Posts Tagged 'model music making'

Fun Ways to Beat the Heat with Music

Mom Singing with ChildSummer is over as everyone heads back to school, right? Wrong! Well, half of that is completely untrue for us Austinites. Even though our “fall” schedules tell us it’s over, the heat of summer is going nowhere fast. If you’re in need of some fun ways to beat the heat and survive the sticky, icky, moody late afternoons and weekends, let music be your guide!

I have two words for you: DANCE PARTY! This is a highly underrated, useful activity that can be done indoors, yet can be incredibly active, burning off energy, and elevating mood for grownups and kids alike. Parents, as we constantly say to you in class, the more fun you’re having, the more fun your little one will have. Get nostalgic with your song selection; have fun creating a special dance party playlist, bust out your favorite hip hop from high school, or the songs you danced to at your wedding, then push the coffee table out of the way, close the curtains, turn up the AC, and let loose! If you’re head-banging or tush-pushing around the living room, having a silly blast, there’s no way your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers won’t have a great time watching—and most likely will be inspired to join in, too!

Along similar lines is a jam session. We do this in class every week with our play-along ritual, but make no mistake; this can be just as active an experience as the dance party if you let it. Again, you’re the leader. While setting your kid in a pile of instruments, putting on their favorite music can be great, it is much more engaging if you’re actively involved too. Sometimes (when they let you), you be the DJ and play your music and go nuts on that bongo like you’re the drummer from Def Leppard. Some other ideas for jamming are: use kitchen wares or unexpected toys as instruments, get crafty and make your own instruments, be a parade and march around the whole house, or find a spot in front of a mirror and make silly, intense jam-faces. Like the dance party, this can last a good long while if you’re having fun too, and can use up some necessary end-of-the-day energy when the park is a no-go.

Another idea is: water play!! Of course this can be outdoors, in the pool or sprinkler, but you can make a fun water play station inside on those days you can’t bare to go out again. Perhaps you run an early or extra bath (in swimsuits?!?), maybe you bring chairs or stools to the kitchen or bathroom sink, or put towels or a blanket down on the floor and get out a big kitchen bowl or laundry tub and fill it with water! Most of our Music Together collections have at least one song about water, like “I Had a Little Frog” from the summer collection, or “Canoe Song” that we’ll be doing in the Fall Session. Rhythmically splash and sing along to these of course, but honestly, any song can be a water song! If “Ridin’ in the Car” is still a favorite—make it about a boat instead of a car. If one of the many train songs pops into your head—pick up all the water dwelling animal bath toys you have and train them around the water.

These ideas are fairly simple, and require nothing but tools you already have, mostly being: you. Remember this on these endless sweltering days and beat the heat with music!

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher




Allowing Your Little Scientist to Play With Music

Musical PlayWhat’s the difference between an egg shaker and a maraquita? They both shake. Why do we bother using both in class? After all it’s the same thing pretty much. One just has a handle.

And that’s the point. That little handle provides a different experience for your child. Just by putting a little handle on the egg shaker we can explore and play with the instrument in a myriad of ways. And that’s what we want for our children at Heartsong. We want them to have the opportunity to play with music (with and without musical props and instruments) long before there’s ever any expectation of playing music.

I was reading an article interviewing Jimmy Fallon who recently became a father for the first time. He understandably wanted to talk about his new daughter as new parents are likely to do. He talked about how he’d had a thought that really blew his mind. He realized that his daughter was experiencing everything in her life for the first time! It astounded and thrilled him. And it allowed him to also experience everything with her for the first time. Again.

Sometimes our desire to teach our children how something works or what it is for can interfere, quite innocently, with their natural desire and ability to figure things out for themselves. We want them to “get it right”, “use it right”, “do it right”. But we miss out on so much (and so do the children) when we have expectations beyond what their stage of development might presently be. We may be comparing our 16 month old to the 11 month old across the circle who is shaking that egg furiously while our child is staring at it on the ground before licking it and balancing it on her head. We, thinking we are helping, instinctively grab hold of their arms or hands and move them like the teacher to make sure they understand where their arms “should” be going. We forget that they will get their arms up, down, around etc. on their own and in their own time just by being fully immersed in the musical experience. Your children are always aware of what you’re doing. So keep modeling by singing and moving on your own!

It’s ok to allow them the time to get messy with the jingle bells or try to sit inside the upside-down gathering drum. Our children can be likened to little scientists. They do their own little tests to see how the object will respond while simultaneously taking in what you are doing with said object.

So just keep shaking that egg, whooshing that scarf, and beating the drum. They’ll catch on when they are ready; while they teach you how to make bunny ears out of a pair of mallets.

And when you find yourself worrying about whether your child is catching on or catching up remember what one of my favorite teachers says:

“Your child won’t go to college in diapers.”

Fleur Phillips
Certification Level I, 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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