It’s that time of year again. There’s been a run on school supplies and the stores are wiped out. You can’t find a pencil case to save your life. There’s an excitement and nervousness in the air for both the children AND their parents. Crossing guards, 20 mph school zones, and yellow busses slow down our morning commutes once more.
What does this mean for us at Song of the Heart Studios?
It means we have been working behind the scenes getting ready for a brand new season of joy and music making with you! Our summer break is anything but. We spend our break time dreaming up new ways to bring extra sparkle to your Kindermusik experience. We have been sprucing up the studio with new decor and deep cleaning. We are brushing off our lesson plans and brushing up on our pedagogy skills. Mostly we are thinking about you and your child and how we can provide you the best possible experience here.
Everything we do at Song of the Heart Studios is motivated by our love for music, our love for our Kindermusik families, and our deep belief that the answer to all of society’s problems is excellent early childhood education. When you invest in your child’s development at this age, their brains are wired in healthy ways that sets them on a trajectory for mental and social health and happiness. So thank you for doing not only what is best for your child, but what is best for the world. Thank you for letting us be a part of their childhood development.
We can’t wait for you to walk through our doors soon so we can watch your hearts sing and your children flourish!
You may have noticed our new “Let’s Sing!” initiative in our studio. We have always encouraged you and your little ones to sing along with us during our classes, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to participate in this most fundamental way.
We get it. Not everyone feels confident singing. Sometimes it’s easier to let the educator take the lead, and enjoy class in a more passive way. Maybe you’re intimidated by the other strong voices in your class. Whatever barriers might exist that make you feel less inclined to sing, we want to remind you of the reasons why singing along is so beneficial!
Your voice is your child’s FAVORITE voice. No one sounds quite like mom, dad, grandma, or nanny. A child’s primary caregiver is their source of comfort and security, and a huge part of that is familiarity with your voice. Not your child’s primary caregiver? Singing to them is an extremely effective way to build the same level of bonding and attachment that they have with their primary caregiver, making the time that you care for them that much more effective and easy.
As mentioned before, ATTACHMENT with a child or infant is super-charged when you add singing. Lullabies and playful songs promote eye contact, intentional touch, and build connection. And as we know from Conscious Discipline research, “connection builds cooperation”. Don’t miss out on this easy way to connect with your child.
Teach your child by EXAMPLE. Want your child to gain the language development benefits that come from singing along? Show them how. Want your child’s brain to light up in all developmental areas? Encourage them to sing by singing yourself! Want your child to develop the pro-social group behaviors that come from collective singing? Lead the way. They won’t learn how to exercise their voices if you aren’t using yours.
It’s FUN. As delightful as our Kindermusik classes are designed to be, you can make it that much more of a special experience by adding your voice to ours. A whole choir of families engaged in musical play and learning is such a beautiful sound!
No matter your vocal ability, Kindermusik is a safe place to use your first and most basic instrument. Your voice is a huge part of who you are. And you are welcome here, just as you are. Whether you have classical vocal training or none at all. Whether you’ve got vocal confidence or none at all. Where else can you let your inner child out to play and be completely safe? Kindermusik isn’t just a safe environment for your child, it’s a safe place for YOU. We invite you to throw those inhibitions out the door, tuck those cell phones back in your bags, and be fully present, both physically and vocally, with your child when in our studio.
. . . 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!
Did you come to our Pajama Jam? We had SO MUCH FUN celebrating with you. So many of you came out that our studio was bursting at the seams! There wasn’t enough room to contain all those bodies, all those jammies, all that joy, and all those shoes!
Didn’t our oldest students do a marvelous job performing on their dulcimers? Special thanks to the talented Salt Lake Acting Company for coming to preview their fun new children’s play Pinkalicious. Are you going to go see the full play? Also thanks to the delightful Puppet Players who always brings smiles to our faces and enrapture our children with their show and puppet petting zoo each year. Congratulations to our wonderful Suggs family who won the Teddy Bear Giveaway!
Our JOY Team loved seeing you and your littles in your jammies and sharing smiles. And thanks to YOU and your generosity, we collected 286 pairs of pajamas to donate to the Candy Cane Corner at The Road Home shelter in collaboration with the YWCA and the Volunteers of America Utah. You made a difference in a child’s life this holiday season.
Even though we may all have struggles and stresses, we also are blessed with abundance. Thank you for sharing a portion of your abundance with us and with those children who will get to snuggle warmly in a fresh, new pair of pajamas, gifted by you.
We like to call everyone that works here at Song of the Heart Studios our JOY Team. While we’re busy teaching your children’s little brains and bodies, our mission is to bring you developmental benefits with a healthy dose of JOY.
Here’s a little spotlight for you to get to know a couple of members of our JOY Team a bit better.
Ms Chris is our FABULOUS Studio Concierge. Surely you have communicated with her at some point. Perhaps she helped you enroll or helped you with a problem. She sets up our makeup scheduler, sends out your Kindermusik Online materials each month, and is Ms Carol’s right hand woman. On top of all that she is an incredible educator! Here’s a little bit more about her:
As a child she bore the nickname Crispy Conrye. Her primary instrument is the piano and she also plays the classical guitar! When she’s not teaching Kindermusik, she spends time with her son (a Kindermusik graduate), cycles, hikes, boats, and water skis. This woman loves to be active!
She is an audiophile and listens to music all the time. Her favorite modern artists include Barbra Streisand, Annie Lennox, and her favorite song is Love is the Answer. Her favorite composer is Beethoven.
Her favorite moment in a Kindermusik class is watching your little one’s eyes light up with wonder and joy. What she loves most about being an educator is seeing the growth in her students and making a difference in little people’s lives. She loves making a connection with students and loves them ALL.
Ms Chris claims that she’s really a big kid who never grew up. Maybe that’s why she’s so great at connecting with little ones!
Ms Katie’s full name is Katherine, but she’s always been called Katie or Kate. Her primary instrument is her VOICE, and if you’ve been lucky enough to be in her class, you know how beautifully she sings. She has played a little piano and guitar, but mostly just rocks out now to the shakers and the jingles! Oh, and she is one excellent GONG player!
In her spare time Ms Katie loves to watch her children in their activities as they play soccer, cheer, dance, and tumble. If she’s not busy being an amazing mom, she loves to go running, and also loves to attend concerts and Broadway shows. Her all-time favorite Broadway show is Wicked, though her most recent obsession is Dear Evan Hansen.
Ms Katie’s favorite thing about teaching Kindermusik is that it is so JOYFUL. She loves to witness the connections made between families, between you and your child, and between children and the music. She loves to experience what she calls the “magical moment” in class. She says “A magical moment is where everyone in the room is physically and emotionally engaged. Sometimes it’s during cuddle time or maybe a dance, but when it happens it’s MAGICAL!”
If you ever are in a class with Ms Katie, make her tell you the story of her trying to get a selfie with Katherine Heigl, whom she spotted in Park City once, who basically just ran away from her. Katherine Heigl clearly didn’t know how amazing Ms Katie is or she would have been the one asking for a selfie!
The last two weeks we have started incorporating I Love You Rituals in our classes. We LOVE these rituals as they perfectly align with Kindermusik’s child-development centered curriculum and our mission here at Song of the Heart Studios. Not only do I Love You Rituals promote our studio values of JOY, CONNECTION, FAMILY, GROWTH, and HEART, but they have a direct and literal impact on your child’s brain development. Research based, these simple rituals soothe cortisol and release oxytocin in the brain. Without getting into the neurochemistry of it all, what this means is that these simple, quick, and fun rituals are a tool that will bond you with your child, will increase their self esteem, lengthen their attention span, promote cooperation, decrease power struggles, reduce hyperactivity, and facilitate language development. Can you believe that all those benefits can come from such a simple ritual? It takes less than a minute to do, and can reap huge rewards. We have been teaching the Twinkle Twinkle ritual in our classes in the hopes that it will inspire you to implement it at home. Here are some ideas of when to throw it into your daily routines:
In the morning, upon waking up
On the diapering table
During nap time and/or
When getting in or out of the carseat
Before or after meals
When saying goodbye
These delightful rituals were designed by Dr. Becky Bailey, renowned child education and developmental psychology expert, and founder of Conscious Discipline. Please let us know how you incorporate I Love You Rituals into your family life. What benefits have you experienced?
We ended our 2017-2018 season with a bang at our annual Family Jam! Thanks to those of you who came to celebrate! Kicking off the event, we watched our precious Kindermusik graduates showcase their musical abilities and perform for their loved ones. It made us reflect upon all they have learned in the years they have been with us and how much joy we have shared. Transitions are always bittersweet; we will miss our graduates so, and yet we have so much joy in seeing them perform in a big ensemble.
After the graduation we had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy a comedic magic show by Magic Brooklyn, indulge in tasty treats provided by Pink Beehive Cotton Candy and Walker Pediatric Dentistry, make and take a simple instrument, enjoy face painting, pose with Maestro the dog, and even hear the wonderful talents of several Kindermusik graduates and parents who played and displayed their instruments for us all to enjoy.
One of the highlights of the Family Jam was the Instrument Petting Zoo, provided by Summerhays Music. We hope it inspired someone in your family to try a new instrument! Who knows what future musical journey may have received its seeds there! Did your child get to hold and touch a trumpet, or a flute, or a cello? We saw their eyes light up as they experienced the magic of gleaming brass, curious levers, slides, reeds, and bows. Best of all was the amazement they felt when they succeeded in producing sound on something so new!
Thanks to all of YOU, dear parents, grandparents, and other adult loved ones who have given your child the gift of Kindermusik at Song of the Heart Studios this past year. We hope that is has brought not only music into your family life but also growth, connection, and made your hearts swell with joy!
We are sharing the joy all summer long, so come sing with us at Summermusik!
Kindermusik class is like one long I Love You Ritual, isn’t it? We think that eye contact, touch, presence, and a playful structure are a fantastic combination. Mix them with MUSIC and it’s absolute perfection. We believe it’s the best combo for kids!
Why? Because music is the only activity that lights up the whole brain and I Love You Rituals are simple yet astoundingly powerful. Caring touch, kind words, and intentional routine will help form the kind of bond and connection that opens not just the heart but also the mind and the will. Because of the dopamine that’s released and the emotional connections that are made, I Love You Rituals actually wire the brain for greater impulse control, spur a desire for positive behavior, and increase attention span – all things that are crucial for children to succeed in relationships, in school, and in life.
Just as important as the I Love You part is the Ritual part. Rituals are those special ways you do things – the way you greet one another, the way you reconnect after time apart, or what you do every night before bed time. Rituals are not only meaningful, they are also deliberate and predictable. A simple I Love You Ritual strengthens relationships, builds trust, and makes life kinder and happier. Who doesn’t want that for their family?
Here are just a few of the reasons I love Kindermusik at Song of the Heart studios:
♥ I love having time with the kids, just to be in the moment with them and not worrying about laundry.
♥ I’ve loved being part of the studio traditions—having each of my kids attend the symphony their final year or donating pajamas in December.
♥ My kids have learned more than just musical notes—they’ve had to practice turn-taking, controlling their impulses and engaging their creativity. They just don’t know they’re doing all that because it’s also just plain fun.
♥ The studio itself is a work of art—I have appreciated the attention to detail that Ms. Carol has put into creating an environment that is engaging without being chaotic. Small things help me feel at home.
♥ I learned so much professionally and personally from interacting with the faculty. Some of my favorite memories of all time include moments with these women. I’m grateful my kids have had opportunities to learn from each of them.
♥ I enjoy chatting with the other parents. Sometimes I forget names (or, rather, I usually know them as “Isaac’s mom”), but I like being part of this community.
♥ It only takes putting on an old Kindermusik CD before I am awash in memories of being with my kids when they were little. At this point, my teenage daughter may not remember some of those specific dances or lullabies, but in those difficult moments of parenting my teen, it helps me to remember our history together.
I’m counting down to mere months before my baby graduates from the Kindermusik program. I can’t believe it, as I distinctly remember the moment I told Ms. Carol I was pregnant. She was helping me hang lyric charts for my Family Time class in the old studio. I will grieve not being at the studio weekly, but I will always hold, with gratitude for all that the studio was and will be for our family, a place in my heart for Kindermusik.
I find myself continually writing in this blog about how Kindermusik develops the whole child (here, here and here, just to name a few). But as I sat in my daughter’s Kindmusik for the Young Child class this week, I realized that Kindermusik actually teaches music, too. Fancy that!
The first-year Young Child students have recently acquired their glockenspiels and have been diligently studying two-note patterns. They even have a variety of musical poems to recite as they work through the idea that the low notes are on the left of the glockenspiel (where the bars are long) and the high notes are on the right (where the bars are short).
Second year Young Child students build on this concept as they continue to add more notes and experiment with the lengthening and shortening of strings on a dulcimer.
Ah! But it doesn’t stop there!
I first became interested in Kindermusik as I listened to my sister-in-law describe this very concept. With my background as a secondary school educator, my lifelong interest in music, and having just had my second child, I knew that music instruction was important, but that I couldn’t possibly dream of having my particular preschooler sit at the piano and work with me to learn the notes. (I know some kids are capable of doing this, but none of mine have been—or, maybe better, I haven’t been able to do this with them.) Therefore, I was elated when she described the idea of using age appropriate activities to teach these concepts.
One of my favorite Kindermusik songs for babies is “Zoom-e-oh!” You may notice with your little one that when you sing “Up in the sky!” the notes are higher, while “Down to our toes” we sing at a lower pitch. You may dance to this song, lifting your baby up and down through the room, or you may use a scarf to play with, swishing it high and low. Though the concepts are simple, this is where our babies can begin to distinguish high and low notes—in an environment filled with love and nurturing.
As our children grow and become toddlers, they continue to learn through movement. You may notice that if a child who is just learning to talk says “up” or “down,” he or she also demonstrates the movement somehow—pointing, or even moving his or her whole body. In our Kindermusik toddler classes, you’ll see that we use simple poems and songs to tie the musical concept of high and low sounds with imaginative play, language development and movement. For instance, “Can you stretch like a cloud in the sky? Stretch big and tall, stretch up high!” Or, in another one of my favorite Kindermusik songs, you may “Walk along, Rover” or “Crawl along, Rover,” which has the added benefit of encouraging kids to explore opposite movements.
Once children become preschoolers, their locomotor skills have drastically improved. Therefore, they can become much more sophisticated in their imaginative play—hopping, skipping or galloping. This allows us to go for a hike in the mountains and fly like birds or hop around on the ground like bunnies. Additionally, children this age explore a greater variety of musical instruments, so that they learn about the different timbre of each one and see that there are some that make higher sounds (like bells) and some that make lower sounds (like drums).
At the Kindermusik by Song of the Heart studio, however, musical learning doesn’t stop with a child’s graduation from Kindermusik. With the Suzuki Singers class, children can learn to match pitches with their voice, and in Simply Music Piano or ukulele classes, kids develop skills to produce a variety of pitches on a couple of different instruments that may appeal to them.
And, yes, I suppose I could make a case for applying musical concepts of high and low sounds to something philosophical, like helping kids understand the highs and lows of life. But, sometimes just learning the music is great, too!