child can gain through positive practice, and is one of the most fundamental ways that parents can set their children up for future success, in whatever they choose to do.   Start young, and it will be a natural part of their personality.  But whatever the age, start !

Let’s examine several aspects of Inhibitory Control, and see how the Marshmallow Test is an indicator of the ability for Delayed Gratification, as skill necessary for success in life.

Inhibitory Control is the ability to control your own actions.  It is the “ability to resist a strong inclination to do one thing and instead to do what is most appropriate or needed. Instead of reacting with what is on the mind at that moment, the child has to stop or inhibit that inclination and enact something else.”  (Metropolitan State College of Denver – see article.)

STOP ON CUE:  In Kindermusik classes, children even as young as one year old, are exposed to activities where we move for awhile, then STOP on cue.  With babies, they are simply in mom’s arms when they first experience it.  They like it, and come to anticipate it.    As they get older, we also teach children to use sign language for STOP when they stop (it really helps).  I’ve seen children as young as 16 months old effectively SIGN and STOP at the appropriately time in the activity – right on CUE !  We practice this regularly throughout our core curriculum (0-7 yrs) in lots of different ways, with our bodies, using instruments, using props such as scarves, or even with balls (one of the hardest).

Being able to THINK BEFORE YOU ACT:  Young babies often grab toys from each other even without a reaction.  But once they start to grasp the concept of MINE (because I am holding it), they get upset if it is taken away.  In Kindermusik, one of the strategies we start teaching is the concept of trading.  In order to get one object, the person should offer another object in exchange, an example of one of the more socially acceptable ways of getting something that is desired.  Of course, this is an abstract concept for babies, so we just help them go through the movements to experience it, and they can see it does help with the interactions with other babies (less crying).  As they get older, with enough practice, they cognitively start to realize the need to consider others reactions before they act. 

TURN TAKING:  It is soooo hard to wait for a turn to handle a desired object.  One of the best ways to get a child to want to play with something is to pick it up and start playing with it yourself.  (This is a parenting trick which plays on their natural reactions.)   Starting at around 18 months, we start offering opportunities to WAIT PATIENTLY for a turn to handle a desired object.  It is best to use activities that have a specified limit on the time for each turn, such as a song.  When the song is over, it is the next person’s turn.

Here’s an example, in the Our Time class, we use a set of resonator bars to play along with a song “Sweetly Sings the Donkey”.  Only one set of resonator bars is presented.  It is hard enough to wait while the teacher plays an example.   The children are instructed to sit on their parents lap in order to get a turn to play the instruments.  Parents are provided ideas on how to get their child engaged with the activity in their own way as they WAIT for their turn.  In this manner, parents are helping their child practice skills that can help them wait. 

At first, it requires parent assistance, and working with a child to find strategies that work best for each child specifically.  Hopefully at some point, they will start to be able to use the same skills themselves in situations where an adult is not present.   

This leads to success in what is called DELAYED GRATIFICATION, the ability to forgo an immediate pleasure or reward in order to gain a more substantial one later.  The ability to do this effectively increases as children get older.  Having the opportunity to practice effective waiting strategies regularly will increase this ability even more.  As will a child’s ability to focus on the FUTURE, more than on the PRESENT.  The ability to delay gratification is often a sign of emotional and social maturity.

The MARSHMALLOW TEST is a classic study that tests a child’s ability to delay gratification.  It studies the strategies that helped children wait, and follows them through to adulthood and measures their success as young adults.  Not surprisingly, those who were more successful with this delayed gratification test ended up more successful in life.  (The New Yorker Article  “Don’t !  The secret to self control” is a LONG but FASCINATING article presenting the details of this study in depth.)

In this test, children were placed by themselves in a room with a table, a chair, and a marshmallow on a plate in front of them.  They were told they could eat the marshmallow if they wanted to, but if they waited until the researcher returned, they would get TWO marshmallows.  Through prestudies, they found that children 3 years old and younger had little ability to wait.  But starting around 4 years old, there were some who could.  So the initial test, by Stanford psychology professor Walter Mischel 40 years ago, involved only 4 year olds.  Two out of three children were not able to wait.  But 1/3 of them did.  The videos capturing their reactions while alone are priceless !     

Get the basics of the study, and global implications, in this video of a wonderful short lecture by Joachim de Posada:

For some belly laughs, watch the Mature Marshmallow Test with adults. 

How would YOUR child fare in this test?  This fun article tells How to Give the Marshmallow Test.      (This is recommended for children over 4 years old and older.)  PLEASE read the directions fully and NOTE that the results of your child’s test is not an indicator of future success, but rather an observation of their current skill level with these abilities.

Musical activities are an excellent way for a child to learn self control, and to occupy themselves while waiting, through finger plays, singing songs or rhymes, creative movement, and imaginative storytelling.  Parents can help their child gain these skills by practicing these activities during WAITING times, like in line at the grocery store.   What strategies would your child use to WAIT for a 2nd marshmallow?

If you choose to implement this test with your child, PLEASE post your comments here !  If possible, include a video of your child while they are waiting.

Connections between Music and Reading

“Books help children become whole people; reading facilitates both parent-child relationships and language as it helps to create a child’s understanding of the world.”

  Claudia Quigg, Executive director of BabyTALK


Parents hear over and over again how important it is to read to their child, and the need to build pre-reading and reading skills.  And many parents  HAVE incorporated reading into the daily routines in a child’s life.  Although some parents with babies may not know how to best introduce this process.  Some parents may read, but may not feel they know HOW to teach these skills, or what to expect at different ages.  And some very busy parents may feel they are not doing enough.


The good news is that by simply talking, singing and reading even a little bit to your child throughout the day, you are literally “turning on” his or her brain cells.  And even better, when you take the opportunity to sing, listen to stories and songs, and play instruments with your child, you’ve already begun not only providing him or her with important social, emotional, and brain-building experiences, but also building reading readiness.


The Creative Team at Kindermusik International recognizes the importance of reading skills in a young child’s life, and has developed a WONDERFUL summary of current research that will help parents understand how music benefits a child’s development of the reading process.  There are two articles that discuss the connection between music activities and reading in the critical aspects of developing the skills of Active Listening, building vocabulary, developing phonological awareness, Print Awareness, and promoting Comprehension.


These articles specifically focus on what to expect from, and what is developing in a child at each of these ages, and has some great ideas for what you can do at home based on current research in this field.  It is well worth your time to read it.  It easily explains the research, and if you are interested further, the actual research documents are also available for your curious mind.

On the Path to ReadingOur Time (1 – 3 years) / click here

On the Path to ReadingImagine That (3 – 5 years) / click here




In my other blog, “Music Connections Recommends…” , I have a lots of suggestions (based on my own research and experience) on what to look for in Finding GREAT books for YOUNG children .  Several good criteria are listed, with examples (including links to great websites), WHY that issue is important, and ways that a parent can interact with their child to aid in developing specific reading skills.


How does this relate to the Kindermusik classroom?




During each Kindermusik class, we not only engage in interactive music and movement activities, we also typically spend time with a storybook, one or two of which you receive in your home materials.  All of the Kindermusik books MEET with the suggested criteria for finding GREAT books, and are designed to be a part of the perfectly integrated set that aids parents in their continued learning experiences outside the classroom.  When parents read these books again to their child at home, and sing the related songs, and involve their child in related movements, they are assisting in their readiness for reading and learning, as well as so much more. 



Kindermusik International designs EACH of their curriculum based on the most current research on what is BEST for the whole child at each stage of their development.   During class time, children are introduced to music and activities based on themes that are engaging and relevant to their lives.  Parents learn new ways to interact, and how these interactions promote different aspects of their child’s development.  AND Parents, as their child’s primary teacher, receive all the materials they need to continue the learning at home.  


Reading is a key component of this process.  Listening to stories and interacting with the storyteller enhances language and speech development for the young child.  Story Time can foster awareness of sounds, teach use of language, and send the message that words have meaning and that books are fun. 


WHY IS IT IN KINDERMUSIK?   Reading to children closely approximates the experience of singing or conversation.  It provides another way to communicate through rhythm, reciprocity, tone and language that is, after all, much like music.


So, with due respect to Claudia Quigg, I’d like to modify her quote just a bit:


“ Good quality Books AND Music help children become whole people; interactive reading and music activities facilitate both parent-child relationships and language as it helps to create a child’s understanding of the world.”


Kindermusik just serves it up as a WHOLE package for the child and family, to make it easy to provide the experiences your child needs for ALL areas of their development.

Hello Weather, Let’s make a Rainbow

In “Hello, Weather, Let’s Play Together”, a fabulous semester of Kindermusik’s Imagine That program, we are singing and learning about Rainbows.  Our song helps us remember the order of the colors in a rainbow.  The colorful rainbow shaped puzzle pieces in our activity books provides hands-on learning in building rainbows while we’re singing our song.

There’s other songs about rainbows that I love, and one is most certainly Kermit the Frog’s Rainbow Connection.  This video also provides us the priviledge of seeing a slide show of some of nature’s most beautiful rainbows.  Please watch this with your children, and delight in finding the rainbows AND the double rainbows. 

You might also want to read the lyrics to the song, and ask some open ended questions.  Of course there are no right or wrong answers, just jumping points for imaginative discussions.  Wouldn’t it be nice for children to have more questions like this.

  • What do YOU think is at the end of a rainbow?
  • What connections do you think a rainbow makes? 
  • What would YOU wish on a morning star?  Do you believe it would come true?
  • What kind of “magic” do you think a rainbow might have?
  • What connection do YOU think of when it comes to being a “dreamer”?
  • “It’s something that I’m supposed to be.”  Kermit believes that watching rainbows help him understand who he’s supposed to be.   When YOU look at rainbows, what do YOU think you are supposed to be?

You might also talk about what makes a rainbow, and what might be causing the rainbow in each picture.  My most favorite way to describe it is that the sun’s rays shine on the water droplets from the rain, and like tiny mirrors, each droplet reflects the different colors that are contained in a beam of light.

At the top of the page of the lyrics, there is a link to learn more about rainbows.  Now, this site has more information than a child can handle, and may be a bit more than most adults care to know, but reading it yourself might help you answer all the questions that the typical 3 – 5 year old child might want to know – AND SOME.

My favorite rainbow book is “What Makes A Rainbow?”  – by Betty Ann Schwartz. 

As a Magic Ribbon Book, a rainbow is built, one color at a time, as the pages are turned.  It is a cute story about a curious rabbit, and is a wonderful way to learn about colors.  My 4 year old daughter loves it and is fascinated watching the magic ribbons work as she turns the pages.

Kindermusik Imagine That for Preschoolers

IT logo Kindermusik Imagine That!

designed for children from 3 to 5 years old.

Each day in Imagine That! is an imaginative journey filled with music, movement, and exploration leading to whole child development, music development, and learning through play and self-discovery. If you have a child in this age range, you KNOW that their imaginations are in overdrive. This wonderful program allows us to delve into their imagination with them, shaping and reshaping worlds where learning occurs as naturally as breathing, where singing comes as naturally as talking, and where children can explore being other people or animals, as easy as exploring being themselves. In the process, children gain valuable music skills, such as developing their singing voice, playing a steady beat, ensemble development, and much more that prepares them for success in further music opportunities, as well as for life.

Sessions are 45 min. a week for 15 weeks. Students attend independently for 30 minutes, then parents join for the last 15 min.

Each Imagine That! class is focused on creating a stimulating musical environment that integrates music, pretend play, story telling, movement, and more. Because Kindermusik so strongly believes that all children learn the most from their home experiences and interactions with their parents and siblings, each semester comes with a full set of home materials that provide high-quality tools for continuing the learning at home. Each set contains:

  • 2 CDs of high quality music featuring a variety of voices, instruments, and styles
  • 2 Children’s literature books with interesting characters, story lines, and word plays
  • A Home Activity Book which includes the words & melodies of the songs, as well as “homework” assignments after each class to help bring the learning home
  • A Play Set based on the theme of the semester – where the imagination can more fully process the learning that takes place
  • an instrument – designed for durability and a high quality sound that will encourage a love of music making, and provide opportunities to learn steady beat and ensemble development.
  • During the first semester, each Imagine That! student also recieves a turquoise Kindermusik backpack to carry their instruments and projects back and forth to class.

There are four units of the Imagine That! program, each with a unique theme that interests children this age.

Fall 2009

See What I Saw is a whole semester of what can happen in a park – playing on the play ground, searching for “nature” treasures, having a picnic in the park, and so much more. Josh and Katie are the featured characters in our storytelling, and in their Park Play Set, where the panoramic scenario and punch out play pieces offer hours of fun re-creating our fun adventures in the park. Our song about sliding down the slide is a wonderful way to learn and practice our glissandos, and it’s even more fun when we use our graceful slide whistles that come with the home materials.

Spring 2010


Toys logoToys I Make, Trips I Take” introduces the musical environment of a remarkable toy shop, with our imaginary friend, a very creative toy maker. Students help “build” the toys, “BE” the toys, and expand on where each toy can take a child and their imagination. We fill this magical toy shop with classic toys such as boats, trains, balls, jack-in-the-box and many others that bring a glimmer into a child’s eyes.

toys materialsIncluded in this semester’s materials is a high quality drum that your child will enjoy, and this drum allows us to focus on exploring the different timbres of sound one can make, as well as developing a strong steady beat, and being introduced to rhythmic patterns. The play set is a durable Toy Shop scenario, with punch out toys, as well as a paper toy bear with interchangeable clothes, to act out the songs, stories, and activities featured in class. The two children’s books are as follows:

  • “Tippity Tippity Too” – a wonderful rhyming wordplay book, about a mouse that is determined to find out the name of all the stuffed animal characters in the house. You’ll find yourselves asking everything “Who are YOU?” and trying to make rhymes!
  • “If I Had a Big Blue Boat” – a beautiful open ended book that launches us into our imaginations of where we might go, and what we might do, in our big blue boat. Each page plays around with sounds so marvalously, children are drawn to add these fun sound effects, thereby developing their speech and articulation skills.


Fall 2010

Hello Weather, Let’s Play Together” introduces children to the world of weather. We begin with the sun rising, and waking up to the crowing of a Rooster (in Spanish), and make our merry way through windy weather, rainfall, scary stormy weather, and even end off the semester by playing in snow and ice skating. Honest! You can do amazing things in the world of the imagination! Our weather play is enhanced by the instruments that come with the materials. We enjoy wearing our ANKLE BELLS as we join the Native Americans in their dance to honor the sun, and call forth the rain. And the various sounds that are made with the WOODEN RAIN SHAKER accent the songs we use about rain and thunderstorms. The play set includes a Game Cube, with surfaces that allow

Spring 2011

Cities! Busy Places, Friendly Faces” allows children to musically explore and celebrate many of the aspects of living in a city, all of the wonderful sights and sounds, including silent statues as well as the complexities of the wonderful timbres that can be heard on the busy thoroughfares. In our story telling, we follow the adventures of a little boy and his dog, as they take walks through the city, and even what happens when the dog gets lost. Many types of people are found in the city, artists, musicians, and even mime artists, and we enjoy taking “photos” of all the people we meet. The children use their beautiful sounding resonator bars to reflect the sounds they hear from Steeple Bells, and practice steady beat and ensemble development. And the very creative cards and puzzle board can be used to play an incredible amount of different games and activities.