Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Recorder Time in Kindermusik!

Sorry about all this snow cancellations! I know those Kindermusik Young Child 4 children are so anxious to know thier first notes on the recorder! Here's something to keep you going till we meet again: It's a video of a grown up group of musicians that play the Recorder. The recorder ensemble is really a beautiful sound. I mentioned in class that the recorder was one of the main instruments of the day in the Baroque era. Harpsichords, alto recorders, violins, lutes (like a guitar) were what everyone played after dinner (or any time that we today would fill with television!). Alto was preferred because it's not quite so shrill and high sounding as the soprano. The soprano is the one taught in schools since it is smaller and better suited for student's small hands.

The drawback of the recorder was that there was only one dynamic level, only medium loud (mf). If you blow harder to play louder (f) you get a sharper pitch. Or softer for quiet (p), your pitch would be flat. So newer instruments like flutes and clarinets soon ranked higher in popularity and eventually more music was written for them than the recorder. But as the video interview mentioned that the recorder is STILL the most widely played instrument....since it is used in music classes worldwide. I bet there's a recorder in your closet that you could unearth and play with your Young Child student! What a great idea. Let me know if you need a fingering or two to get you going.

(I actually played the alto recorder for a selection on my senior recital. I played a Handel Sonata and it was accompanied by a harpsichord. How authentic! It was great fun. )

Tootles for now,

Tips to Molly and the Kindermusik Educators of Canada Yahoo group.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Big Birthdays!

Important Birthdays! One is for my son, Ben who celebrated birthday 19 (Jan. 25th) away at college! this is his last "Teen" year. Wow, I tell you moms, don't blink it passes so fast. It's also Mozart's birthday, Jan. 27. Mozart was a very special performer and composer. Here you can listen to a very famous performer, Jascha Heifetz, play a "Rondo" by Mozart. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVSgx7gKc_k We'll learn about rondos in the Big Kid class of Young Child 4. It's where the main theme keeps coming around and around. We map it out like this: ABACADA. I wonder if your little little ones will dance to this lively fun music.

Mozart, the stories tell us, had and amazing relationship with sound. He would hear one performance of a big piece of music and remember it so precisely that he could go home and write it all out. He also could not stand to be in the same building as a tuning orchestra!

I've met children who've seemed to have a high aptitude for music and yet cringe and hide when I turn the CD player on or cry and cover their ears when I bring in a trumpet or guitar to show the Young Child class. Maybe you know of someone who won't be in the same room as a vacuume cleaner or who refuses to use the automatic restrooms at the library. Maybe it's just a big crowd that sets off a tantrum in your toddler or the tags in their clothes!

These children struggle with sensory integration. It's hard for parents to understand what's going on and we're tempted to pack up and go home thinking that music classes just aren't something their child likes. Imagine if Mozart's parent's dropped his music lessons!

Sensory Integration issues can be for any of the senses and can be a challenge for adults as well as children. Here's a good book, readable and helpful: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0060195207/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-5163147-4610521#reader-link

Your Kindermusik of Holland teachers are knowledgeable about Sensory Integration and want to work with you to make Kindermusik a wonderful experience for your child....

If you are interested in Sensory Integration let me know. I love this topic and I'd like to write more about it on this blog. Stay tuned.

For now I've got to go turn down the CD player because while Mozart is great, I just can't take the music too loud!



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Creativity is as important as literacy!

What does it mean to invest in our children's education? Will we, as parents of our country's most precious natural resource, dare to take a risk with investing in our children's education? A risk that may stand up in the face of "how things are done" in today's education scene? Please listen to Sir Ken Robinson in this little video about creativity. http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=ken_robinson
He's entertaining and thought provoking. I'd like to hear more so I put his book Out Of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative on hold at the library.

I loved his vignette about the dancer. When I watch toddlers dance I KNOW we were born to dance. And we were born to sing! What DOES happen to us????? Will we let the same thing happen to our children?

How do you nurture a child's creativity? I think a good way to start is to affirm their creativity every chance we get. I notice that when we do free dance like "All Around the Kitchen" in Kindermusik Our Time (18 months to 3 1/2) if the adult imitates and labels the children "moves" they are so happy! They notice that you noticed! They'll give you MORE fun moves to try! (practicing creativity!) Make a point to imitate your little one and watch their reaction.

Notice that I didn't suggest that you praise them. That's a slippery slope. Praise doesn't really give them feedback that they can use. They need information...Your imitation is a mirror for them to see their action, creativity, and your attention. Saying "Good Job!" sets them up to worry if they can possibly keep up the "good work". They may respond by quitting so that they are sure they have control over not getting your praise in the future. (Read: Punished By Rewards by Alfie Kohn.)

In parenting we touch the future. Invest wisely!
(And don't forget to re enroll! holland.kindermusik.net)
See you in class,

"tips to Miss Sunny of Kindermusik at Musikandmotion"

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Use Your Singing Voice!

Over the years at the Kindermusik of Holland studio there have been children with the most beautiful angelic voices. Some of them stand out in my memory and I remember thinking that the Vienna Boy's Choir from Austria would surely catch wind of them and snatch up these boys! One day one of these little guys made a remark that I've pondered ever since. He seeemed hesitant to sing and I was trying to encourage him. Then he said, "Miss Yvette, I have a girl's voice." I wonder if he saw my shock! How very sad! I said "Oh, J. you can't have a girl's voice! It's YOUR voice and you are a boy. And YOUR voice is very beautiful." I don't believe he was convinced.

Can you imagine at such a young age not loving a part of yourself that is truly a beautiful gift? How did he get the message that his boy soprano voice, so clear and strong, was something to be ashamed of? How many other children out there are struggling with subtle messages about their voices, ......or perhaps their gracefulness in dancing?.... or desire to play the flute?......Where's it written that only girls should have high voices and enjoy them, only girls should play the flute or take ballet? Come on Boys! Check out this macho guy singing with gusto from his toes!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdlM8Q7hC_4 The music he sings is from the Mozart Opera "The Magic Flute" which we talked about in the Young Child 1 class this semester. When this boy grows up his voice will be a man's voice, just like your's, J!

More (all boys):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nrvaKJx5AA&mode=related&search=

Peace and creativity,

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

New Year's Resolution


New Year's resolutions usually make me nervous. Maybe I overshoot. I don't like saying I will do something and not carry through. So I like to choose something I can claim as a success! And maybe add a challenge resolution too. Here's what I'd like to do this year:
1. Give more hugs
2. Make a quiet time for myself to clear my mind once a day
Maybe you could choose to make more time to enjoy or make music with your family. There's a wonderful free concert on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 at Wichers Auditorium in the Nykerk Music building at Hope College. It is the Norbert Meuller Concerto Competition. Eighteen very talented high school musicians will each present a movement from a concerto. It's a long concert from 1pm to 4:15 but it is understood that people will be coming and going between numbers so you can get up and leave when you need to. If you happen to be there at 3:00 you'll hear my daughter, Claire present a movement of a Saint Saens Concerto. I can't begin to count up the hours of practice she's invested. I would love to hear a guess on how many hours all 18 have invested.
Happy prosperous and musical New Year to you and your families.