Posts Tagged 'model music making'

Wondering as They’re Wandering

Musical PlayI recently overheard a concerned parent talking to another parent after class about how her child, “just won’t sit down”. She expressed her concern that maybe her child wasn’t getting as much out of the class anymore. He used to sit in her lap and seem very interested in the songs but now he just wanders around the room. I felt lucky to be within earshot of what they were saying and was able to join in on the conversation and share some of what we know about different learning styles and stages of development. 
It is easy to feel like you’re child isn’t “getting it” when they are wandering around the room, staring out the window or engaging wholly with another child. However, here is the research-based, black and white truth: between the ages of birth through 5, your child is a sponge and is absorbing everything! If you’re in the classroom, you can trust he’s picking up and digesting all of those important musical vitamins!
When I was interning with another Heartsong Teacher, I had the unique opportunity to observe for a few weeks before joining in the class, and it was magical! These observations ended up playing a significant role in my final decision to become a Music Together teacher and I’d love to share why by telling you about one of my observations.
We were singing a song with eggs when a toddler exited his father’s lap and started teetering around the room. The father did the perfect thing and just kept singing and shaking his eggs. After a minute the little boy came back over to where his father was sitting, and began to bounce in perfect time to the song! He was at an angle where neither the teacher or his parent was able to see this musical response, and after 30 seconds of bouncing with the song he went back to wandering around the room.
I like to call this behavior “wondering as they’re wandering”, because the child is TOTALLY tuned in to what is happening while he is processing the sights and sounds of the class in a way that looks less involved. As he is wandering around, staring out the window, or engaging in “tribe-like” activities with other children, his mind is wondering about everything he is seeing, hearing and feeling. He is processing this information in a very pure and un-filtered way because we aren’t focusing on his performance of the music.
Allowing your child to wonder as he wanders is so important! Resist the urge to create an expectation that he needs to spend the entire class in your lap or play the instruments in a conventional, ordinary way. Relax, have fun, and show your child that music making is fun by singing and moving freely yourself! This is the best thing you can do for him as he continues digesting all these musical vitamins and building his musical competency.
Until next time.
Sally Nava
Music Together Teacher

Sounds of the Season

Holiday MusicLast week I had the pleasure of singing with the Women of Heartsong choir for a group of elderly residents at a retirement home here in town. We meet on Monday evenings and one Monday each month is devoted to bringing music to retirement homes and assisted living facilities. This most recent performance for the residents at Buckner Villas was a very special experience.
The choir’s repertoire is varied. We sing everything from James Taylor and The Beatles to classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” For this performance we also sang some holiday songs in our set. When it was time to sing the holiday songs we walked out into the audience and I sat down beside a sweet woman who reached over and held my hand as we sang “Winter Wonderland”, “Joy to the World”, and “Silent Night.” When we would get to an especially full or resonant chord in the songs, she would squeeze my hand tighter, feeling the power in the familiar music. Before I left, I asked her what her favorite song was from the evening’s performance and she told me, with tears in her eyes, “Oh, honey, I liked them all…but that ‘Silent Night’ was really something.”
The Winter Holidays are full of emotion. Rarely do we experience during such a small time frame, the roller coaster ride of excitement (presents!), frustration (parking at the mall), joy (families gathering together), stress (again…families gathering together), and the bitter-sweet nostalgia of days gone by as we do at this point in the year.
During this especially busy time, don’t forget to set aside little moments to make some musical memories with your child! Try singing a well known tune like “Jingle Bells” with words that you create yourself, that fit an event such as going to dinner:
“Time to go, time to go, time to put on shoes!
Let’s get out the door so we can eat some yummy food!”
Or how about having some fun with a kitchen play-along? Get out those pots and pans, Tupperware containers, and wooden spoons and turn up the music! You may find that a kitchen floor jam session was just what you needed to unwind from a crazy trip to the grocery store.
Remember that you are the most important musical role model in your child’s life. When you sing with your child, you’re giving her a very important gift that only you can give-the foundation for a lifetime of music making and appreciation! Whatever you do, have a safe and happy holiday enjoying the sounds of the season!
Sally Nava
Music Together Teacher


The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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