Music Matters

As we see school budgets being slashed, often one of the first things to get cut is music. This is unfortunate and will be to the detriment of students because music is not elective. Music is core.

Music is one of the most amazing ways to experience the world. Humans are able to appreciate music even from birth. Has your nighttime lullaby singing ever soothed your fussy infant? Has a favorite album played in the car ever quieted your restless toddler? Before infants learn to speak they are able to express themselves and respond to emotional stimuli through music.

This is why it is so crucial that children have access to musical instruments from the earliest days of their development so that they can explore the possibilities of self-expression through sound.

This musical experimentation helps them develop fine and gross motor skills. It helps them with emotional awareness. It gives them a sense of confidence and individuality as they explore different ways to play an instrument.

All these experiences are present in every single Kindermusik class. From our foundations classes for babies all the way up for our more advanced music education classes for our 5-7 year olds.

The intellectual and technical skills practised through learning an instrument benefit children in other areas. Children who begin to learn reading music at an early age typically do better in core subjects such as mathematics and literacy during their primary school years. This head start can set them on the path to lifelong academic success, as well as providing them with the foundations for a skill which can be developed throughout childhood and enjoyed in later life.

A musical start in life is a smart start. A musical start is a joyful start. A musical start is a beneficial start. The benefits roll in from the earliest of days and can continue through a person’s lifespan.

This is the why of Kindermusik. This is why Song of the Heart Studios exists. To bring the benefits of music to you, to your families, to your lives. It is our hope that your time here in our studio will set your children on a path of musical experiences, abilities, and appreciation that will last them for many years to come. The investment you are making now will pay dividends long into the future.

But as beneficial as it is to your child’s development, an immediate benefit is the joy and connection it brings to you both NOW. We hope every day that you join in with us is a day we bring you delight.

Now let’s make some more music together.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time . . .

. . . When we have our traditional Song of the Heart Winter Holiday class.

We’ve had fun ice skating on paper plates, playing our jingle bells, going on sleigh rides, spinning in dreidels, and creating snow storms. And when we say traditional, we mean traditional. We have one Song of the Heart Family that has been coming to our studio for 11 years. Four of their children have enjoyed our Sleigh Ride at the age of 2 years old. Unfortunately their oldest didn’t join our studio until he was 3, so he is not pictured here, but he still became a Kindermusik graduate! We simply LOVE being part of your children’s lives.

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Our Guiding Light

It’s that time of year when we reflect back and look forward. And whooo boy! What a year to look back on. This year threw everyone for a loop. Plans made were cancelled. Goals were postponed or given up on. Realignments were made as we evaluated what really mattered and what was truly worth the effort in continuing during this historic year.

At Song of the Heart Studios it was our mission that carried us through the struggles that this year brought: to be the place where eyes shine and children flourish. Just because we are living through unprecedented times that have made literally everything more challenging, we didn’t want to give up on our mission. We knew that you needed a place to continue to turn to for the joy and growth and connection that happens in a Kindermusik class, but provided in a safe way. We knew that the joy and connection that happens in class could sustain you and your family during these hard times.

During the JOY Team’s summer retreat we discussed the WHY we do what we do. And WHAT did we want to focus on in continuing to keep the studio open during the pandemic. There was a unanimous consensus; what we wanted to focus on was YOU. We wanted to continue to serve the families we had, and keep the studio open for departing families when they were ready to return.

The world needs MORE joy, not less. The world needs MORE connection, not less. And so we stretched ourselves and changed our protocols and pivoted each time a new challenge presented itself. Our commitment to your families and your children has been our guiding light.

And so at this end of year we want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU for sticking with us this year. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for being part of our tribe. Thank you for sharing your children with us and letting us love and teach them. Thank you for giving us a reason to keep our doors open. Thank you for providing the means for us to keep our doors open.

In this coming year we renew our commitment to our studio’s values and will strive with each class to bring you HEART, JOY, CONNECTION, FAMILY, and GROWTH. May your family’s eyes continue to shine and your children flourish with each Kindermusik class.

Happy New Year!

Joy Juice!

Have you started using I Love You Rituals at home yet? Or perhaps come up with your own? The reason we like to incorporate I Love You Rituals in class and encourage you to use them regularly at home is that doing so gives you and your child a shot of JOY JUICE.

What is Joy Juice? It is a hormonal cocktail that your body releases and bathes your brain in when you engage in a moment of connection with a loved one. It is comprised of dopamine, endorphins, and other natural hormones. It can have an equivalent effect on a child’s brain as a dose of Ritalin. But completely natural! And you have access to it ANY TIME YOU WANT.

Dr. Becky Baily of Conscious Discipline teaches “Joy Juice is a combination of positive brain chemicals that create joyful feelings literally wiring the brain for impulse control and willingness.”

Looking to add more joy to your family’s life and help transform challenging behavior? Add some Joy Juice!

The key elements to accessing your and your child’s body’s Joy Juice production and distribution facility are:

  1. Eye contact: Getting down on your child’s level, looking them in the eye, and using their name, is essential to building the connection needed for the release of these hormones.
  2. Touch: Placing your hand on your child’s shoulder or head, a gentle tickle, or a hug, signals to the child that they are safe. It readies them for connection and cooperation.
  3. Presence: Being fully present in the moment and with your child indicates empathy and comfort. It’s a way of signaling to them that they matter to you and that you are a safe place for them.
  4. Playfulness: A playful situation gives the brain a little break and primes it for more learning. A playful game can put us in a state called “relaxed alertness” which is optimal for learning and readiness.


The connections we build with others on the outside builds neural connections on the inside and give us this Joy Juice.

So when you’re in a challenging moment with your child, get down on their level, place your hand on their shoulder, use their name and say “Find my eyes.” Then be present and playful with them. It only takes a moment to connect, prime the brain, and promote connection and cooperation.

Here’s to more JOY!

It’s That Time of Year . . .

. . . When we do our annual holiday class with you and your little ones.

We’ve had fun ice skating on paper plates, playing our jingle bells, going on sleigh rides, spinning in dreidels, and creating snow storms.

The mission of our holiday class is to bring you JOY, our first and foremost studio value. This time of year is filled with hectic schedules: gift buying, present wrapping, recitals, concerts, parties, traveling, hostessing, all on top of our regularly scheduled lives.

And with all that over-scheduling comes stress. It’s no secret that the magic of the holiday season is created by the hard working parents (let’s be honest: mostly the moms). Not only the events and the parties and the decorations, but the PRESENTS. So much shopping. So much financial stress as we blow the budget.

Remember . . . the most important thing you can give your family during the holidays is PRESENCE. The most important thing you can give your family is SHARED EXPERIENCES. And those don’t have to cost much of anything.

So say no. Say no to a couple of things on that endless holiday to-do list, and instead have a Christmas carol sing-along. Drive around and see your neighbor’s house lights. Clean the bathtub sparkling fresh and indulge in some alone-time.

We are honored that we could spend this week creating holiday magic for YOU because we know how much work you put in to this time of year. We hope you enjoyed it. See you in the New Year!


At the end of my daughter’s Kindermusik for the Young Child classes this week, a fellow student came bursting out of class, with delight and pride, exclaiming to her mom that she “matched Ms. Carol’s pitch!” (Ms. Carol asks her older students to sing back to her when they get a stamp, “Good-bye Ms. Carol,”—using music to create an I Love You (TM) ritual, and giving the students another opportunity to develop their musical ear.) While I don’t make it a habit to eavesdrop on the conversations that other caregivers have with their kids at the studio (so, you know, don’t be paranoid when you see me there that your conversation will end up on the web forevermore!), this one caught my ear. That girl, sharing the contentment of her accomplishment, excitedly sharing it with her mom, exuded pure joy.

Joy. It is one of the most profound human emotions that we can experience. It can also be a really difficult emotion to experience, because it betrays our vulnerability. An addict, for instance, may be as likely to experience a relapse after a joyful experience as he or she may be as part of a depressive experience, because both can be very overwhelming and difficult to face alone. Certainly, not all of our habits are unhealthy. Candy Crush, exercise, shopping or eating can all be good things, if they hold an appropriate space in our lives. But if we turn to those things so as not to experience emotion (joy or sorrow), we are numbing. And I have learned that we cannot selectively numb–if we numb the pain, we also numb the joy in our lives.

Pema Chodron quoteOf course, it takes regular practice for me just to sit with strong emotions. I tend to forget when I’m in pain that it will pass, and that when the joy comes it will be worthwhile. Child-rearing, of course, is one big petree dish in which to practice vulnerability and courage. Or, as my dad used to say, “Kids are a lump in the throat or a pain in the butt.”

Brené Brown, author and shame researcher, teaches that joy comes when we practice gratitude:

“We can spend our entire lives in scarcity . . . just waiting for the other shoe to drop and wondering when it will all fall apart. Or, we can lean into the uncertainty and be thankful for what we have in that precious moment. When I’m standing at the crossroads of fear and gratitude, I’ve learned that I must choose vulnerability and practice gratitude if [I] want to know joy. I’m not sure that it will ever be easy for me, but I have learned to trust this practice. For that, I give thanks!” (Brené Brown, blog post, What I’ve Learned About Gratitude and Fear 11/23/11, accessed 4/10/15).

But, she notes, we can’t just say that we practice gratitude—we actually have to have some measurable way of marking that for which we are grateful:

One of the Song of the Heart values is joy. So, as a community, this week let’s practice gratitude in a specific, “tangible” way. When you come to class, check out the paper that will be posted on the wall, and add something for which you’re grateful. And ask your kids! What good thing has happened to them today? It can be something specifically you find to be grateful about Kindermusik and the Song of the Heart studio, or it can be something about another part of your life for which you give thanks. Then, when you’re in class, dare to lean into the joy of singing a lullaby with your child or dancing with your preschooler—be OK with the fact that the moment is fleeting, and give yourself permission to feel it completely.