Basic Items for At-Home Music Making

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2020

Get your instrument....and play along! 

There's no question that playing along with music at home is fun for all ages! There are so many creative ways to create your own basket of instruments for music time, from homemade craft items, household items, and inexpensive child-appropriate instruments. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun musical experiences at home! 

Keep these 7 categories in mind while you are creating your own at home instrument collection: 

1) Something to SHAKE: homemade egg shakers, rattles, rice or beans in plastic containers, experiment with different sounds and weights for your shakers

2) Something to TAP: heavy plastic or cardboard containers, boxes of various sizes, coffee cans, plastic tubs, large mixing bowls, anything that provides a nice thump or tap sound with your hands

3) Something to STRIKE: wooden or metal spoons, small wooden sticks, cardboard tubes, 

4) Something to SWOOSH: light scarves,...

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Making Peace with Screen time

This article was published in the June/July issue of Pinpointe Magazine- Cypress. 

Let’s just get one thing out in the open right off the bat. My kids are on screens right now.

Trying to juggle a million different distractions that pop up all day long and a looming deadline for this article, I’ve reached that point where it’s “every man for himself”. I, like so many other parents, rely on screens to survive the hours and hours of time that my kids are home with me. And, for the past two and half months, those hours have felt endless. 

I feel a twinge of guilt, I don’t remember the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for screen time for my 13 and 5 year-old boys. Without looking it up, I’m fairly confident that on most days we far exceed the amount of time that’s recommended. 

Why does screen time trigger such feelings of guilt and shame for parents? The truth is, technology in early childhood does not have to be...

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Supporting Your Child's Love of Music

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Pinpointe Magazine focused on the developmental benefits of exposure to making music in early childhood. In it, I highlighted these benefits by specifically focusing on learning and academic growth. While the world around us is changing, many things remain the same. Our children are learning and growing through this unique period of time, with the majority (if not all!) of their time spent at home with their primary caregivers. As a parent of two highly energetic boys, I am there in the trenches with you! Our role as parents has become all inclusive, and exhausting. Music is a wonderful tool for any parent to use at any time: to support learning, relieve stress, and connect with your little one. Knowing that music is one of the building blocks to learning, it helps to understand what behaviors to look for and enjoy as we play musically with our children.

In Music Together Mixed Age Classes we empower parents with the developmental knowledge...

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Holiday Memories of Music

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” - Buddy the Elf
 
Timeless holiday movies are an integral part of how we celebrate and observe the holiday season. Conflict and drama surrounds familiar characters as they navigate ghosts of past, present and future, or try to “save” Christmas in some way. All the while learning important lessons about community and family, peace and love. Whether the story takes place in the past or modern times, common themes unfold to leave our protagonists brimming with the true spirit of Christmas by the end of the movie, surrounded by loved ones. And, more often than not, they are all SINGING! This is the part of the movies that I have always loved the most. Bonus points if this final song involves our characters gathered around a piano singing together in harmony. There is just something so powerful and connecting about a group of people singing together, something that brings us all...
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Music is Math

“I would teach children music, physics and philosophy, But most importantly music. For in the patterns of music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” - Plato 
 
Growing up, I believed I was “bad” at math. My name never made it on the “Mad Math” wall in my second grade classroom as my peers were passing off timed memorized addition and subtraction facts. Seeing a blank sheet of multiplication or division problems can still send me into a mild panic attack. I faltered and flailed my way through year after year of confusing and frustrating math classes, until my seventh grade band teacher pointed out something that changed my world. “Music is math,'' he told us. I knew I was good at music, I understood the relationships between notes and rhythms and how it all fits together. If I could be good at music, I could also be good at math. I stopped fearing numbers and started seeing them as notes, lyrics, and patterns. 
...
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Building Musical Brains

development pep talk Jul 18, 2019

We're helping to shape our children’s brains as we sing, play and move with them in our class. When we give our children musical experiences—as we do in class and at home—their brains are developing the musical wiring and circuitry that will help enable them to be musical for the rest of their lives. Through continued exposure to a musically rich environment, these neural pathways will strengthen over time. So keep making music as much as possible—in the kitchen, in the bathtub, at the park, in the car—to keep those musical pathways going!

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Managing Expectations in Parenting

Isn’t it funny how before we have kids we are complete parenting experts? 
Parenting is so wrapped up in expectations. We try to dream up and plan for everything from the number of children we will have, what we will name them, how they will dress and eat, the hobbies and interests they will have. We also place a great deal of expectations on habits and behaviors. How our children will be and act, what we will or won’t accept.
Then, before you know it, you find yourself having to give in certain ways. Adjusting your expectations and standards for a picky eater, a difficult sleeper, long summer days that require every ounce of your patience. You begin to realize that parenting expectations don’t always line up with reality. 
That is not to say that we are completely powerless over these little humans we are raising. As a parent I love sharing my passions with my boys. Family road trips to the mountains, listening to music together, teaching them to...
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Building Community Where You Are

“Man, I’m gonna miss those guys”
My three year-old sighs wistfully as we leave the local fast food play area where he has spent the better part of an hour playing with a small pack of kids previously unknown to him and likely to never see again. I have to laugh, the lifetime of a friendship taking place over a such a short period of time. It never ceases to amaze me how kids can do that. They just fall into place, become fast friends, and then move along to the next thing. If only it were that simple in adulthood.
As we grow and move through our lives, our social circles shrink and shift, while friendships become harder to establish and maintain. Friendship expert Shasta Nelson points out that “studies show that we are replacing half of our close friends every seven years throughout our entire lives”. What we learn from this information is that we are continually making and losing friends on a micro level, and over time we can either get really...
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I am NOT a Pinterest Mom

Remember when Pinterest became a “thing”? I was a young working mom, and I would spend hours going down the rabbit hole of countless recipes, craft ideas, organization hacks, home design and parenting memes. I became slightly obsessed with crafting a creative, efficient, and picture perfect home for my family. And I was not alone, the Pinterest phenomenon was spreading like wildfire among my peers. Suddenly, it seemed like everything was over-the-top creative: class parties, birthday parties, play dates, everything became Pinterest-worthy. Some of us were more successful than others, I definitely fell more into the “Pinterest Fail” category. The more creative moms were labeled as “Pinterest Moms” and the distinction of whether you were one or not became an important factor in my small community.

Creativity became synonymous with “Pinterest-worthy”.
I noticed that moms were quick to diminish their own creativity if they were not...
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