Tag Archives: kindermusik

Kindermusik: Feathers … and a busy B

Vocal play was the “call” of most of this term’s Kindermusik lessons. Nice timing as B is also acquiring language – a gradual development process that includes listening, facial interaction, symbolic play, means-to-an-end behaviour, object permanence, imitation and vocal chord development.  Vocal play engages the vocal muscles intensely and is great preparation for expressive speech.  Exploration with sound also increases spatial reasoning, which is the ability to understand how things relate in space and time, to visualise the world accurately, to form mental images of physical objects, and to recognise variations of objects.

We were encouraged to keep up vocal play by exaggerating the shape of the mouth, using animated facial expressions and eye contact via mirrors and/or positioning yourself within his view.  In addition, we should sing often and invite him to accompany on instruments.  Kids actually start singing early by babbling, repeated words and fragments, and finally adding rhythmic features and pitch components.  Singing is enjoyable AND beneficial in both cognitive development (abstract conceptual thinking, verbal abilities, originality) and motor development, esp. coordination. Besides sounds, we did some symbolic play too with feathers, toy birds and paper “leaves” to teach that one thing can represent another, starting with familiar items.  This correlates to language acquisition in that a word represents an object. The first stage of symbolic play usually manifests from 6-8 months and becomes more sophisticated as they grow with imaginary and role play.  This time there were new syncopated swing and jazz song-and-dances!  “Sing a Song of Sixpence” (dig that groovy intermission!), “Gee, But It’s Great to Meet a Friend” and “Once I Saw a Little Bird”, “Hop To It” and “Duck Dance” which explored the tribal calls of the muskogean people and combines vocal play with singing in a fun way.  😀

Home library:

  1. Feathers for lunch.  Lois Ehlert, Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich Co.
  2. Baby Steps. Claire Kopp, WH Freeman and CO.
  3. Singing Bee! A Collection of Favourite Children’s Songs.  Compiled by Jane Hart with pictures by Anita Lobel, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
  4. Trees, a poem. Harry Behn, illustrated by James Endicott, Henry Holt & Co.
  5. CD. Brahms at Bedtime:  A Sleepy Serenade.

On a side note, I renewed B for one last term at Chengzhu Playnest and Kindermusik Village to supplement mama’s morning “right brain class” (plus books, numbers, phonics, music and outdoor activities where possible). He also had his MMRV booster shot yesterday. Thankfully there’s only 2 more jabs till the next series at 10 years old. Pheew!  He’s now 11.3 kg, 81 cm at 15.5 months, understands lots of words, vocalises some, learning to self feed (patience and mess are a challenge for me!), naps ~2 hours once a day, sleeps from 830p to 730a with occasional waking (argh), and works on his gross and fine motor skills every chance he gets.  What a busy boy!

Kindermusik: Dream Pillow

I’ve noticed how much B seems to love music and rhythm, and signed him up for Kindermusik Village classes at around 10 months. Over the weeks, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wholistic (comprehensive?) his classes are.  One would think that baby music class mainly involves moms singing a bunch of nursery and action songs, hoping that at least half of the little bubs pay attention while the other half don’t get too cranky!  But in reality, there’s so much more that goes on.  Here’s what we learned from his first “Dream Pillow” term:

Babies are great listeners but they get distracted as they grow through improved visual acuity and mobility. Activities (“opposites” and body action songs) and instruments that introduce rhythm create opportunities for anticipation and sequencing.  It also ensures that the vestibular system which contribues to movement and balance gets adequate stimulation early on.  In addition, the longer babies are exposed to appropriate music and experiences, the better their audiation, i.e. the ability to sing silently/hear music inside our heads which is critical for musical memory and performance.

Babies learn best when emotionally involved in an activity because the incoming sensory stimulation is first processed through the non-rational non-conscious limbic system (the seat of emotion) — and only THEN, goes to the neocortex, the rational brain. Simply put: The less emotional the content/experience, the less memorable!  That explains why to this day, he recognises and responds to the “I Love You” from Skinnamarink, rhythm and audiation from Sarasponda, various instrumental action cues from Tants, Tants, Yidelekh, random joyful dancing to Dance, Little Baby, slowing down to All Through The Night and pausing to rest with Softly, Softly.

Music is as much silence as it is sound and elements of both help develop a life skill of focused attention.  On the flip side, babies need plenty of rest too (and not just sleep!). Balance structured stimulation and engagement in age-appropriate activities with wakeful leisure time, unstructured moments where you just don’t DO anything but rather, BE restored together.  This down time helps your child’s brain process the learning that occurs. If quiet time is elusive, try to engage your baby with soft conversation, a gentle touch, light movements (standing/rocking/walking slowly). Relaxation is actually a learned behaviour!  Watch your baby for cues and pace yourselves during the day, alternate between boisterous and quieter activities, hold baby close and breathe deep, massage!

Some term book recommendations from Ms. Shauna at Kindermusik with Love:

  1. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
  2. Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All In Your Head. Carla Hannaford
  3. Goodnight Moon. Margaret Wise Brown