Thursday, May 31, 2007

Korsakov - Flight of the bumble bee - by Alexander Dmitriev

Another Kindermusik bogger, Merri Williams in Georgia, posted this and I just loved it. He's playing an accordian like mine: buttons on both sides. I should mention that I have an accordian but I don't know what to do with it! I play in maybe once a year....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who wrote "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"? Some believe Mozart did but the tune, well known to the French as "Ah vous dirai-je, maman", is a folk tune. Mozart wrote the famous variations based on this folk tune. Like folk stories they were passed down orally and the original composer is not known. Often there are many versions of the stories....or tunes! When I listen to Mozart's version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star I hear scampering stars, skipping stars, sad stars, upsidedown stars....This link takes you to listen to a little bit of it. It's really a great one to own for your own family collection.

Get out your calendar. This is a great list of mostly free live music opportunities in Holland for you and your children.

What do street performers"do? Just about anything but mainly the make live music!
Musical, acrobatic and otherwise interesting performers are in downtown Holland on Thursday evenings 5:30pm to 8:00pm for your enjoyment! They put out their fiddle case for tips. The children can get pretty close to the musicians and they are usually wide eyed and try to dance while strapped in the stroller! You just gotta let them out! You might find street performers at other times on 8th street or at the Farmers' Market. Who might see and hear me! I've been out already once this season busking!

July 12, 2007, Noon - 2:00 p.m.
In cooperation with WOTV - 41, Priority Health, and Hudsonville Ice Cream, the City of Holland's Recreation Division is proud to present the eighth annual "
Party In The Park". Look for Kindermusik of Holland at this event!!!

August 18 Holland Symphony Orchestra - Community Concert – Symphonic Circus
7:30 PM Kollen Park Bandshell Holland FREE
Come early with your picnic and enjoy the preconcert activities. Look for Miss Yvette, she'll be there in the thick of it!

I've tried to be pretty inclusive about this list. Do you know of something I've missed?
Won't you forward this link to your friends with young children?

Remember, singing to your children is live music too!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baby Einsteins or Baby Mozarts?

Here's what some say: You want to bog kids down with all this brain stuff and turn them into baby Einsteins or Mozarts....Let them be children!!! They are too overbooked! "TROPHY KIDS".

Here's my thought:

I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day
of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline
and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.
—Shin'ichi Suzuki

LIVE music used to be an everyday affair. Like breathing air. Live music in the parlor. Live music after dinner. Live music to fill the long winter. Live music and singing to work by. Everyone singing lullabies for babies. Adult models making and loving music everywhere you look. This was and is a part of our humaness. Part of how we develop our language skills, gracefulness, empathy, intellect, and our spirit (and more). Something has happened and we have cut off our air supply. We desparately need it.

If we put it back in some then say you are trying to create a genius or a "trophy kid".

I do agree that children need down time. I do agree children need time to be out side and play with NO STRUCTURE. I do believe childern need quiet time to hear their own thoughts and make up their own songs. And I do believe we humans need music. Choose your children's activities carefully parents.

Trying to create a genius? I say maybe genius is our right. Let's go dance and sing a little, shall we? All summer!

Oh, those blest baby siblings of Kindermusik families!

I've been thinking about the pregnant mommies in my Kindermusik classes! I often will ask the "big" brother or sister if they think their baby can hear the egg shaker or jingle bells. I know they can hear it all and are familiar with the voices of mom (especially) and dad and siblings.

I know, moms, that talking to your unborn baby is really important for language development and emotional well being. And I've heard of people taking classes in music before the baby is born or putting earphones on their belly so the fetus can hear music. Sorry, I thought that was a bit much! Well, maybe not!!! And why am I not really surprised?

In the past, women all over the world have sung lullabies to their babies.
These were very important because as we now know the fetus is having first language lessons in the womb. The inflections of the mother tongue are conveyed not only through speech but most importantly through song. The singing voice has a richer frequency range than speech. In fact, studies in other disciplines such as linguistics and musicology (e.g., David Whitwell, 1993) point out that there was a time when speech was song and therefore singing is the older of the two.

Here's more.

So blest are those families who bring thier first to Kindermusik while expecting #2! That new baby really is getting the royal treatment. AND those songs will be your new baby's favorites! The auditory system of the fetus is fully functioal about twenty weeks after conception. Researcher Alexandra Lamont of Keele University in the UK shows that they are developing memory for those sounds they hear. One year old children recgonized and prefered music they were exposed to in the womb even when they had not heard it during their first year.

That information I found in Daniel Levitin's book: This Is Your Brain On Music. (I am looking forward to hearing him speak at the Kindermusik Conference in October!)

Shin'ichi Suzuki the founder of the Suzuki Method of private lessons for violin, piano etc. knew this first hand from observing the baby who reacted joyfully on hearing the familiar music of the sibling playing on the violin.

So, before birth the babies are working on their brain: language development, memory, pleasure in music, .......

Don't stop there. At Kindermusik of Holland babies under 5 months old will receive 5 classes free (materials not included). Let's keep up the great momentum.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Challenge of the Children Conference

Hello to the new freinds I've met at the conference today. I really enjoyed telling you about babies brains and music....I hope you take the torch and pass it on. Enjoy the blog. This is me just after the presentation. I'm doing the Mexican Hat Dance with my graduating class of Kindermusik Kids. I can't believe they've become so grown up and knowledgable about music. I love them all. Ole!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

How a mom gets Real:
From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ungly, except to people who don't understand."......

What's your perspective, Mom?

I do wonder how Kindermusik looks in your eyes and ears and hearts...Maybe some of you could give me feedback: Here's what another Kindermusik educator has heard...and we can peek:

I do know that I've made a connection with the children. When I look in their eyes I see joy, intrigue, curiosity, trust, view is really beautiful! That's why I come very close to tears when I sing goodbye on the last day. Next time I see them so much will have changed.

Thanks Danielle.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What's good about Kindermusik for big kids?

I can't say enough about Kindermusik for 3 1/2 to 8 year olds (Kindermusik Imagine That! and Kindermusik Young Child). My goal is not to prepare them for school like the graph below suggests (click on it to read the study in detail). But my own goal is nurturing creativity, thinking, musicality, and joy. I do work them hard and I am so proud of my Kindermusik "graduates". They can read music...they can look at a sheet of music notes and hear the tune of it in their heads! They know key signatures, meter signatures, syncopation, ledger lines, musical form, they can read and play one rhythmic line while two or more contrasting lines are being played simultaneously, they know the instruments of the orchestra, ......They are amazing. Every year I am simply blown away. Area private teachers continue to tell me they love those Kindermusik graduates because they really fly through the first few books....And another thing: Parents of Kindermusik graduates really understand the imortance of their support and involvement in this musical journey. It really pays off and in more ways than one.Thank you for sharing your children with me. I love them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

How Early?

"What scientists say at the moment is that music instruction will make you
smarter about music, and that for music to help children they need to
begin instruction really, really early."
I've thought long and hard about this. Traditional Suzuki method wants you to start children playing violin at 3 years old. When my older children, Ben and Claire, were finished with Kindermusik we signed up on a local violin teacher's waiting list....and waited and waited. Hey! I'm the Kindermusik teacher! What if we've missed the music boat??? Ben was ten and Claire was eight when we finally found a different violin teacher who's waiting list was not so loooong. Now Ben is 19 and plays with the Keewenaw Symphony and Claire is concert master for the Holland Area Youth Orchestra. One might argue that they didn't start very early but I say they didn't physically hold their instrument very early but they've been in music since the beginning!!! They've gone to all my Kindermusik classes!

And Kindermusik has the prefect early class. Kindermusik Village. Now we offer 5 weeks of Kindermusik free for babies who are 5 months old or younger.

You can begin instruction really, really early. There's no waiting list for this.

Thanks miss Jamie in Kansas...
ps...our prayers are with you all in Kansas struggling in the tornado aftermath.

Why music?

Music should be a daily requirement in every facility...every home!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Do we know good music when we hear it?

I was riveted to this Washington Post article. Now I will finally go to bed mulling over this significant paragraph:

...the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past (the street musician), he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

Hey, we've got to stop and smell the roses. Take a hint from the children.

Hat tips to Molly and Miss Terri! Thanks.

The Window of Opportunity

A newborn, you might think, exhausted from the birth, would be ready for an attempted nursing but would rather fall into a deep sleep. Some know that nursing in the first hour is critical but also that during the last trimester have stored up a layer of fat especially since that colostrum comes in such small amounts and the mature milk doesn't come in for a few days.

I have witnessed a newborn crawl with amazing strength and determination from his mother's belly to find and latch on to the breast completely unaided. If you catch the window of opportunity the baby will actively nurse for a long time...not just an attempt. Imagine that baby's advantage in receiving more than just a belly full of colostrum. Colostrum is the liquid gold that is not only full of antibodies and a laxitive for bilirubins, but also carries the critical flora needed for coating the intestines.

I have a particular interest in babies....(other than my own since they've grown). I've been a La Leche League leader since 1995 and I help moms who call in desparation, in tears! La Leche League offers information and support to moms who choose to breastfeed their babies. LLL is not about telling any mom what they should or should not do...we want to support them in their choices. La Leche League, International is the world authority on breastfeeding and by being a leader I am connected to information to help mothers in many different situations regarding breastfeeding.

A few years ago I attended an area conference for LLL and heard a presenter explain how the mother, gazing lovingly into the newborn's eyes, would cause hormones to be released that promote the production of breastmilk. We were encouraged to include information about that loving gaze in explaining breastfeeding to mothers.

Recently I came across more information about that loving gaze in that first hour after birth. It's really a critical brain growth moment. When a baby is just born they are amazingly alert. If they are given what they naturally crave, the mother's loving gaze, their brain turns on! They turn on in a way that causes them to be so alert to visual stimulation from that point on. They study everything that comes into they periferal vision especially if it's a face. The more of the mother's face they see, the more development happens in the limbic system of the brain and less has to take place in the hind brain. The hind brain deals with survival issues and usually involves stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol is not optimal for brain growth.
I love the Kindermusik Village class. There are so many golden moments of eye to eye contact. Precious! Precious in so many ways but to me I treasure the brain growth happening right before my very eyes! As we say: Kindermusik....a good beginning never ends.
So happy mothers day to brand new mothers this year. Kindermusik of Holland is offering 5 weeks of Village class TUITION FREE to babies under 5 months old. (Materials are not included.) That means you can take an entire summer session with your infant tuition free!
Let's take advantage of this window of opportunity!
Are you going to tell your friends?
Yvette Odell

Monday, May 7, 2007

Here Comes the Broom Man! Street Cleaning Parade!

Don't you think parades are more fun when you are in them?

You know, last year we sang our hearts out and the crowds really did love it.
So meet us on Wednesday, May 9th, at the corner of 8th and Columbia at 1 pm to be in the Street Sweeping Parade (in costume). Some bring thier own buckets or brooms, some bring a wagon for riding, some just come for the walk and use a broom or bucket that the city provides.

Anne is ready! Her grandmother came to town and made her Dutch costume! How lucky!

We're thinking of all the Kindermusik clean up songs we know!

"This is the way we sweep the streets..."

"Sweep, sweep, sweep the streets...."

"Here comes the broom man, passing by..."

"Dirt away, dirt away, Now we sweep the dirt away!"

Got any more ideas?

Do join us. Ms Darcy and I will be looking for you.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Beatboxing Flute

This is such a fun time in Kindermusik for the Young Child 2 class. We now have the cards for all the instruments of the orchestra. The four families: Percussion, Brass, String and Woodwind families....And we bring all this together with the story of Peter and the Wolf. Here's a wild and wonderful way to look at the music of Peter and the Wolf all on the flute, my favorite instrument!

I often ask which instrument the children are dreaming of playing in a couple years. Piano? Violin? Flute? Guitar? Tuba? Harp? I think it's important to encourage them to dream about this. Besides being an important cognitive activity, playing an instrument through high school is such a wonderful way to have a safe and fun social group.

I encourage families to take their young children to live music concerts as often as possible, even before they start taking those piano lessons. Talk about "what's their favorite instrument" and that "after Kindermusik they will take lessons" as if it was just what everyone does....They won't skip a beat!

You've made a great investment in Kindermusik. Many local private music teachers report back to me that they absolutely love Kindermusik Graduates! They just fly through those first couple books. I say of course! We didn't have to learn what a quarter note was while sitting still on a piano bench. We jumped them and danced them into knowing! Now at their first piano lesson they are already making music!
Who knows where they will go from there! What a start.