Welcome Back!

It’s Welcome Week here at Song of the Heart Studios and we are THRILLED to see you and your child’s shining eyes once more. We are in full swing teaching classes, reestablishing routines, forging new connections, and managing all the chaos that seems to accompany the return to the studio.

It is our mission that when you walk through our doors and experience a Kindermusik class with us, that your hearts will sing and your children will flourish. Everything we do as a studio and as educators is done intentionally with that aim in mind, as we strive to give you a stellar experience.

However, with the start of a new season, there may always be some bumps in the road. If your child is new to our studio or even just been away for a few weeks, the transition back into our routines can take some time. It is completely NORMAL for your child to act differently in class than they do at home. It is normal for them to seem overwhelmed, or shy, or hyperactive, or unsure. Our best piece of advice to ease this transition is to be patient. Give it time. Remember that repetition and consistency is KEY for children to learn.

Our delightful routines that take place in each class are carefully and intentionally structured to signal to your child what is about to happen and what is expected of them. As they (and you!) learn how our Kindermusik classes are run, their behavior will settle and become more predictable, your experience will become more consistently joyous, and you will see the benefits in their development over the course of the year. Raising these little ones is a marathon, not a sprint; we are overjoyed at the opportunity to be a part of this season in their development.

Now Let’s Sing!

5 Tips for Kindermusik Success

As we have had a few new families join us for Summermusik, it’s important for you to know a few of our best tips to get the most out of your experience. It’s a good reminder for our returning families as well!

  1. PARTNERSHIP:You are your child’s partner in class. What does this mean? It means you make eye contact with your little one. It means you engage playfully with them. It means you notice what they are doing, label what they are doing, and help them build upon what they are doing. It means that you are fully present with them, fully engaged, and focused on them and their process. If your older child is in a drop-off class, the same thing goes for the few minutes of sharing time at the end of class. Let them show off and shine and share. Watch them. Encourage them. Cheer them on. Hug them. Sing with them. Make your time together special.
  2. MOVERS GOTTA MOVE:

    Maybe your child is one of those children that just can’t sit still. That’s okay and totally normal. Movers gotta move. It’s how they process information. If your child needs to get up and walk away from the circle and explore, go with them. Follow them, meet them where they are, then bring them back when they are ready.

  3. EVERYONE’S EXPERIENCE IS RIGHT:

    Every child experiences Kindermusik in just the right way for them and their development. There is no wrong way to experience Kindermusik. If your child doesn’t appear to be fully engaged in the activity, don’t stress. They are still learning. They are still taking it in. They are absorbing the information and experiencing it in a way that is just right for them. Is your kid off in the corner looking at the lights? Is your child sitting on the rug content to watch others instead of joining in? Does your child avoid eye contact with the educator and want to be held the whole time? Great! Do what they need. Follow their lead. Their brains and bodies are still benefiting from the class experience.

  4. REPETITION:

    Children learn best through play, and repetitive play at that. They need repetition of activities in order to fully process that information and formulate the dendrite connections in their brains. Our educators are experts at reading a classroom and repeating an activity as needed by the students. They tailor their lessons on the spot, in the moment, based upon what the children before them need. And more often than not, children need just one more repetition. Adults always tire of an activity quicker than a child does because an adult’s brain can assimilate new information more rapidly. There’s a developmental and cognitive reason that children ask for the same bedtime story over and over and over. They need that repetition to learn. So even though you may feel like an activity is tired, trust that your child needs it to reap the brain benefits.

  5. CLASS FAMILY:

    Here at Song of the Heart Studios we strive to develop a sense of community and culture, and we want all of you and your children feel like a part of it. That extends into the classroom. Your class is unique. The specific blend of children, adults, and educator all bring something different to the experience; you all contribute. So please think of your class as your musical tribe. Participate fully. Get to know each other’s names. Make eye contact with other adults and children in the room. We invite you to become part of our studio family.

Let’s SING!

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.

Let’s SING!

Meet the JOY Team Part III

Our fabulous Ms Patrice has been part of the JOY team longer than any other educator at the studio. She’s been teaching with us for 18 years! She plays the piano and the organ, but her primary instrument is her voice. She teaches private voice lessons and once performed the major role of Narrator in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring David Osmond.

Ms Patrice’s musical favorites include Josh Groban, Gentri, and the great Audra McDonald. In her personal time she loves to bake, to garden, to shop, and to eat . . . desserts. She loves being with her family and taking care of her grandson.

This woman actually likes mowing the lawn and vacuuming the carpet. And if you ever want to get on her good side, bring her an ice cold Dr Pepper.

Her favorite part of a Kindermusik class is the lap bounce as your children yell “Again! Again!” She also loves the cuddle time and observing the bonding that takes place between you and your littles. The giggles and the smiles she gets during a Kindermusik class brings her joy.

 

Ms Patty is the instrumentalist of our team! She also runs all the fun extra events that we do at Song of the Heart Studios throughout the year. As a kid her band teacher gave her the nickname Pattytyme. It spread throughout the class, then the school, and even followed her to college.

Her primary instruments are the clarinet and the piano, but she also plays the flute, trombone, trumpet, violin, and cello. Talk about versatile!

She enjoys listening to the relaxing music of Jim Brickman, but most of the time in her house you will see her and her boys singing and dancing to movie soundtracks. A few current family favorites include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Newsies, and Marry Poppins.

What she loves most about being your child’s Kindermusik educator is her ability to foster growth in them. It is so important to her to help each child grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Her favorite part of her Kindermusik classes is the creative movement. Watching your kiddos explore and use their imaginations to express themselves brings her lots of joy and they always have lots of giggles and smiles in class.

In her own time she enjoys sewing, cooking, gardening, teaching nutrition, hiking, and camping. But most of all she loves spending time with her children and husband.

 * * *

And that’s a wrap! Now you know a bit more about each of the incredible team members here at your Song of the Heart Studios. As your child advances through the Kindermusik curriculum, you can be sure that your child will be loved and in the hands of an experienced and talented educator. It can be hard to say goodbye to a beloved teacher, but it’s always exciting to move up and meet the wonderful women that teach the next level. Thank you for being part of our JOY family here at Song of the Heart Studios. We couldn’t do what we do without YOU.

Snow Day!

It has been a long time since we had a snow day here in the Salt Lake Valley. We Utahns typically handle snow just fine, thank you very much. Believe it or not, this if the first snow day that Song of the Heart Studios has had in its near 21 years of being open! That tracks right along with the news that it’s been about two decades since any of our school districts closed because of snow.

We are so sorry to have missed singing and playing with you and your little ones today, and we are sure there were many disappointed children when they found out that today wouldn’t be a Kindermusik day after all. So here’s some ideas to create that Kindermusik magic at home, while you’re stuck indoors and can’t get down your driveway.

  • Put on the Skater’s Waltz and grab some paper plates and “ice skate” around the kitchen.
  • Sing the perennial favorite “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and insert all sorts of snow themed actions such as: stomp in the snow, sled down the hill, skate on the pond, make a snowman, throw a snowball, blow on your hot chocolate, shovel the walk, etc.
  • Put on your current Kindermusik cd that you received at the beginning of your most recent unit, or grab an old favorite one, and dance around the house.
  • Log on to your my.kindermusik.com account and spend some time poking around our Kindermusik Online materials. There are always quick, fun activities to do there!
  • Make snowman art with construction paper, white craft paint, and q-tips. Q-tips make a great tool for painting snow flurries all over your paper!

Stay safe and we’ll make music again with you soon!

Meet the JOY Team Part II

Ms Carol needs no introduction, as she is our esteemed Studio Director who began our beloved Song of the Heart Studio over 20 years ago in her family room! Her primary instrument is her voice, and she also plays the piano, the guitar, and the ukulele. Her favorite genre of music is choral music, with her favorite piece of all time the Duruflé Requiem. Did you know she sang with the Salt Lake Symphony Chorus for many years?

When asked what she loves most about teaching Kindermusik Ms Carol says “Absolutely everything! The joy that is felt, the connections that are made, the amazing growth that we see and the love that permeates it all. Kindermusik is magic!”

Her favorite part of a Kindermusik class is the hand stamp ritual at the end. Stamping her student’s hands at the end of each class gives her a chance to sing with every child (improving pitch matching!), to look them in the eye, hold their little hand, speak an encouraging word, and make sure they feel noticed, heard, and important. She strongly believes that every child needs to feel valued and validated for who they are. This special moment with each of them is a little point where time slows down and a precious connection is made.

She eats, breathes, and sleeps Kindermusik as she nurtures our studio, our team, our families, and other Kindermusik educators around the world. In her free time she loves to read, spend time at the family cabin, and travel. She recently went to Cuba!

Ms Maren is our newest educator. She joined the JOY team one year ago, as the teacher who works in our satellite studio in South Jordan, bringing Kindermusik to the families in that side of the valley. She originally began teaching Kindermusik more than a decade ago in her own home, but took several years off to focus on raising her little children. Now that her kids are a bit older, she has returned to her mission of educating other children through the power of music.

Ms Maren’s primary instrument is her voice and she also plays the piano. She has dabbled in the guitar and ukulele and would love one day to learn the pedal harp. Her favorite music is Romantic era French music. The soaring melodies of Debussy, Chopin, and Fauré always bring her a feeling of bliss.

What she loves most about teaching Kindermusik is seeing first-hand the power of music in a child’s development. To watch a child learn how to wait and anticipate and take turns and follow directions. To watch a child learn how to listen and express themselves creatively. To watch the bonding that occurs between children and caretakers. To watch a child learn how to find and use their voice.

What she loves most about a Kindermusik class is the Hello Song and opening ritual. It’s the moment when adults put distractions away and ready themselves for complete presence with their child, preparing themselves for joy and fun. It’s the moment when children anticipate the next step and their eyes light up with readiness and eagerness. It’s the moment that barriers melt away and a group of friends can have a shared experience. It’s simply beautiful.

When Ms Maren isn’t teaching Kindermusik, she is busy raising three little kids, hiking in National Parks, and playing with power tools in her woodshop.

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!

Pajama Jam Joy!

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.



Meet the JOY Team

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!

Babble On . . . It Benefits Baby!

If the hours of cute baby footage on YouTube are any indication, watching a baby babble is a pretty solid form of entertainment. Just check out one of the hundreds of videos with titles like “cutest baby babble videos ever,” and you’ll see what we mean. You won’t be able to resist the urge to giggle—and perhaps even babble right back yourself.

Actually, choosing to babble back to a baby is a great instinct. Babies love hearing you mirror their speech sounds right back to them—and doing so encourages them to continue with their own babbling. This is how babies first experience verbal back-and-forth communication and learn the patterns that characterize speech. So those seemingly nonsensical sounds are actually quite significant.  After all, sounds—which have absolutely no meaning in isolation—are the building blocks of words. When your baby babbles, he or she is putting together sounds in pleasing ways and learning how our language works. Babbling also helps develop the muscles a child needs to speak.

When baby babbles and mom responds, it creates a social feedback loop of communication and learning, which is what we call language.

Beyond Babbling

You can also respond to baby babbling in more sophisticated ways. Notice what’s prompting your child’s babbling (did he or she see something exciting or interesting? Is he or she imitating a specific sound?) and respond by affirming it. Use rich vocabulary to describe what’s going on: “Yes! That is a cute dog. Look at his big eyes. He is wagging his tail. He likes you, too!”

To help your child begin to develop listening ears as well as speaking skills, focus attention on specific sounds: “What’s that sound? It’s a dog barking. Woof, woof!” Don’t be surprised if the sounds then become part of your child’s babbling vocabulary.

baby babble - kindermusik

Embrace Your “Baby Voice”

Don’t be afraid to use that high-pitched sing-song voice that comes so naturally when you’re talking to a baby. This type of speech, characterized by a slower cadence, shorter sentences, exaggerated intonation, and lots of repetition, is known as “motherese,” or “child-directed speech.” Research suggests that speaking to your child this way can actually boost their language development and learning, since babies are better able to attend to and understand “motherese” than regular adult speech.

Whenever you talk to your baby, be sure to make eye contact. This is a very important part of meaningful communication. Even if your baby can’t answer you in words, you’ll know from his or her facial expressions that he or she is participating in the conversation.

Cut Down on Cell Phone Babbling

This comes as no surprise, but it’s a good idea to put away your phonewhen you’re spending quality time with your baby. Save texts, emails, and calls for later, and just focus on your child. Continually glancing at your screen not only interrupts the critical one-on-one interaction that teaches your baby about communication, but also distracts you from the important cues your child is giving you.

Don’t Have Preconceived Notions About When “Real Speech” Will Occur

Every parent waits for that magical moment when a child first says “Mama” or “Dada.” But that will come in each baby’s own time, not according to any particular schedule. It’s good to have a sense of the typical language development trajectory and milestones, but it’s a broad range, so try not to get too caught up on specific deadlines.

baby babble - kindermusik

In the meantime, keep up that back-and-forth babbling! As with almost everything, music makes it more fun and interesting. And (surprise!) we even have some babble-friendly suggestions for you: Try singing along to “Dipidu”  during your morning routine—during diapering, feeding, or dressing. And play “Bubbles on Me” during bath time, so your baby can practice forming syllables as he or she blows buh-buh-buh bubbles in the tub. These are the moments when you truly realize how important you are as your baby’s first teacher.

To experience this weekly at our in-studio experience, join us for a class!

reposted from Kindermusik International