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!