Posts Tagged 'musical absorption'

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

Letting Children Learn at Their Own Pace

EE Blog PostAt our recent open house demos that we held in January, before our Winter Session began, I was struck by how many parents expressed their concern that their child does not show reactions or participate in class and therefore have never enrolled their child in a regular session. Many of these parents told me that they only attend demo classes with their children because of this concern.  I responded by emphasizing that the child may be an auditory or visual learner and that they are just soaking it all in rather than participating. Also, they may be a kinesthetic learner, a child that has to be moving to learn effectively, but that they are still processing what is going on around them.  If the child is in the room, they can’t help but absorb what is happening in the room.  According to Maria Montessori, the young child’s brain is twice as active as the adult brain and is designed to soak up their environment between the age of 0 – 5, so they can become a part of the culture they are born into.

Music Together is not a performance-based experience and each child will respond in their own way when he or she is ready.  Oftentimes the children who either were kinesthetic and circled the room the whole class or the ones who were completely still in class, not moving a muscle, go home and do all the motions where they feel most comfortable.  Parents will come to class the next week and rave about how their child knew more movements than the parent!

A child’s participation in a demo class is very rare indeed. Think of all the stimuli that she is experiencing…new faces (children and adults), new music, new surroundings. The list goes on and on. It usually takes a child 6 weeks to feel completely comfortable in the class.

We need to remember to let our children learn at their own pace and in their own way, and not put our own expectations on them. The most important thing we can do is have fun in class and model joyful and enthusiastic music making!  Children are geared to take in all the loves that their parents have.  If we are consistent in showing passion while making music, we will be giving our children the gift of music that will last for a lifetime.

Edie Elkjer
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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