Interesting Instruments

An obvious core element of any Kindermusik class is the Instrument Play. You will always find a delightful variety of simple instruments, usually percussion based. Percussion instruments are ideal for young children because they are so simple to play! They require tapping, shaking, or striking. It is the perfect type of instrument to start learning on because its most fundamental element is steady beat.

Young children do not have the ability to externalize a steady beat yet, so we give them lots of practice by rocking them, bouncing them, patting them, etc. Listening to music, and playing along with a caretaker gives them additional exposure to this crucial skill. Steady beat will help your child as they develop gross motor movements, such as walking, running, and jumping.

These steady beat through instrument play experiences provide what we call a “synchronous social movement”. It has been shown through research that synchronous movement bonds a group of people, signaling to the child that the people with whom they share this experience are part of their tribe and are safe. It is socialization that the baby’s brain inherently understands.

These percussion instruments also give your child fine motor development practice. It takes skill to grasp an instrument, shake an instrument, release an instrument, and more. It also develops their hand-eye coordination, which will in turn help them as they learn to write, use scissors, play ball, etc.

Other benefits of instrument play include learning the pro-social skills of turn taking, observation skills, and the ability to follow. These skills will help them be ready to be in a musical ensemble once they begin instruction on a primary instrument.

Additionally, instrument play is the perfect opportunity for the caregiver to practice their skill of scaffolding. When you scaffold with a child you observe the skill they are already demonstrating, you validate that skill by labeling it and copying it, and then you add upon that skill. When you show your child how to take what they can already do and add to it, taking it to the next level, you are giving them growth opportunities, creative problem solving skills, and chances to utilize their autonomy to come up with new and diverse ways to play with their instrument.

So much is happening developmentally when you and your little one shake those little egg shakers or tap your rhythm sticks. Plus, it’s FUN and JOYFUL and breeds CONNECTION. And with all that joy and connection comes dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin. And who doesn’t need more of that?

Congrats Grads!

It’s that time of year again! We are SO PROUD of our Kindermusik graduates. They have worked hard this year learning their instruments during a peculiar time. Some students learned online at home, others came to the classroom. It was very challenging learning with the hurdles they faced this year and they did amazing!

Last year we had a virtual graduation. We were so glad to be back in person for our graduation this year. It was distanced and different than in the past, but the one thing we’ve learned from this last year is to be flexible and adaptable.

We kicked things off with a Kindermusik Fiesta, including tacos, a sombrero dance, and a piñata.

Each graduate was able to share with the class and parents what their favorite part of Kindermusik was. It was wonderful to hear them each speak and they all looked so adorable in their purple mortar boards.

It is such an honor to be able to have been a part of your child’s early development. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for allowing us to foster a love and understanding of music in them. Now they are ready to SOAR in their future instrument studies. Come back and visit so we can watch them grow. We will miss you, Music Friends!

Why Toddler Music Lessons Aren’t the Best Idea

Stressing about whether or not toddler music lessons are worth it?

They’re not and here’s why…

Have you ever heard “my son started playing piano at age 2,” or “my daughter picked up her first guitar when she was 3!”

It’s true that early instrument exposure is important.

However, age-appropriate instrument exploration (like shakers and rhythm sticks), especially within a group setting, is a critical first step in 0-3 music education.

Plus, developmental milestones boosted through starter instruments are directly connected to whether a child will actually master (and stick with) an instrument like the piano or guitar later.

Here’s the logic behind this approach, how to pick the right starter instruments for your toddler, and why toddler music class is much more beneficial than toddler music lessons.

What’s Wrong with Toddler Music Lessons?

Think about toddlers and toys. Does s/he play with the same toy all day every day?

You probably rotate them in and out to help tune up different abilities and renew interest.

There’s a reason rotating learning tools (including instruments!) is important for our youngest learners. They lack the attention span needed to devote to just one activity.

So, even if your toddler took an interest in one instrument, the chances of her coming back to it over and over are slim.

Toddlers also need exposure to a variety of early instruments to help develop things like fine motor skills (grasping, pinching, pressing, etc.) and steady beat (think tapping on a hand drum).

These skills not only ramp up basic school readiness but help them excel at activities like music lessons when they’re older.

How Do I Know Which Instruments Are Best For My Toddler?

Toddlers need sturdy, safe, and easy-to-grasp early instruments.

Plus, early instrument exploration goes so much farther than learning about different sounds.

For example, making soft and loud sounds with an egg shaker is the perfect activity for boosting self-regulation (like calming down before a nap).

And simple, sheer scarves can really help toddlers imitate sound through movement, taking their imaginations to the next level.

The best part is, many of the instruments you might see in a toddler music class can be recreated with household items.

A box of rice is the perfect substitute for egg shakers and chunky wooden puzzle pieces are ideal sand blocks.

What’s The Benefit Of Group Music Classes For Toddlers?

When toddlers experience music and movement with others, they’re learning about important concepts in a fun, memorable environment, and gaining essential social-emotional skills they’ll carry throughout life.

That’s the big advantage over a lesson…at this age, the “group” is what makes the learning stick.

Studio Kindermusik classes also include a parent or caregiver.

Research shows that when trusted grownups are present, children feel the safety they need to create freely.

Plus, it supports an irreplaceable bonding experience that feeds into confidence, communication, and so much more.

So, should you be anti-music lessons? Absolutely not.

From dexterity to listening skills, exposure to age-appropriate instruments and fundamentals learned in a class setting will make all the difference when transitioning to the piano, guitar, or whatever single-instrument lesson your child desires when the time is right.

Help develop the foundations she needs to turn a love of music into a passion, and boost major cognitive skills along the way!

-Reposted from Kindermusik International