Cry Again? Try Again!

Thanks goes out to Elizabeth Raasch for the great photo!

The new school year is back in full swing, and fall is just around the corner! Many kids and their families have spent these past several weeks scheduling and exploring a variety of extra-curricular activities, from sports to music lessons and more. Here at GCMT, we’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of new kids, whether through individual /group therapy sessions, our “Any Dream Will Do” performing arts group, or Kindermusik classes. Ms. Laurie and I have loved meeting all the families coming to try out Family Time, Our Time, and Sign & Sing. So many of these families have enrolled in the classes and become part of this great community!

Of course, we all know that children respond to new situations in different ways. Some children may jump right in and try every new thing that comes their way, whereas others may respond in ways that seem, well, less participatory. When these responses manifest themselves in a child’s first Kindermusik class, it can be discouraging to many parents who are seeking a fun family activity. “My child wouldn’t stop screaming.” “My child hid behind me the whole time.” “I’m not sure it’s a good fit.” Believe me, these reactions are more common than you might realize. My advice to these families with concerns after a first Kindermusik class or music therapy session is to “Try, Try Again!”

Let’s look at the facts: we are talking about kids, toddlers, and kids/toddlers with special needs. Going to a new place with new people and lots of noisy, new musical instruments is a BIG transition, and it’s one that many kids (and some grown-ups) aren’t immediately comfortable with. New situations can be scary, no matter how much fun they are intended to be! The first and last activity of each class and session are structured to aid in the establishment of routine. It may seem like just a simple song of greeting, but over time it becomes a cue to alert kids and families that it is time to switch gears and get ready to focus on music. Although each child is different, it typically takes around 3 classes or sessions to get comfortable with the “music time” routine. I love watching as these kids come to understand that our special “Hello” song means it’s time to have some fun!

There is still time in the semester for you to come try (or try again) a Kindermusik demo class or music therapy evaluation!

What to Expect for the New Kindermusik Semester

It is finally time to jump into a brand new semester of Kindermusik! I couldn’t be more excited to get my classes started. Ever since becoming a licensed Kindermusik educator, I enjoy discovering how well the program works in harmony with music therapy. The Kindermusik curriculum is based on research demonstrating the benefits of music at each stage of a child’s development. As both a music therapist and a Kindermusik educator, it is such a joy to facilitate musical experiences that enrich both a child’s environment and development. The classes are designed to give kids a lifelong love of music and a solid foundation for learning. Of course, the fact that music is super fun doesn’t hurt! I love being able to watch parents and children learn, grow, and experience music together.

Whether you’re a returning family, a first-time enrollee, or still on the fence, here are a five things you can expect out of Kindermusik classes this semester:

Research continues to prove what parents, teachers, and therapists already know: children thrive with music! It still amazes me that music is such a powerful gateway to learning and development. Singing and vocal play build the phonological processing, language, and comprehension skills that are the foundation of reading. Dancing and instrument play develop motor skills and can aid the development of spatial-temporal and reasoning skills that are necessary in math and science. (If only everything that was good for us could be this fun!) Participating in group musical experiences help kids develop the social and emotional skills they will need in school. Kindermusik activities encourage freedom within a fun and friendly structure to spark children’s creativity and imagination. And, of course, they develop a lifelong love of music.

Through all this developmentally beneficial musical play, kids (and parents) learn about different musical concepts (high/low, fast/slow, bumpy/smooth, etc.), and gain exposure to musical styles and instruments from around the world. Children learn and participate in very different ways. Some are quiet in class, while others are decidedly less so. Some play alongside others, and some prefer to do their own thing. No matter how a child chooses to participate (or not), it doesn’t mean that they aren’t learning! Kindermusik class is designed to provide children the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace and comfort level, and to continue the process in their most important learning environment…at home! I’ve had kids who wouldn’t sing in class, but would sing every single word at home or in the car.

Yes, technically I am the “Kindermusik Educator,” but mostly my job consists of providing tools and resources for your child’s best teacher…YOU! I love the way that both the classroom experience and the At-Home materials are all designed to enable the fun and learning to continue at home. Most children (and parents) are more comfortable singing and dancing in a familiar home setting. By becoming confident in classroom material in the home, kids are able to display more confidence and explore in class!

One of my favorite things about Kindermusik is watching the class become a community over the course of the semester. It provides a safe and accepting environment for children of all abilities to grow and express themselves, as well as a great network for parents to encourage and support one another. Parents have told me they love the special time they get to spend making music with their child.

Of course music is fun! That’s why it’s such a powerful tool for learning! Kindermusik class is a great place for kids and parents (and teachers, too!) to come together and just have a good time while developing a lifelong love of music. The developmental benefits are amazing, but the act of making music for music’s own sake is an experience like no other. It is the one language we are all able to understand, and opens up doors for a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

Is it any wonder why I am so excited to get this semester underway? We are currently offering an Our Time class (18 months to 3 yrs), a Family Time class (fun for the WHOLE family, newborn and up), and a Sign & Sing class (6 months to 3 yrs). Enroll now to join in the fun all semester long, or try out a free demo!