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Don’t Y’all Just Love Dixie – Motherhood, a Journey Worth Taking

My friend Julie Cantrell wrote this beautiful piece for the Oxford Eagle last year. I asked her if I could reprint it here for all of you dedicated Mothers out there. Here is her wonderful text along with my 3 little contributions to illustrate a few points! Enjoy!

Don’t Y’all Just Love Dixie – Motherhood, a Journey Worth Taking
By Julie Cantrell

I have been blessed with so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed – Martina McBride, Blessed

Mother. Mama. Madre. Mom. No matter how you say it, motherhood seems to be the natural course to take if you’re a woman. Of all my female friends, even the most career-minded of the lot, I know only two who have opted not to have children. They are both married, happy, intelligent women who do not work and are extremely nurturing caregivers to their brood of animal babies. They also have each said to me, with shockingly unrestricted honesty, “I am way too selfish to be a mother.”

While I cannot relate to their outlook, I respect and admire them for having the guts to stand up and say, “Nope. Sorry. That motherhood thing just ain’t for me.” Not everyone has that kind of nerve. As a result, some women end up trying to fake their way through the role of motherhood, resenting every minute of it.

As for me, I’m an old-fashioned sort of a gal. My high school yearbook has my ambition listed as, “To be a good friend, a great wife, and a wonderful mother like my own.” I have to say, after ‘uh-hum’ years, I still have the same goals.

I happen to consider my most important role here on earth to be that of a mother. Of all the different directions my mind and my feet carry me in any given day, I always return to a main path – the one that I share with my family.

I am blessed tremendously. I have two incredible little beacons of light that have been placed in my arms directly from the heavens. I can’t imagine a single day without them. I wouldn’t want to even try.

I simply can’t imagine not wanting to be a mother. What would mornings be like without two sleepy headed wonders slipping into bed for a cozy sunrise snuggle? How would I spend my summers without mud pies and popsicles and sprinklers and slip-and-slides? What would life be like without frantic ER visits for concussions and stitches and a curious toddler who has managed to get her finger stuck in the hole of my clipboard?

Who would I be if I had never known the joy, the power, the ache of a mother’s love? The constant contradiction of thanking time and cursing it all at once. Grieving the passing of life, the growth of my babies, the end of a perfect day?

To me, every day really is absolutely perfect. How could anything be better than a sweet and innocent kiss goodnight after long-winded bedtime prayers asking God to watch over the dragon eggs that are hatching in our woods or the mermaids who live in the underground springs beneath our home?

What would make my heart melt the way it does when I see my daughter lean in closely to her little brother and teach him how to make a wish or a camp or a Granny-shot? What would set my soul afire the way it does when my son helps his older sister build a robot out of a million tiny plastic pieces or make a functional door alarm out of aluminum foil and wires?

What would make my adrenaline flow the way it does when my children make a goal, a homerun, or a longshot? What could replace the pride I feel when they show kindness to another person, share their last cookie without remorse, or invite a left-out child to join the group?

Every day my children humble me. They teach me. They inspire me. They awaken the child in me. This age with them is genuine. Perfect. Pure. It is an age of discovery, intrigue, and awareness. As the mother of these brilliant little minds, I delight in my children’s love for life. They help me return to a heightened intuition, reveling once again in the sights, sounds, textures, tastes and aromas that I once noticed as a child myself but had long become numb to as an adult. Through them, I see the world in a different light. Everything seems to have been repainted, newly tuned. I see brighter tones, hear clearer melodies. Thanks to my children, the details are no longer lost on me.

When my son asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t think of a thing. I need nothing more than the simple smiles of my children to remind me constantly that there is no greater moment in life than now.

I admire my friends who have chosen another kind of life. A childless life. But I’ll never envy them. I’ll never want to trade places with them. To me, there is no greater accomplishment than the ability to truly, completely, without fail understand, accept, and love a child.

Happy Mother’s Day. Enjoy this time celebrating your little blessings (even if they happen to have fur).

Car Sounds for Choir

I’m not endorsing any particular car maker here but you must turn up the volume and listen to the amazing sounds from this choir. In the Our Time class this spring we are playing with transportation sounds. This should give you LOTS of ideas for vocal play!!

This spoof of the above has even more fun car vocals!

Active Listening

Fellow Kindermusik educators, Ms. Christa and Ms. Danielle, together came up with this wonderful explanation of why Active Listening is so important to your child:

Have you ever wondered why we take time in class to quietly listen and then reproduce the sound we hear? We listen to animal sounds, environmental sounds, parts of songs all with the focus of then being able to articulate what we heard.

“Active listening is a process that goes beyond the physical act of hearing. It is an intellectual and emotional process that integrates a full range of inputs in a search for the meaning of and an understanding of a sender’s message. It involves listening between the lines to hear what is not said as well as what is said.” Early Childhood Education, Blending Theory, Blending Practice by Lawrence J. Johnson, M.J. LaMontagne, Peggy M. Elgas and Anne M. Bauer.

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Miss Danielle, a colleague of mine, posted to following to our Kindermusik educators list this morning. I asked her permission to share her thoughts with you. It really is amazing the amounts of sound input we have to process in today’s world. Isn’t it exciting to know that, if your child is enrolled in Kindermusik, they are getting a head start learning how to process all these sounds? Here is what Miss Danielle had to say:

I was just thinking about the necessity for developing our children’s
listening skills. As I sit in my living room and hear a beep or chime,
I ask my husband:
Is that my phone? Is that your phone? Is that my phone’s battery
dying? Your Phone’s battery dying? Is that the answering machine beeping?
or Is that the microwave? Is that the oven timer? Is that the security
sensor? Is that the smoke detector? or the Smoke detector battery
dying? Could that be the signal to change the filter of refrigerator,
air purifier, coffee maker?
Or Is that someone’s phone on the TV? Is that the front doorbell?
The back doorbell?
Could that be a construction truck backing up outside?
Is that the ringing in my ears?

Our little ones don’t know any better. They have lived with these
sounds all their lives. And now they have to also recognize the
different ringtones for persons in their phone list.
We’d better get busy honing their listening skills so they can make it
through life without catastrophes!!

So, take time to quietly listen to the sounds in your house, car, backyard etc. Turn off the t.v. and the radio and point out the different sounds you hear. Is it a nice day? Go for a walk and listen for a bird singing, a car engine, a dog barking, etc. Take notice of the sounds in our lives.

Singing While Moving

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Movement activities like follow-the-leader allow preschoolers to be physically active while they are learning:

— to focus, attend, and concentrate.
— to read their environment more carefully.
— to increase their ability to note and reproduce specific movements accurately.
These activities also subtly reinforce the wonderful lesson that perseverance can lead to improvement and increased success.