Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Music We LOVE

Kid music that the grownups in our house can tolerate (and even enjoy):

The Putumayo Kids Playground music series - we especially love the Folk Playground CD, with song lyrics such as "Fill it up...all the way to the bottom" (it's about ice cream cones) by a band called Trout Fishing in America. "Just Kidding," "Roller in the Coaster," "It's All How You Look At It," and "Just Look Up" are a few of our favorites from this album, all by different bands or soloists. Honestly, we love them all!

Another favorite of ours is Putumayo's Dreamland CD, with "beautiful lullabies and soothing songs from Africa, Europe, North and South America and Asia" to relax and lull your little one into "Dreamland."

Another favorite of ours combines our love of Maurice Sendak's tales of children at their best and worst and the vocals of Carole King: Really Rosie. This was originally a Broadway show and the songs were all done by children...I would LOVE to hear that album! But this one done by Carole King is the next best thing and we really enjoy it! You can download this one in MP3 format at amazon.com for $.99 per song.

What do you love listening to with your kids (that doesn't drive you nuts)?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Musical Murals

We tried something new yesterday at our house. We combined our love of music with our love of art. The result: Musical Murals!

We chose two pieces of music (both instrumental pieces), one slow and repetitive, the other a fast, jaunty swing. I provided crayons and paper...the bigger the paper, the better. The kids loved it!

Follow this link to see a video of our Swing Kids musical mural!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm All Ears: What is "Focused Listening?"

Did you know the ear is fully functional at four months after conception? All sounds of mother's breathing, digestion, heartbeat, singing, and speaking are perceived by this new little life inside her womb. Amazing.

Now that your little one is bounding around, interacting with his or her world in a whirlwind of scraped knees and first words, what happens to that listening ability? This ability "is of utmost importance to every aspect of learning--physical, social, emotional, and intellectual," according to Lorna Heyge, Ph.D., and Audrey Sillick, founders of the Musikgarten Music and Movement Series.

Listening activities in our music class invite your child to
1) become a part of their community of peers as the children gather around the CD player or teacher,
2) try on a little independence as parents remain seated and observe silently,
3) listen to a single sound source and recreate that sound in their own special way.

These things are simple, but only if children can truly focus on one sound. It's challenging to pick out one sound when we are inundated with noise all day long. Loud trucks, car horns, lawn mowers, refrigerator fans, even flourescent lights, not to mention the human sounds we pick up on...a barrage of environmental sounds.

Try a focused listening session at home. When you hear a bird chirping in the tree, for example, encourage your child to just listen, without talking or moving. Then, have fun chirping like birds together!

Friday, September 5, 2008

On a High Note

Wow! Musikgarten really started on a high note this week! (Very punny, I know!)

If you missed our first class this week, please don't let that deter you from joining us next week! Registration packets will be available for all newcomers.

Classes are tuition-free each semester, but the $40 materials pack is required. This way each participant goes home with the songbook and CD for their class. New registrants also receive the Musikgarten instrument kit, containing:

  • Rhythm sticks

  • Rattle

  • Dancing scarf

  • Cloth bag

(The older preschooler's pack may be different)

If you already have the CD and songbook for the class you are in, perhaps from an older child, you are not required to pay the materials fee...you have what you need! If you still really, really want to pay for this high-quality program, feel free to make a donation to FPC's Music Department. Your contribution is welcome and appreciated!

For more information about Musikgarten, go to http://www.musikgarten.org/.

We hope to see you next Wednesday!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's Explore Our Voices

Here's a fun way to help your preschooler explore a very basic instrument: his or her voice. Demonstrate the steps below and invite your child to do the same:

  • "This is my speaking voice" (spoken normally).

  • "This is my quiet voice" (spoken in a whisper).

  • "This is my calling voice" (spoken loudly).

  • "This is my singing voice" (sung).

For more ideas about how to introduce your preschooler to music, check out this article at kidshealth.org. Developing your child's musical awareness during the preschool years is fun, easy, and inexpensive. Happy Frugal Friday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Creation

This is a sample of Musikgarten's recording of "The Creation," which we act out on the floor with interpretive movement in our older preschool classes. It's one of my favorites! As you listen, it's easy to imagine the movements young children come up with to "tell" this story with their bodies.

Click here to listen to The Creation.mp3
Recorded by: Howard Baer, Narrator, MIDI (Friends' in God's World)
© Musikgarten

Making Them Mind...With Music

Ever notice how easy it is to get things done with a child when you do it to song? They seem to tune right in when your instructions are in a song. I clued in to this phenomenon with our first child. Clothing and diaper changes seemed more like bonding time when we sang, “This is the way we change your diaper, change your diaper, change your diaper…to make you nice and clean!” It transformed our fussy baby into a smiling, cooing, playful boy during his least favorite activities.

Cleaning up is always more fun when we sing the “Clean Up” song. Children simply respond differently to music than to spoken directions. They are innately drawn to music, so parents, take advantage of it. Yes, people might look at you funny as you sing your way through the grocery store with small children in tow, but it’s worth it if it gets them through Publix with a sweet smile!
Cost to you: FREE! (Okay, it may cost you a little dignity, but it all depends on how you handle it...think Carmen Diaz in "My Best Friend's Wedding"-the karaoke scene, of course!)
For more frugal parenting ideas, check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.