Teaching Through the Pain

Yesterday my children were cooing and giggling over their newly born, baby goat. She's unusually tiny but sweet nonetheless. They are immediately smitten and name her Mistie. Today, however they have to mourn her passing. She was just too tiny to survive. Sometimes life is just HARD. There are so many lessons out there to learn, and as a parent, it can feel like an overwhelming task sometimes. How am I qualified to teach them about life and death, when I still struggle with these topics myself?
Loss- whether the loss of a pet, death of a family member, or even a divorce situation- is never an easy topic. It's full of abstract concepts and emotions that are unwelcome in our happy, little world. How do you explain to a child that life is not always a fairy tale where everyone "lives happily ever after"? Here are some of the things that we have been learning today:
  • Children need to know it's okay to feel sad. That's a normal and important part of grief.
  • Children need simple, honest answers to their questions, even if they're hard or unpleasant to discuss.
  • Children are watching and learning from our example, so practice what you preach. 
If you're in the process of working through some of these lessons during this holiday season, I pray for peace and wisdom for you.

Until next time...

Meet Lavanya and Manav

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?
We started Kindermusik very soon after Manav was 3 months old.

Number of years you attended classes?
2 years and going strong.

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?
We have many favorite songs from Kindermusik classes. Every semester we have a few favs. We haven’t come across a song which we didn’t like in the Kindermusik classes. To name a few that are close to our hearts – Skinnamarink, Tinga Layo, The toe tappin’ blues, Go into the kitchen and Down in the meadow.

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?
To me Kindermusik is not just a music and movement class for the kids and caregivers. It has become an integral part of my life as a mommy. We have made wonderful friends from our classes at Delightful Sounds. Manav has learnt a lot of social skills appropriate for the age due to such exposure. The teachers are doing a fantastic job incorporating healthy habits and age appropriate development very subtly during the class.

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:
Happy or sad, Manav and I share a tune. We sing his favorite lullabies every night and no day is ever complete for us without Kindermusik songs.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Any class is only as good as the teacher imparting that class. In that domain, Mrs.Aimee has excelled (and still is) beyond any expectations and has also done a wonderful job recruiting similar teachers to Delightful Sounds.

Random Act of Culture

We've been talking about the importance of our voices for the last three weeks in the Kindermusik Family Time classes, and this just seemed to hit the spot!

Christmas times a-comin'!

Jingle Jangle Christmas Event is now enrolling for the Brandon and Lithia locations of Delightful Sounds.
Visit http://www.delightfulsounds.com/ to enroll today!

Teacher Tips - Hiring a Performer

Teacher Tips
Booking a Performer
By Johnette Downing

Often an educator is placed in the role of hiring a performer for their school assemblies or special events. Having the tools necessary to hire the right artist for your school or event can be a rewarding experience for the students, staff and performer. Below are a few tips to help educators hire artists:

Where to look?

Performing artists can be found in numerous places such as:
*State Artist Rosters coordinated by each State Division of the Arts
*Performing Artist Directories compiled by State Libraries
*Artist Rosters coordinated by State, City and Parish/County Arts Councils
*Independent organizations like Alternate Roots, National Storytelling Network, Artist Guilds, Children’s Music Network, Folk Alliance, SouthernArtistry Register, etc.
*Online artist directories, phone books, magazines and newspapers
*Performing artist showcases and live public performances
*Referrals from other artists, arts coordinators, educators and performance venues.

Who to hire?

*Hire a professional children’s artist for the job. You get what you pay for!
*Look at artist credentials, performance history, fees, programs offered, travel area, audience age, space requirements, availability, reviews, letters of recommendation, press clippings and demos.
*Attend artist showcases and public performances to ascertain the quality, genre and style of performers available in your area and select artists who best suit your needs.

How to book?

*Contact the artist and ask for their brochure or “promotional packet.” A brochure gives you a brief overview about the artist and their work. A promotional packet gives you a comprehensive outline and usually contains an artist biography, list of credentials, performance history, press clippings, reviews, photograph, business card, and demo audio or video.
*Discuss your particular performance needs in as much detail as possible (who, what, when, where, why and how).
*Discuss available dates and times
*Discuss artist fees
*Discuss artist’s technical requirements

What will I need from the artist?

*Contact name, address, phone, fax, email and website
*Booking confirmation letter, form or contract
*Audience size, audience age range, length and description of the program.
*Press release and photograph to publicize the event.

What will the artist need from me?

*Contact and school name, address, phone, fax, and email.
*Signed booking confirmation letter, form or contract
*Audience size and age range.
*Location of the performance (stage, gym, cafeteria, etc.).
*Access to the location 30-60 minutes prior to the performance.
*Directions and map to the school or venue.

Prior to the performance

*Inform staff and students that the artist is coming.
*Publicize the event with flyers and photographs. Invite the local media who are often looking for “good news” photos to put in the paper.
*Ask for artist study guides. Copy and distribute the guides to staff and students. Study guides offer pertinent information about the artist, their work and how the scheduled performance relates to the curriculum.
*Ask for order forms for artist’s products (CD’s, tapes, videos and books). Many educators preorder artist’s products and use them in the classroom to allow students to become familiar with the artist’s work prior to the performance.
*Contact the artist a week prior to the performance to re-confirm.
*Discuss audience etiquette with staff and students.

Day of the performance

*Make sure the performance space is clean and clear of debris and furniture.
*Make sure the artist has access to the space 30-60 minutes prior to performance.
*Be available or assign someone to direct the artist the performance space.
*Discuss the best seating arrangement with the artist for optimum audience viewing and enjoyment.
*Allow ample time prior to the performance to assemble the students in the performance space.
*Begin the performance on time.
*Introduce the artist.
*Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the show!

Copyright 2003 Johnette Downing, www.johnettedowning.com
Article first published in the Spring 2003 Issue of Applause!

Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning musician, author, poet and educator.

Born to Boogie!

As a 15 year veteran, music educator, I am often asked how young is too young to begin music study. Typically, private instrument study should not begin until the elementary school years. However introducing your child to music concepts can begin much earlier. I recently read about a study on the effects of music and rhythm on babies as young as 5 months old. The findings suggested that babies are born pre-wired to move with rhythm and music. "We also found that the better the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music the more they smiled," said the University of York's Department of Psychology researcher, Dr Zentner.

I have seen similar results with babies even younger than this in my Kindermusik classroom. Musically speaking, this early start to music exploration greatly increases your baby's ability to appreciate a variety of musical styles as well as understand beginning music concepts, such as loud/soft, beat patterns, or fast/slow. Nevertheless, early music exploration and experiences benefit all areas of development in children, from language skills to reasoning, physical development or cognitive awareness. Whatever the developmental benefits, babies were just born to boogie!