Month: May 2011

Spotlight on Babies in Music Class

Babies in Kindermusik Village and Sign and Sing never cease to amaze me. Those babies really make me feel like I’m the star of the show! I like to keep an relaxed, natural air to our classes, providing some much needed time for the grown-ups to get to know each other. There’s certainly lots of time for that at the beginning and end of class and we trickle it in throughout our activities where it fits too. The babies let us know when they are ready for the next activity if they start to fuss. But I tell you, each and every time I open my mouth and sing the beginning of our next activity, they all stop, turn their heads and stare at me! It’s amazing!

I’ve seen so much growth over the years watching babies who have begun with Kindermusik as early as 3 weeks and move on up to the toddler music classes at our music school! One thing I notice time and time again is that babies understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Within a couple of weeks of repetition of an activity, at all stages, babies consistently anticipate what’s coming next. And wow, do they ever pick up those signs quickly in our signing class, like ball and bear! I’m equally impressed to see the babies at the beginning of an 8 week session who cry and carry on when they have to put away a toy or instrument easily put away those items at the end of an 8 week session! Not to mention the fabulous vocalization that occurs throughout our classes… but check out the blog on Baby Speak in Baby Music Class.

All in all, I love watching the changes that take place in the babies. Their familiarity with the classroom, their excitement to see me and Mokie, the smiles and giggles and vocalization and words…and oh how can I forget the first step that was taken in music class a few weeks ago by little Grayson! A first for him and a first for me! Just goes to show you how comfortable the babies are in class!

Wow – Paul Simon in Concert!

Feeling inspired! I was fortunate enough to get to see one of my musical idols in concert this past weekend, none other than Paul Simon. His music certainly touched my soul from a very young age. I can remember countless hours of listening to records of Simon and Garfunkel with my friends back in high school. And how can I forget my parents blasting the Graceland album throughout the house while all of us would sing along at the top of our lungs!

Paul Simon was definitely a strong musical influence in my life growing up and I love his music today just as much as I did then. His music is so beautiful, with rich harmonies, interesting melodies, fantastic instrumentation and unexpected nuances in form. What an inspiration. Seeing him in concert was a real treat – something I never would have thought would happen in my lifetime! Not only that but seeing him at such an intimate venue as the Sound Academy made it even better! And to make him even more iconic in my mind, he actually invited a young woman up from the audience to play with him! Wow, what it must’ve been like to be her in that moment! He played the 2 songs I most wanted to hear during his 2 encores – Kodachrome and Late in the Evening. He even played the first song that really made me fall in love with Simon and Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence (This tiny little pic is him playing The Sound of Silence).

Paul Simon - The Sound of Silence

Now that I’m back to reality and continue to have Paul Simon tunes float around in my head has prompted me to revisit my old Simon and Garfunkel music book. And pulling it out of my shelf, I am reminded again of my love for Simon’s music by the tattered book holding together by one little thread and a staple. Well used is an understatement. Perhaps it’s a sign I should be passing this amazing music on to my music students by teaching some of these amazing tunes in our lessons!

Signing Fun with Little Ones

Daddy SignDid you know that signing with your baby can actually help him to speak and understand language sooner? So many people believe that by signing with baby, they will inhibit their baby’s ability to speak as he will just rely on signing to communicate. Well this is simply not the case.

Signing can actually improve your baby’s language comprehension and ability to speak sooner. By signing with baby, we add a level of understanding that surpasses simply pointing and labelling. Not only that, but we are giving baby the tools to communicate with us long before their vocal chords are capable of producing language. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of muscle control to put the syllables together to create words. Certainly ample vocal play, as we do in our Kindermusik Village baby music class, can help strengthen those muscles and practice syllables. But your baby will not be able to communicate with you much sooner. No wonder both you and baby can experience so much frustration.

Signing can help to alleviate a lot of the communication frustration you both experience. However, it’s not as simple as just signing a few handy signs that work for you, like “milk”, “eat”, and “more”. Those signs are certainly useful for you, but not as interesting for baby. It’s much more likely that baby’s first signs will be something of interest to them, like “ball” or “music”. And it’s more likely that they will use signs more regularly if you know how to add them into your day regularly and naturally. Sounds tricky, but it’ easier than you think through some simple techniques incorporated into your playtime, bath time, reading, mealtime and everyday activities. In the Sign & Sing class here at the Sing Music Studio, you’ll learn all about how beneficial and easy it is to add signing into your day and find out, firsthand, how much signing can impact your communication with baby. New Sign & Sing class begins mid-May!