Musical Mom has Oxford Kids Grooving

Local Kindermusik program ranked among world’s best

By Alexe van Beuren
The Oxford Enterprise

Parenthood changes your life forever. But often who you were evolves into who you are — and the two bear a distinct resemblance.

Jeanne Lippincott has always been musical. She’s earned two degrees and most of a doctorate in the music field and taught at a conservatory in Chicago. But it wasn’t until she moved to Oxford in 1999 with her classical pianist husband and her five-month-old son that she threw herself into the world of Kindermusik.

“I didn’t want to drive to Memphis every week for classes,” Lippincott says. So she signed up with Kindermusik International, underwent training and launched her own studio: Kindermusik with Jeanne.

Oxford seems to appreciate her efforts. “When I first started, everyone was thrilled,” Lippincott says. “And they still are. They keep signing up again and again. I’ve had people come from as far away as Tupelo and Grenada.”

Kindermusik is a musical curriculum for children that was formed from research done by teachers in West Germany during the 1960s. It found its way to the United States, and today, Kindermusik is an actual company headquartered in North Carolina, dedicated to exposing children to music when they’re as young as newborns and up to seven years old.

More than 5,000 teachers now offer Kindermusik instruction around the world. And according to Kindermusik International, Kindermusik with Jeanne is one of the best. Lippincott’s studio has been ranked in the “Maestro” level by the parent company, placing it in the top five percent of Kindermusik programs offered worldwide.

A mother of three herself, Jeanne teaches nearly eight hours of classes a week, primarily out of a small studio in her home. Her current schedule includes the “Village” class for those under 20 months, the “Our Time” program for toddlers, and “Imagine That!” for the slightly older children. She’s also teaching a short-run “Sign & Sing class” that spans six-month-olds to toddlers.

The rationale behind Kindermusik seems like balm to many parents’ ears: phrases like “develop early literacy,” “increase self-control” and “acquire reasoning and early math skills” are sprinkled all over the Kindermusik promotional materials.

But the classes themselves look less like lessons and more like, well, fun. There are scarves, noisemakers, kids clapping and dancing to everything from the classics like “Wheels on the Bus” to world music like African, Israeli and Latin styles.

Despite the brightly colored-shakers and boppy music, some problems can arise, understandably. “Toddlers very often don’t know how to behave in a group,” Lippincott says. “Sometimes it’s their very first group experience. So if a problem comes up, we send them out into the hall — with their parent — for two minutes or so.”

Usually, the time-out is all that it takes. “Kids are smart,” Lippincott says. “They want to stay here and not miss the fun.”

The children aren’t the only ones having a good time. Since Lippincott hosts classes for children as young as newborn babies — the youngest ever was two days old — new parents find Kindermusik a great resource for bonding with other parents — and getting advice — during those heady first months with firstborns.

“Some of these little problems that come up, somebody at class probably has some experience with what you’re going through,” Lippincott says. “It’s a great place to meet other parents.”

Writer’s note: She’s got me convinced. I’m planning to sign my two-year-old up for “Our Time.” She’s a self-possessed and coordinated child who gets plenty of socialization at her nursery school, so I’m not so much interested in the educational aspects of Kindermusik. Honestly, it just looks like a whole lot of fun; bring on the drum sets.

Jeanne’s note: This wonderful article appeared in the Oxford Enterprise Sunday newspaper on February 14, 2010. Thank you ALexe for your wonderful words. I look forward to meeting you and your children in person soon!

Pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns, Witches, Oh, My!

Here are some fun songs and fingerplays. Thanks to my fellow Kindermusik teacher, Merri Williams in GA.

Pumpkins on the Ground (To the Tune of: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground
(crouch down)
How’d you get so big and round?
(stretch arms out wide to sides and then make a circle)
Once you were a seed so small,
(pretend to hold a seed)
Now you are a great big ball!
(make huge circle with hands)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground
(crouch down)
How’d you get so big and round?
(stretch arms out wide to sides and then make a circle)

I am a pumpkin, big and round
(make huge circle with arms)
Once upon the time I grew on the ground
(point to ground)
Now I have a mouth, two eyes, and a nose.
(point to each)
What are they for, do you suppose?
(scratch head)
When I have a candle inside shining bright
(hold up right index finger)
I’ll be a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween Night
(bragging gesture)

Halloween Witches (to the tune “Ten Little Indians”)

One Little, two little, three little witches
(fold up hand and count three)
Fly over haystacks
(fly hand up and down)
Fly over ditches
Slide down moonbeams without any hitches
(glide hand downwards)
Heigh-ho! Halloweens’ here!

One Dark and Stormy Night
Late one dark and stormy night,
(use spooky voice)
Three little witches were stirring a pot,
(pretend to stir a pot)
Two little ghosts say, How d’ye do?
(lower voice)
Go tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe
(say in a whisper)
(very loud) 😀

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Fall Classes? Check Out the Lineup!

Village (2 – 20 months)
Feathers/ Do-Si-Do

Feathers introduces Baby to a delightful range of songs, movement activities, object play and vocal play relating to our feathered friends. The Australian Kookaburra, the African Ostrich and many more birds from across the world are featured in songs, dances and poems. Both jazz and classical selections, a Yiddish folk song, a Muskogean melody, and Mother Goose rhymes set to music are just a few of the colorful and exciting pieces introduced in this curriculum.Do_Si_Do_Home_M
Do-Si-Do stimulates a wonderfully unique experience of rhythm and movement including a Virginia Reel, a combination Tango, Cha-Cha! and a “move-to-it” poem. Other activities range from chime ball play to instrument exploration and more. Music selections draw from many traditions, including African American, Mexican, Romantic, Scottish, South African and Southeast Asian. Dust off your shoes and dance with us!

Our Time (1.5 – 3.5 years)
Wiggles & Giggles

Wiggles & Giggles is all about movement (wiggles!) and fun, funny words and sounds, and emotion (giggles!). This unit is about humor, laughter, silly sounds and words, and movement. It features songs, activities and literature books surrounding the ever exciting themes of taking a bath, animal movements and love for family and friends. At Home materials include two home CDs, a Home Activity Book, two books (Pete and P.J. and Watch Me!), and an original home instrument–Zig Zag Blocks to rub, tap, clack and create lots of fun zig zaggy sounds and play.

Imagine That! (3.5 – 5 years)
See What I Saw

See What I Saw takes the child on an imaginary trip to Grasshopper Park where he sails down the park slide into adventures with swings, trees, a lake, a sailboat and much more. Musical concepts such as tempo, glissando, accelerando and dynamics will be developed. The music is multicultural – jazz, classical, traditional folk and game songs, as well as music from Canada, Greece, Mexico and West Africa. Two musically driven literature books, along with the home activity book, extend the class into the home setting. Each child receives three books, a home instrument (Kindermusik Slide Whistle), two CDs, and a Grasshopper Park Play Set. Students new to Imagine That! receive a Kindermusik backpack.

Young Child (Kindergarten & 1st grade)

Semester 1 broadens the child’s musical experience through the introduction of the glockenspiel. Learning how to keep a steady beat plus reading and writing musical notations will help a child lay the initial groundwork for musical success!
In Semester 3, children are introduced to stringed instruments with their very own dulcimers. Along with the dulcimers we will continue to play our glockenspiels while we focus on call and response, improvisation, meter, notation and a touch of Tchaikovsky. Themes this semester are Music of Appalachia, Music of the Sea and Native American Music.

Clip - PianoKeysSpotlight
Private and Group lessons are available for older children and adults