A Parent's Thoughts

We are approaching our 9th birthday here at Delightful Sounds. Sometimes it boggles my brain when I sit and think of all the families I have met over those nine years. There are so many special faces and names that come to mind. I can recall favorite songs and activities that stand out in my mind. I even remember dancing the tango-cha-cha in Do-Si-Do with baby Jack S. who is now well into elementary school! I was recently talking with a parent from another Kindermusik program. She had moved here in the last few months from Alaska and was recalling fondly when her children were young enough to attend Kindermusik there. "What did you like most about your time in Kindermusik?" I asked. I suspected that her answer would be something about bonding while having fun with her children or the developmental benefits that it provided. "Those were great," she said. "But I loved the heritage it's preserving most of all."  In this world of high speed technology and information, she enjoyed slowing down to sing nursery rhymes and folk songs that had been handed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. There is a wholesomeness and affability that comes with this heritage, and I agree it is worth preserving. Do you think you know your nursery rhymes? Click here for a fun nursery rhyme quiz! If you find you need to brush up on a few rhymes, I know where there is a great Kindermusik class! :)

A special thank you!

National Adoption month is almost over, and I couldn't let it pass before thanking those who chose life so that their precious children could be loved and cherished by an adoptive family. I know it could not have been an easy decision, but as an aunt to 2 beautiful adopted boys, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Of horses, children, and all things teachable

Recently, I took my daughters on a field trip to Forever Florida to learn more about Florida's cattle history and horsemanship. While there, we participated in a horse training session. During the session, positive behavior was reinforced with a treat or verbal praise, and negative behavior was redirected. Within about 15 minutes we had trained one horse to yawn on command and another to roll a ball back to you. I was intrigued because I use this same technique in my Kindermusik classroom each week! Positive reinforcement can start with a small treat or verbal praise each time the desired outcome is achieved. The rewards will then begin to decrease as the new habit begins to form. There are a number of reasons that positive reinforcements works.
  • It supports what the child is doing right instead of focusing on what the child is doing wrong.
  • It increases the odds that your child will behave in that manner again.
  • It encourages your child's positive choices when you "catch them being good".
Positive reinforcement is nothing new to parents, but we often get so busy that we miss the opportunity. If we're not careful, we may only notice when the behavior has become undesirable. When that happens, it's important to redirect your child back to the original goal and reinforce the appropriate behavior once it occurs. I'm sure they will be galloping to success in no time flat! ;)

You might be a home schooler...

As I walked through my home the other day, I noticed a quilt thrown in a pile on the floor of my music room. With a sigh and a mumble of "wishing people would just learn to put things away", I reached to fold it up. I stopped, however, as I realized that there was something more going on with that quilt. It had become a classroom. A crack along the edge of the quilt was allowing in just enough light for a 4th grade reading class to exist beneath its quiet shroud. As a home school family, this behavior is not that unusual for us. However, I venture to say that most of you don't realize that you are home schoolers too!

Webster's dictionary defines a classroom as "a place where classes meet". To many this looks like a room with 4 walls, desks, and children seated in neat and tidy rows, but I believe a classroom is better defined as "a place where learning occurs".  Realistically, learning can take place anywhere at anytime. You might learn about math or nutrition on a trip to the grocery store. Little ones learn phonics and other pre-reading skills simply by singing silly songs with you in the car. Maybe you've even found yourself explaining the concepts of momentum and physics while playing ball with your children. (although you might not have used the technical jargon! LOL)

The point I'm trying to make here is that just because your child is enrolled at a traditional school or is too young to go to school yet, YOU are always going to be your child's most important teacher. It doesn't matter what your educational background is like. No one knows your child better than you do. No one has the vested interest that you have to ensure your child's success in life. Teachers can have an amazing impact on their students. It's one of the reasons I love my job as a Kindermusik teacher so much, but I truly believe some of the most important skills your child will ever learn will come from you as you guide them through everyday life. So embrace your "homeschooliness" and enjoy learning with your children each day! 

8 Germiest Places

So many things change when you become a parent. I don't think anything I heard from wizened parents before me could have quite prepared me for that. I mean, what can prepare you for the effects of sleepless nights for years and years, sassy toddlers that push buttons you didn't even know you had, or all the nasty things children touch and put in their mouths! So, here I am. My name is Aimee Carter, and I am a germaphobe. There! I freely admitted it.

So, if you join me in my germ revulsion, you might want to check out the 8 germiest places as posted earlier this week on USA Today. I'll list them here from least to most germiest spot. Then I'm going to wash my hands. Ewwwww!
  1. Vending machines -35%
  2. Crosswalk buttons -35%
  3. Parking meters -40%
  4. Kiosks -40%
  5. ATM buttons -41%
  6. Escalator rails -43%
  7. Mail box handles -68%
  8. Gas pump handles -71%

What's your potential?

We were recently discussing in one of our Kindermusik classes that a two year old child has twice as many neural connections as an adult. They are so busy learning everything about the world around them, that they are constantly forming connections in the brain. Later they will go through a pruning process where the more useful connections will be strengthened for continued use. Let's put this in perspective. Our brains contain one hundred billion neurons. "Suppose each neuron was one dollar, and you stood on a street corner trying to give dollars away to people as they passed by, as fast as you could hand them out- let's say one dollar per second. If you did this twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year, without stopping, and if you had started on the day that Jesus was born, you would by the present day only have gone through about two thirds of your money."

That's an impressive amount of potential. That's why it is so important to give your children a sensory rich experience when they are young. Interact and play along with your child to help them understand the world around them or answer their questions during the creative process. Who knows, you might make a few new neural connections of your own! ;)

Excerpt from This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin

How Music Can Protect Against Hearing Loss

This post originally appeared on the Minds on Music blog for Kindermusik International and was written by Jamie Sterling.
My husband is a professional musician. He’s spent the majority of his life playing loud music through loud amplifiers (and in booming tones). Did I mention he’s a bassist? Not only that, but he likes to listen to pretty loud music – and he wears headphones to do his recording and other loud, musical work every day. I’ve expressed my concern for his ears and the potential hearing loss I was sure he was doomed to deal with. But, despite my nagging…I mean, despite my expressions of concern… he has always insisted that he has “tough ears.”

One time, he was having a hard time hearing – to the point that he decided to go to the doctor. This is something, because he is one of those guys who likes to avoid the doctor, unless it is very serious. I was sure I was going to have my ‘told you so’ moment on his hearing. Turns out, it was a massive amount of earwax! And, after taking a requisite hearing test at the ear, nose & throat specialist, he was deemed to have “exceptional hearing.”

Now, this just didn’t compute for me. Didn’t my Dad tell me he lost a little bit of his hearing at an early age from standing too close to the amps at big concerts in the 70s? How does exposing yourself to music constantly, as a part of your profession, allow anybody to have better hearing? Perhaps it’s just my husband. He really is a ninja (black belt in Isshinryu karate), so maybe this is just another way his ‘ninja-ness’ manifests itself?

Turns out recent research actually suggests that musicians’ ears ARE tougher. NPR published that embracing music early in life can actually stave off age-related hearing loss!

The article states:

“If you spend a lot of your life interacting with sound in an active manner, then your nervous system has made lots of sound-to-meaning connections” that can strengthen your auditory system, says Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. Musicians focus extraordinary attention on deciphering low notes from high notes and detecting different tonal qualities. Kraus has studied younger musicians and found that their hearing is far superior to that of their non-musician counterparts.

Knowing that younger musicians seemed to have a distinct hearing advantage made Kraus curious about what happened to those same musicians later in life.

To find out, she assembled a small group of middle-aged musicians and non musicians, aged 45-65. She put both groups through a series of tests measuring their ability to make out and repeat a variety of sentences spoken in noisy background environments. Turns out, the musicians were 40 percent better than non-musicians at tuning out background noise and hearing the sentences, as Kraus reported in PloS ONE. The musicians were also better able to remember the sentences than the non-musicians — and that made it easier for them to follow a line of conversation.

So, my husband will likely be a really sharp older man because he will have less hearing loss, be able to carry conversations better, and have an enhanced IQ. I’ll be the crazy old lady sitting next to him, responding only with “Huh?” and wondering who the President is… unless I pick up my viola – or maybe take up those guitar lessons again!

Listen to the full story on NPR.com.

(Also, as a disclaimer, I highly encourage everyone to wear earplugs and listen to music at a normal decibel level, as the safest precaution against early hearing loss).

Leader of the Band II

It's been 2 years, and we are well overdue for a "Leader of the Band" rematch! Pictured above is our reigning champion, Jake! The photo contest will be open to all families, not just Kindermusik families or families from the Delightful Sounds studio, so if you've you got a child who loves music, make sure to send us a picture of them singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or enjoying music as a family! To enter, email your picture along with your child's first name, birth date, and your contact information in the email. Entries should be for children who are currently 0-6 years old. Your pictures must be received by October 7th. All entries will be then be uploaded to a photo album on the Delightful Sounds' Facebook page. You will be able to vote for your favorite photos there from October 10th-21st. (Anyone who votes will have to "like" our page.) The winner will be announced on October 24th, so get those cameras flashing!

I'm not your friend - I'm your mother

Parenting is a tough job! We want our children to feel loved, encouraged, and successful, and there are so many ideas about how to successfully accomplish this. Maybe you've found yourself asking one of these questions-How young is too young to understand the concept of "no"? Will boundaries make my child see me as an ogre instead of a loving parent? If I challenge my child to do things even when they are difficult, will I hurt their self-confidence?

In an article by Barbara Minton about the importance of boundaries, she states, "Image you are standing on the roof deck of a skyscraper. There are no railings, the wind is blowing and the building sways. Where would you be? You would probably be in the center where you could gather some feeling of security. Now imagine there are high sturdy railings around the edge of the roof deck. You walk over to the railing, push on it a few times to make sure it is sturdy and will hold. Now you feel secure and free to stand by the edge, maybe even look down or out into the beyond." I found this to be a great word picture on the importance of boundaries. Your child needs the security of a loving parent who will guide and support them as they learn about the world around them. They require someone to teach them right from wrong. My wise grandmother used to say that the misbehavior of children was an subconscious cry to be reminded of the boundaries. They wanted someone to care enough to tell them "no", and the sooner you start working on that the better. Here are a few things to consider:
  • Always clearly and consistently enforce your boundaries.
  • Lead by example, because your children are watching.
  • Boundaries as an expression of your loving care for your child, not a means of control over them.
  • Your child wants a parent not just another friend.
Until next time...
Mrs. Aimee

Screen time needs a time out!

Earlier this week, we posted a research article on our facebook page about how TV shows like SpongeBob effect the development of young children. However, I am concerned that not enough parents understand the negative effects of too much screen time as a whole. We live in a world consumed with technology, such as TV, video games, IPads, lap tops, and more. Many parents see nothing wrong with allowing their children to enjoy these items as long as they deem the content "eduational". However studies show that too much time spent in front of the screen can have a damaging effect on your child's development, such as sleep issues, language delays, obesity, and inability to focus. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that children under 2 years old should not watch any television and that children older than 2 shouldn't watch more than one to two hours of TV a day. Here are a few facts I discovered in my research:
  • 20 percent of children under 2 have televisions in their rooms. [Source: AAP]

  • Parents spend an average of 3.5 minutes each week in meaningful conversation with their children. [Source: CSUN]
  • The average child watches 1,680 minutes of television each week. [Source: CSUN]
  • 70 percent of day care centers use TV during a typical day. [Source: CSUN]
  • 54 percent of 4-6 year-olds, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television. [Source: CSUN]
I found some of these statistics quite alarming. I would encourage you to carefully consider where your family stands on this issue. You can find some great tips for encouraging good television habits in your home at this link.

Sleep like a baby...

The author, Leo J. Burke, once said, "People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one." How many parents can attest to the truth of this statement. In fact, as a developmental specialist for young children, sleep related issues are among my most popular topics in discussions with parents. Toddlers and children under 3 years of age should sleep about 12 hours a night with a one to two hour nap during the day. Babies will require two or more naps in addition to the 12 hours a night, and older children will drop the nap and sleep around 10 hours a night.

Many parents express frustration in getting their children to sleep. Perhaps the child cries or keeps getting back up. I know it's tempting to give in to unhealthy sleeping habits. Sleep deprivation can really wear you down, but the sooner you can establish healthy sleep patterns the better. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Activities leading up to bedtime should be calm and quiet.
  • Establish a nightly bedtime routine so your child will know what to expect.
  • Avoid using DVDs or the TV to help your child fall asleep.
  • Dim the lights and any household noise to signal it is time for sleep.
  • Try to help your child learn to self sooth and relax.
  • If your child is afraid, try a night light or sitting in the room until he/she is comfortable.
  • Avoid using "quick fixes" that you know you will not be able to continue long term.
Wishing you sweet dreams,

The Self-less Child

As a teacher and parent, it concerns me when I see children who are lacking proper life skills necesarry for sucess in school and even later in life. I am always looking for ways to teach my children basic life skills like cooking and cleaning as well as skills like humility, a servant heart, and gratefulness. I recently read a great book called Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World. The book begins by describing parenting philosophies and why raising a "happy" child full of self-esteem may not be best for our children. This certainly peeked my curiosity. I had always thought of self-esteem as a good thing for children to have, but after reading this book, I have rethought some of my parenting beliefs.

Here's an excerpt from the overview on the Barnes & Noble website:
It's never too late to reshape your child's heart and develop a parenting plan that starts right where you are. Shining the light of reality on the failed self-esteem philosophy, Rigby will show you how to gently "bump" children off self-center and instill in them an others-centered heart and a healthy self-respect.

It's a great read, and I hope you enjoy "thinking" through this book as much as I did!

Featured Artist - Mary Lee Sunseri

MaryLee Sunseri is the producer / arranger / performer of 16 CD’s of traditional and original music. Her credits include appearing in the MGM Elvis Presley movie The Trouble With Girls, recording nursery rhymes for Mattel Toys' See 'N Say, touring America as a member of “Randy Sparks & The Back Porch Majority,” recording the title song to Walt Disney’s movie The Apple Dumpling Gang, singing back-up for Shirley Jones, opening act for Bill Cosby and Lily Tomlin, and many concert appearances with the legendary Burl Ives.

She received her certificate of study in Musical Theatre from London Drama School with distinction in singing. She performs many concerts for festivals, folk clubs, and corporate and academic groups annually. Ms. Sunseri is a frequent performer at public schools and libraries throughout California, Massachusetts and Washington, and gives workshops on music and infant brain development.

Check her out at www.maryleemusic.com


Back to School Concerts!

Gearing up for back to school? Pull out your brand new crisp school calendar and plan to have a children's musician perform a concert to celebrate the beginning of the new school year to set the positive tone for the entire year. Check out our list of great performers in your area and email them today!

Is she ready?

With the school year quickly approaching, many of you are busy making preperations to send your children off to elementary or pre-school for the first time. I have my own special memories of that time, but how do you know when they are ready for Kindergarten? Here's a great little checklist to find out. Kindergarten Readiness Checklist - FamilyEducation.com
You can also check out our new Laugh & Grow class. Laugh & Grow was designed with Kindergarten readiness in mind. Each week your children will spend 2 hours in a structured class featuring:
  • phonics
  • counting skills
  • calendar skills
  • music
  • listening skills
  • fine motor activities
Now enrolling!

Do you LOL?

They say laughter is good for the soul, and I believe it's true. You can't help but smile when you hear the sound of a baby's belly laugh or the giggles of a young child. Laughter is one of the things that can be enjoyed all around the world. It crosses language, social, and age barriers. It can be an ice breaker in a nervous moment, a source of healing in a stressful moment, or a time of bonding between two people. It's often associated with some of our most priceless memories. Scientists have even studied the power of laughter and determined that it, not only, lowers blood pressure and releases "happy" endorphins, but it can also boost your immune system for up to three days following a good hard laugh! All this wholesome goodness, and it's still fat free!! So go on, find something to laugh about with your family today!

The Fixinator!

I was recently having a conversation with one of my children. She was feeling a bit inadequate with her abilities in a class she is taking, and her response to me was, "Why can't you just fix it? You can fix anything!" Now, don't get me wrong. I was flattered that, in her eyes, I am still Super Mom, but it bothered me that she assumed I could fix EVERYTHING! That's a tall order, but that's what parents do, right? We fix things- broken toys, cuts and bruises, spilled drinks. We are referees to all things sibling rivalry. Champion of the defenseless on the playground. Defender from the Boogie Man and monsters under the bed. Able to leap loads of laundry in a single bound! The depth of our super powers are simply staggering! ;)

However, I am of the firm persuasion that it doesn't help children to have everything neatly and pleasantly packaged. I love my children immensely, and it pains me deeply when they are hurting. Yet, I know they need the opportunity to venture out from under my Super Mom wing and fail sometimes. Out of failure comes some of life's greatest lessons. Things like humility, unselfishness, common sense, self discipline, and determination. It was bittersweet leaving her bedside that night. I had to step off that pedestal and admit I couldn't fix it. I simply reminded her, "Do your best, because your best is always good enough for me!" I'm thinking about keeping the super hero costume though. It might be fun to wear at her wedding. LOL :D

Yours truly,
The Fixinator

Welcome Mrs. Faith!

Delightful Sounds is so excited to have Mrs. Faith joining our staff! Faith Clark is a certified teacher in Early Childhood Education with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida. Faith thoroughly enjoyed teaching Elementary School for 5 years until she and her husband had a little boy of their own. As a stay-at-home Mom, Kindermusik will be the perfect opportunity for Faith to continue on in her passion for education while still enjoying time with her family. Since music has always been a huge part of Faith’s life she feels entirely blessed to be able to work with children and families in developing a lifelong love for learning and music. Welcome to the Delightful Sounds' family Mrs. Faith!

A Talent for Giftedness

Q. My child's teacher says that he is gifted. Isn't that just another way of saying he is talented?

A. Giftedness goes well beyond individual talent. It affects both ability as well as emotional/social interactions and many other aspects of daily living. The current definition of giftedness is "Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities." I encourage you to read more about giftedness here. It is a common misconception that gifted children learn the same as other children and will be the model student in the classroom. The truth is that without the proper understanding and learning environment, gifted children will often become bored, have behavior problems, struggle with social interactions with their classmates, and purposely fail classwork.  In fact, I recently read that when Thomas Edison was a boy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything. I recommend that you discuss your child's development with your school's psychologist, enrichment teacher, or a local child psychologist to further understand what to expect.

The "Signs" of Language Learning

I was doing some research today on baby sign language and ran across an interesting article.  Even though sign language is a great way to encourage early communication in young children, some parents, like the one in the article, are concerned that this form of early communication might delay their child's verbal development.

The opposite is typically true. The combined experience of movement and spoken language encourages your baby's understanding of the word, as well as increases retention of the new word. This is because he is engaged actively in the learning experience, and the movement has stimulated the brain to receive the incoming information. "Talking and signing together flood the baby with language," says Acredolo whose research, published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, indicates signing may even give children a slight future verbal edge. "At 36 months, the [signing] babies in our study were speaking, on average, the equivalent of non-signing 47 month olds," she says. *

Parents can begin to work on baby sign language as early as 3-6 months, and children will typically begin to sign back around 6-12 months old. However, it's not too late if your child is past that age. Sign language can be a fun way to communicate for children of all ages. I recommend taking a sign language class, such as Sign and Sing, with your child to learn how to present the signs in an interactive, age appropriate, and fun way. A sign language class will also help you to understand your child's hand development. If a sign is too difficult for them to form, your child will likely make adjustments to the sign. Once you learn what to look for, you may be surprised to find your child has several signs they are already using.

*MSNBC.com article written by Victoria Clayton

Lessons for a Lifetime

It's spring time, and in most households that will  include some "spring cleaning". At my house, my children have been sorting through their toys and removing the items that they have outgrown or no longer enjoy. I'm guessing that you've been there at some point too. I have often said that Kindermusik classes are a gift that will last a lifetime for your children. My children loved their years in my Kindermusik classroom, and I can still see it's effects today.
Recently, I read an article discussing the life-long effects of music study. In this study, 70 healthy adults age 60 to 83 were divided into groups based on their levels of musical experience. They found that the musicians had better performance scores on several cognitive tests than the adults who had never studied an instrument or learned how to read music. "Based on previous research and our study results, we believe that both the years of musical participation and the age of acquisition are critical," Hanna-Pladdy says. "There are crucial periods in brain plasticity that enhance learning, which may make it easier to learn a musical instrument before a certain age and thus may have a larger impact on brain development."
So as you are considering what activities to do this summer, I hope you'll choose the gift of music. It's benefits last a lifetime!

Featured Artist - Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart is a national award-winning musician who has been writing and performing for young children and their families for twenty years. This followed a successful fifteen year-long career as lead guitarist and vocalist with a nationally known show band. Featuring original and traditional songs, Nancy’s nine CD’s for children can be heard in schools, homes, and libraries across the country. Her music workshops for teachers, parents, and librarians have been highly praised for their relevant, useful, and easy to use songs and ideas.

Nancy has also shared the stage with Burl Ives, Shirley Jones, Bill Cosby, and Lily Tomlin at concerts and nightclubs across the United States and Canada. As lead guitarist and vocalist she performed with Randy Sparks and the Back Porch Majority beginning in 1971, and recorded several albums in Nashville and Los Angeles, the Disney movie theme “The Apple Dumpling Gang”, and numerous radio and TV commercials.

For more information, visit Nancy’s website at www.Nancymusic.com

- Seattle, WA

Featured Artist - Farida Dowler

Farida Dowler shares folktales and plays guitar to accompany traditional and original songs for preschoolers and kindergarten age children along with their caregivers.

She is available to perform at bookstores, libraries, children’s parties and other venues in the Seattle area. Past performance venues include Island Books, Third Place Books, Pierce County Library System, Seattle Public Library, and the Seattle Children's Museum.

To book a program, please contact her at farida@dowler.com with information on where and when you are having your event as well as group size.

-Seattle, WA

The Attention Seekers

Ask the Expert
Q. How do I know if my child is being disobedient just to get my attention, and what should I do about it?

I think the key to this answer lies in understanding your child's motivation. When my own children were small, one daughter in particular required extra attention. It seemed when I was at my busiest, she would find constant trouble. She might color the walls, pick a fight, or simply follow me around whining. Her misbehavior was simply a ploy to get my attention back on her. I soon realized that I could change her behavior by giving her my undivided attention for a certain period of time before I started the other items on my agenda each day. I began my morning by enjoying whatever activities she enjoyed. We had discussed that once the timer went off, it was Mommy's turn for "work time". This turn-taking would continue through out the day. When any misbehavior occurred, it would result in a "time out" in another room. When her behavior was good, it meant I could complete my work faster and spend more time with her. Eventually, this strategy curbed her misbehavior, because she realized that her poor behavior was not successful in acquiring more time with Mommy. The bottom line here is recognizing the motivation behind your child's actions. Once you determine that motivation, look for positive ways to fulfill that need elsewhere in their daily routine.

If you have a question about parenting or early childhood development, feel free to leave it as a comment here. We'd love to include it as a future "Ask the Expert" post!

Give your brain a work out!

I was doing some research about the benefits of music study today and ran across an article about the effects of music study on the brain. I found the article particularly interesting because of the following quote: "The effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness and thus requires society to re-examine the role of music in shaping individual development."
Simply put, music is great exercise for the brain, particularly in those areas which affect listening, reasoning, and language skills. Parents who expose their children to musical activities, such as our Kindermusik classes, are giving their children an early advantage for enhanced development and academic success. The developmental foundation that is established in these young minds will increase memory function, listening skills, and creative learning. It is also interesting to note that this study specifically referenced these same benefits for children with special needs who participate in music training. You can read more by clicking the article below.
 How music training primes nervous system and boosts learning.

Meet Brendan, Patrick, Abigail, and Rebeca

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?

Abigail and Brendan began taking Kindermusik classes when they were 16 months old. Patrick has been going since birth. Rebeca has taken classes off and on with Delightful Sounds since she was 4.

Number of years you attended classes?
We’ve been with Delightful Sounds for the past 5 years!

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?
Gosh, each one of my children has a favorite song. Now with my youngest just about outgrowing his ‘our time’ its neat to hear the older ones remembering the songs when they used that curriculum!

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?
Never to judge a class by the first day! Each child settles into a class at its own pace.

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:
I think the moments that I cherish the most is when the class finally ‘clicks’ with my child. They recognize the songs, faces and all the fun they have each week! Also, I love it when they bring home the songs and activities and play them with their siblings.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Ms. Aimee does a FANTASTIC job of offering a variety of classes for children of all ages. We’ve gone the spectrum from family time to our time to sign and sing to art and music with a bit of gardening in between. I can’t wait to see what else is next!

Shake, shake the apple tree!

In our Kindermusik Family Time classes, we have been learning fun, mealtime songs and chants. Since Johnny Appleseed day is coming up soon, I thought you might like to try this little chant for a fun way to celebrate. Feel free to add some hand motions!

Two Little Apples
Two little apples were hanging in a tree.
Two little apples were smiling at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
and down came my apples
Mmmm Mmmm GOOD!

Featured Artists - BenJammin and Analisa Gauthier

Jammin with BenJammin and Analisa Gauthier gives kids a chance to move, play and sing along with Educational Music. With songs like "The Safety Belt Song", "Keep in Shape" and "Dream, Love, Live", your kids will learn about health, safety, respect and science—all while having so much fun they won't even realize they are learning!!

BenJammin and Analisa have performed their educational music at schools, museums, libraries and parties everywhere from Kalamazoo to New York to New Jersey and San Fransisco. And they can bring something special to your event. In each energized performance, they inspire children from the audience to sing along, dance, play instruments and even write new songs! With every new performance, BenJammin and Analisa get children excited about achieving goals, reading/writing, hygiene and safety all in a format to build confidence.

Michigan - www.benjammin.biz

Why music?

I found the below article very interesting. It deals with the relationship between music study and reading skills. There are overlapping areas of the brain which control language and musical awareness. Because music stimulates or exercises this part of the brain, there is an increase in the development of verbal sequencing and vocabulary skills.
Even though this study dealt with young, elementary school age children, I believe the benefits from music exposure extend beyond that age range to the very young child. Studies show that a child's vocabulary when entering Kindergarten is a good indicator of reading skills and educational success by third grade. I propose that the best way to enrich a child's vocabulary for Kindergarten entry is to provide a rich environment for your child that includes music exploration. The rhythmic patterns, rhymes, and sequencing of music, along with it's ability to actively involve young children, makes it a great tool for early childhood development. Don't know where to start? You can click here to download a coupon for a free Kindermusik preview class.

Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills

ScienceDaily (2009-03-16) -- Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a new study. ...  read full article

Quick Tip for Musicians

Here is a Quick Tip for musicians from Andy Mason of New Mexico. Use this resource of fellow children's musicians when planning tours in different regions to get insights and recommendations about gigs, booking patterns, market trends, and perhaps even fee ranges.

Featured Artists - Brian and Terri Kinder

Brian and Terri Kinder

Brian Kinder is a singer/songwriter who, along with his wife, Ms Terri, performs rollicking goodtime concerts for kids. Their music is fun and invites audience participation, and is perfectly suited for libraries, schools, fairs, corporate family gatherings, churches, and birthday parties. Yes, Kinder is their real name. (Kinder, German word meaning children as in kindergarten). For rollicking good time music for kids, there is none finer than Brian and Terri Kinder.



Featured Artist - David Williams

David Williams

Emmy winning songwriter for his songs on PBS's BIG GREEN RABBIT, & ALA, & NAPPA winner. Over 30 million hits on YouTube. David Williams--songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, cartoonist, children's author with Random House (Grandma Essie's Covered Wagon, Walking to the Creek). "No one else writes animal songs like David Williams," Dirty Linen. "Williams works magic," Newsweek magazine.


Featured Artist - Andy Mason

Andy Mason

All year round Andy performs his award winning concerts for kids in schools, pre-schools, daycares, State Fairs, libraries, birthday parties, summer camps, after-school programs and festivals. Kids and parents alike love Andy's original music and interactive program that will have them singing, dancing, laughing and learning right from the very first song. Andy's many years as an educator are clearly visible in his concerts and his unique style will have children and teachers, parents and librarians shouting for more!


New Mexico

In the Groove

In our Kindermusik Family Time classes, we are talking about our daily routines - such as play time, mealtime, bath time and bed time. For some, routines are a natural process of everyday life. They enjoy making out schedules and sticking to them. Others, however, feel may find a traditional schedule too cumbersome for their flexible or free-spirited lifestyle. Routines are so important in the life of a young child. A schedule can:
  • build security since your child knows what to expect.
  • help parents stay organized and focused.
  • teach discipline and organizational skills to your children.
  • cut down on the incidence of "meltdowns" in young children.
If you find the idea of creating a routine daunting or frustrating, just remember that your schedule should be flexible enough to fit your lifestyle. They are not written in stone, so if something isn't working, change it! For a fun addition, you can create a visual schedule for your child by laying out pictures in the order they will come for the day. You can even laminate the pictures and add velcro for easy changes.

We are Kindermusik - Meet Sandra, Jake, and Alexa!

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?

Both started around 6 months old.

Number of years you attended classes?

I attended for a year with Alexa who is now 5 and just started Kindergarten and have been going for 2 years with Jake who is 2 ½!

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?

Right now Jake loves ‘Here comes the choo choo train’ which he starts every time we go over railroad tracks. His sister has made up new words substituting trucks, aeroplanes and diggers for trains!

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?

Even though they don’t seem to be paying attention they are taking it all in! Jake spends a lot of the class time running circuits around the room, but when I put the CD on he knows exactly what to do!

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:

The smile on Jake’s face at his Kindermusik second birthday party - he had such a great time that day!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I think the Kindermusik classes, and in particular Ms Aimee, have given both of my kids a fantastic introduction into music that will always give them something to either calm them down, help them concentrate or just something to dance to!

If you would like to be one of our featured families, send us an email request by clicking here!

Sing your way through the week!

Looking for some fun on while shuttling your children around town? How about those long waits in the doctor's waiting area or the grocery store check out? Why not dance, march, skip, and stretch to the Kindermusik Radio app now available? Like their music and movement classes, the Kindermusik Radio app provides parents with a way to engage and interact with their children-while training the brain and soothing the soul.
Research shows that music helps children become better learners. Toddlers love to dance, swing and sing as they develop their motor and aural skills. Preschoolers strengthen nueral pathways by making up songs and rhymes as their imaginations run wild. With 5 stations to choose from, the Kindermusik app will give you access to over 100 tracks, the very finest and authentic reproductions of classic children's songs, nursery rhymes, and stories as well as Kindermusik originals. It also includes a parent-child activityfor every song that is designed to engage young listeners as well as stimulate early childhood development. Here is blog post of what one parent recently had to say about it.

The Kindermusik Radio App is available for iPhones and iPod Touches for $1.99 in the iTunes store. Try out Kindermusik Radio App TODAY! Or try out Kindermusik Radio LITE which offers one station with ten songs only for FREE. You'll be glad you did!

This is your brain on music!

We've talked many times before about babies and language development. In utero your baby is already listening and internalizing the sounds of their native language. However, I recently read a report that shed more insight into the amazing power of a newborn's mind. After exposing 22 newborns to recordings of made up words, the researchers concluded that the human brain may be hard-wired to recognize certain repetition patterns. "It's probably no coincidence that many languages around the world have repetitious syllables in their 'child words' – baby and daddy in English, papa in Italian and tata (grandpa) in Hungarian, for example," says Gervain from UBC Dept. of Psychology's Infant Studies Centre.
Move ahead several years with this same thought, and you begin to realize how important repetition will be in all areas of learning. Take for example, your child's ability to learn math facts. What about phonics and reading?  All of these skills require repeated exposure or practice. My tool of choice when trying to engage children through repetition- music. In fact, studies show that young children who take music classes show different brain development and improved memory compared to children who do not receive musical training. With the repetitive beats, melodic patterns, and rhyming words, music is perfectly suited for stimulating the mind and learning new skills. It's why most little one's can sing their ABC's long before they can "chant" them. Do you have a great idea for using music to learn something new? I hope you'll share it in a comment.

Teaching Our Children About Love And Loss | Janet Lansbury

We recently experienced the loss of a beloved pet. I found a lot of great thoughts in the following blog post, and as I know we are not alone in this experience, I felt it was worth sharing with other parents. After all, some lessons we have to teach our children are just harder than others. :0/

Teaching Our Children About Love And Loss Janet Lansbury

Meet Laura and Ella

Welcome to this month's edition of We Are Kindermusik! Here's what Laura and Ella have to say about their Kindermusik experience.

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes? 16 months

Number of years you've attended classes? 1 and ½

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?
“I’m Just a Steamroller” I love watching Ella giggle as she bounces and rolls all around to the song – and it’s a great way to get her to burn off extra energy on a rainy day!

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?
Toddlers truly are just like the little kangaroos Kindermusik uses for their Our Time mascot! I’ve learned that Ella will “bounce away” some days, and just want to cuddle in my lap on others – and that’s okay! I’ve also learned that music is a wonderful bridge for friendship – for both moms and kids.

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:
My favorite in-class memory happens every week when we have what Ella calls “the rocking song”. To watch the kids explore, learn, and have fun with all of the instruments and dances, and then have her run to my lap for a cuddle during “the rocking song” is such a nice moment for us to reconnect before she’s off and running again. My favorite at-home memory stems from one of our other favorite songs “Round and Round the Racetrack Goes the Little Mare”. During what could have been a very disastrous dirty diaper change when Ella thought she should “help” me use the wipes, I remembered the Racetrack song with its hand motions and it kept Ella and her little hands occupied long enough for me to finish up – thank goodness!

Anything else you’d like to share?
We absolutely love Kindermusik (and Ms. Aimee!). We recommend the classes to everyone we know. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the programs and the staff at Delightful Sounds – they have helped me have more confidence as a mom, given me access to a wonderful network of moms, and brought new music and activities into our lives that I know we as a family will treasure for many years to come.
If you'd like to be featured as a We Are Kindermusik family, send us an email today!