Thanks for stopping by A Family Place. I enjoy working with families, and sharing the power of music with them. Kindermusik provides this outlet for me. This blog will allow me to share thoughts and ideas that can help families in their journey.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We interrupt this blog

to bring you a favorite recipe!  I know everyone is busy with holiday festivities and family, but I wanted to share a couple of recipes that are popular at my house.  I love to bake, and I wanted to share with my blog readers something besides music.

Yeast Bread
1 T. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. oil
2 c. milk & 2 T. vinegar OR lemon juice
1/2 c. or less sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
5 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
6 c. all-purpose flour (extra as you mix)

Dissolve yeast & 1 T. sugar in warm water, Add remaining ingredients in a large bowl. You will probably need to stir in extra flour to get the consistency dough like. You can either continue mixing and kneading in the bowl OR on a floured surface.  Place dough in a gallon ziploc bag that has been sprayed with cooking spray ( or  greased with crisco). Squeeze air out of the bag, so the dough can expand. Dough can be refrigerated for up to TWO weeks.  Pull out as needed for dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls or pizza dough. Bake at 400. No need to rise. Prep time is 15 minutes.

This is a staple at my house, and so easy to make.  I no longer buy frozen dinner rolls or crescent rolls.  My kids can make their own pizzas by adding pizza sauce, cheese and other toppings.  Of course my kids are older (ages 11 - 21)!

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
12 ice cream sandwiches
1/2 c. hot fudge topping, warmed
jello pudding mix - chocolate
cool whip - thawed and divided in 1/2
8 oreos - chopped

Warm fudge and whisk in 1 cup of cool whip. Add pudding mix and stir well.  Add chopped oreos cookies. On a 24 inch sheet of foil, place 4 ice cream sandwiches side by side.  top with 1/2 of topping. Repeat.  After placing last 4 sandwiches on top, frost with reserved cup of cool whip.  Fold foil to make a tent and freeze for 4 hours. Prep time is 20 minutes.

This is an easy treat, and often requested by the Nobles children as their birthday cake. I have never made this cake in the summer, always in December!!  

Awesome Apple Bread
1 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups apple, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla and apple in large mixing bowl.  Add dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in loaf pans (2 regular or 5 small) at 350 degrees for 25 - 35 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Prep time is about 20 minutes.

This is a wonderful breakfast bread, or for snacking during the day.  I make this in small loaf pans and give it as a gift.  You can also make apple bread muffins.  This freezes well, and you can take it out as needed.

Happy baking and Merry Christmas!  

December Winners!

Iva Palmer (Joseph) & Laureen Gilbert (Ricky) are the winners for December. This is the fourth in a series of drawings celebrating 20 years of Kindermusik at Berry College. Each month I will draw two names. The first person receives $20 Kindermusik credit and a small gift for their child. The second person can choose one item from an assortment of instruments, CD's, or books.

Enter weekly, one entry per child that attends a Kindermusik class. The drawings will continue through April 2010. Congratulations to our December winners!

Monday, November 30, 2009

November Winners!

Janice Houck (Jada Joy) & Jessica Carney (Laney) are the winners for November. This is the third in a series of drawings celebrating 20 years of Kindermusik at Berry College. Each month I will draw two names. The first person receives $20 Kindermusik credit and a small gift for their child. The second person can choose one item from an assortment of instruments, CD's, or books.

Enter weekly, one entry per child that attends a Kindermusik class. The drawings will continue through April 2010. Congratulations to our November winners!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Holiday Fun: Music Included

The holiday season provides many opportunities for enjoying music.  In Rome we have numerous activities for you to choose from.  I will list some here now, and again in a few weeks.

Oak Hill Symphony Holiday Concert is Tuesday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ford Auditorium at Berry College.  The orchestra consist of middle school through college age, with many Kindermusik grads performing.  Admission is free.  The concert will last one hour.

Rome Christmas Parade is Tuesday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m. on Broad Street.  Our family has been attending this tradition for many years.  I have held children, strolled children and been very pregnant while watching the parade.  All the high school bands participate along with churches & businesses in town.  It's crowded, it can be cold, but it's a Rome event you should experience.

Oak Hill Candles & Carols takes place on Saturday, December 5th from 6 - 9 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and includes a photo with Santa Claus on the front porch of Oak Hill.  Carolers and the Roman Festival Brass will provide festive music on this evening.  

Oak Hill in Lights will be two consecutive Saturdays - December 12 & 19th.  $10 a carload.  

For more information on these events at Oak Hill go here.

While attending music events during the Christmas season can be fun, don't forget to make some music of your own.  Go caroling with your kids, even if it is just to a neighbors house. Grab the neighbors and make it a progressive caroling! Start your own tradition.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have heard it said that a preschooler laughs about 400 times a day, while an adult laughs an average of 10 times per day. Children are typically joyful beings, and I think we can learn from them. I happened across an article about the benefits of laughter and thought I would share them.

  • Laughter relieves physical tension, leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system, decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
  • Laughter releases endorphins, elevates your mood, and enhances communication.
  • Laughter protects the heart, improving blood flow.
Kindermusik provides many opportunities for you to share a laugh with children, so make sure to sign up for next semester's classes. You can get information on that here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pre-registration for Spring

Yes, it's already time to think about spring 2010 Kindermusik registration.  The schedule of classes will remain the same as the fall, but your child may need to move to a different age group. Or maybe you need a different day and time.  I will address both of these issues in an upcoming post.  

This week will begin registration for families that are currently enrolled in Kindermusik classes at Berry College.  Open enrollment will begin on November 6.  To reserve your space for spring semester you need to pay a deposit.  Your enrollment this semester does not guarantee you a space in classes next semester. Here is are the steps to reserving your child's space:
  • Pay a $60 deposit via check and put your child's name and class choice in the memo.  If your address, phone or email has changed then you will need to fill out a new form. Otherwise your check will reserve your space.  Abbreviations for classes are as follows: Village (V); Our Time (OT); Imagine That! (IT); Young Child (YC); Beyond (BYD).       Here is an example for the memo line on your check:  
OT Tues 9:30 Jack
  •  Here are some payment options that can save you money:  
             Pay in full by December 1 - $15 discount
           Pay in full by December 15 - $10 discount
             Sibling discounts are 10% of the total
  • Other payment options are available, just ask me.  If you are enrolling 2 or more children, you will qualify for further discounts.  Again, just inquire.
  • If you have materials from an older sibling to use for next semester, you may take another deduction - $40 for Village, Our Time & Imagine That! and $15 for Young Child.
Prices for spring semester remain unchanged from the fall.  The cost are as follows:
Village - $195 - Cock-a-doodle Moo, Dewdrops
Our Time - $180 - Away We Go!
Imagine That! - $195 - Toys I Make, Trips I Take!
Young Child - $210 (continuing student) - $230 (new student)
Beyond - $165

Fall classes continue through the week of December 7.  But make sure to put Kindermusik on the planner for the spring.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winners for October are

Andrea Stahl (Logan) & Jean Linos (Marina). This is the second in a series of drawings celebrating 20 years of Kindermusik at Berry College. Each month I will draw two names. The first person receives $20 Kindermusik credit and a small gift for their child. The second person can choose one item from an assortment of instruments, CD's, or books.

Enter weekly, one entry per child that attends a Kindermusik class. The drawings will continue through April 2010. Congratulations to our October winners!

Friday, October 9, 2009

October in Rome

If you think that December is busy for your family, then check out all the happenings in Rome during the month of October. Rome celebrates Heritage Holidays, so there are fun events to enjoy all month long. Here are a few things that are not listed in the above link:

The Pumpkin Patch at Trinity Methodist Church - this is open everyday until Halloween.  Ms. Wendy will have a few special days of storytelling & songs.  Visit her at 11 a.m. on Saturday October 10 & 17.

Peach State Marching Festival - October 24 at Barron Stadium.  Come and hear high school bands as they present their half-time shows for competition. Bands from north Georgia, Alabama & Tennessee begin performances around noon.  Admission is charged.  

Service road at Berry - as the leaves begin to change this is a beautiful short drive, and you can enjoy it as you arrive for Kindermusik.  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wild Geese are Flying

One of the songs that we sing in the Village class is "Wild Geese Are Flying."  It's a lovely song about the coming of winter and the geese flying south.  In the baby class, the children experience resonator bars for the first time.   The parents "fly" the children through the air as we listen to the song.  In another session, humongous scarves are used by the parents as they swoop the scarves around the children.  

Last week I introduced this beautiful melody to the children in the Beyond Kindermusik class. They sang and flew with scarves, similar to the babies.  They enjoyed playing with the scarves and moving to the music, but these 1st - 3rd graders can make their own music.  

Enjoy this video of the children accompanying the song.  We had 9 children playing instruments and one child flying with a scarf.

Fall Break

Next week, Oct. 5 - 9, Kindermusik of Berry College will not have classes.  The city & county schools are observing fall break and we will do the same.  Here are some ideas for you:
  • The Pumpkin Patch is back.  Visit the Pumpkin Patch at Trinity Methodist, located on Turner McCall Blvd.  Ms. Wendy will be there on Monday, Oct. 5 and she have story & music time at 10 &  11 a.m. , 3 & 4 p.m. THIS WEEK ONLY!
  • It's Fair Week - go see the exhibits!  Starts Tuesday, October 6.
  • Enjoy time with your child in a different way.  Take a hike, make a play date with a friend, go to special restaurant, make some cookies and of course - SING!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And The Winner's Are

Aimee Crider (Aubree) & Donna Dutton (Anna Grace). This is the first in a series of drawings celebrating 20 years of Kindermusik at Berry College. Each month I will draw two names. The first person receives $20 Kindermusik credit and a small gift for their child. The second person can choose one item from an assortment of instruments, CD's, or books. Enter weekly, one entry per child that attends a Kindermusik class. The drawings will continue through April 2010.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Healthy & Happy

For months the media has stormed us with H1N1 information.  Here are some facts you should know about the virus:

*The H1N1 is a viral flu, not bacterial.
*The H1N1 flu is also known as the ―Swine Flu.
*It is spread by direct contact (touching)..
*The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) offers podcasts filled with H1N1 information. 
*The CDC has a child friendly podcast series named ―CDC Kidtastic

At Kindermusik of Berry College we want everyone to stay healthy, and that means being pro-active.  Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!  I would encourage you to wash them before and after class.  We have hand sanitizer in the classroom, but soap & water is best.  We have tissues, please use them!  We are being diligent in cleaning our instruments between classes, and washing scarves.  We do not want to spread germs among our friends.

If your child has had a fever or vomited in the last 24 hours please do NOT come to class.  Come to another class when everyone is feeling better.  We will gladly make sure you get a make-up class for your child.

Kindermusik of Berry College takes your child’s health very seriously.  That’s why we are pro-actively taking preventative measures to help keep H1N1 out of our classrooms!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Picture This!

Here are some recent photos from Kindermusik of Berry College.  Making music is fun, especially with new friends!

Babies going up during the Duck Dance

Playing the drum in a Village class.

Storytime with Ms. Wendy

Reading Pete & PJ...wishy, washy wee!!!

Getting a closer look at the book. 

Exploring wood instruments in Imagine That!

Introduction to the glockenspiel, Young Child, year 1. 

It's the Doodle Daddle Dance in Young Child, year 2
We also play the dulcimer in our year two class.

Ensemble playing in year two.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Enter to Win!!


 Kindermusik Credit

Celebrating 20 years!

  • The drawing will be held on the 20th of each month, or the closest day to the 20th.
  • Enter your name or your child's name
  • One entry per week is allowed
  • Ask your Kindermusik teachers for details!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Music is fun and .....

it has great benefits that go beyond the realm of music.  Read the 7 Surprising Benefits of Music Education here.  You can get all of this in a Kindermusik class! 
Coming soon - pictures from week 3 classes. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What if..... child is sick? we are out of town? I have a doctor's appointment? You have signed up for a class, you have paid to attend and enjoy coming..what if I miss a class? Can I make it up? The short answer is yes!

My advice would be to talk with your teacher about your absence. If you know in advance that you will be out, then ask your teacher about attending a different day and time. If you are out because unexpectedly, you have a couple of options.

1. look at the schedule online and see what is available.
2. check the blog and make sure there isn't an announcement about a class being cancelled. This happens occasionally when a teacher has a conference to attend or is ill. We typically try and cover classes if a teacher is out, but sometimes that isn't possible.
3. call or email about availability of another class.

You make up the class anytime during the semester, it doesn't have to be within that week. This works fine for Village, Our Time, and Imagine That! classes, but not so well for the older classes. For children in Young Child there aren't as many options. Your teacher will be happy to get you the materials you missed at the next class.

As a side note, classes will not meet on Labor Day. Monday classes will make up this class the week of Thanksgiving. Also, no classes will meet the week of October 5 - 9. This is fall break for the city & county schools.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kindermusik update

The first week of Kindermusik classes went smoothly - once we gained access to the elevator. Thanks to those Monday evening families that made the hike up 3 flights of stairs!

A few new classes have been added that are not on the printed schedule:
Tuesday 11:15 - noon Kindermusik for Special Needs
Tuesday 6:15 - 7 pm Family Time, begins on September 8
Thursday 9:30 am Kindermusik Village (newborns-18 months)

There are also classes that have space available, so spread the word to your friends:
Monday 6:30 - 7:15 pm Kindermusik Village
Thursday 6:30 - 7:05 pm Kindermusik Our Time (18 months-3 years)
Friday 10:15 - 11 am Kindermusik Imagine That! (ages 3.5 - 5 years)

College students have returned to campus! What can you expect?
1. more traffic, especially in the parking lot - please be careful!
2. strange looks from new students wondering why small children are invading Ford.
3. the new elevator located on the 1st floor is very nice, but I would ask you to enter 1st floor quietly.

I would like for this blog to contain pictures from your child's Kindermusik class, and I need to make sure I have permission to use them. Your teacher will have a form for you to sign.

Be sure to look at the bulletin board outside the Kindermusik room. It is a glimpse into the history of the 20 years of Kindermusik at Berry College.

My next post will answer the question - "Can I make-up a class?"

Monday, August 17, 2009

20 years of Kindermusik!

At the prodding of my college piano teacher I went to a week long training session for Kindermusik. That was the summer of 1989. I didn't know anything about the program. I went to class everyday at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and had homework every night. It was a life changing experience. At the time, Kindermusik only had one curricula - Young Child, for ages 4 - 7. I learned the importance of children moving to the beat of the music and singing the songs BEFORE notes are introduced. I learned that children should play instruments that encourage gross motor skills, thus the glockenspiel is used to teach melodies rather than the piano. I learned so much that week!

After that week of training with master teacher, Linda Robinson, I knew I wanted to teach Kindermusik. I returned to Berry and approached the music department chair, Darwin White. He was willing to sponsor a program. He allowed me to use a room on 3rd floor (now referred to as the Kindermusik room), that was used for several college classes and filled with desks & music stands. I purchased a smathering of essential instruments and was ready to teach. But, I needed students. This was July and I wanted a class in September.

How would I fill a class in such a short amount of time? The answer was at the Child Development Center (CDC) of Berry College. The CDC is a preschool for children ages 3 - 5. I approached Mrs. Chambers, the director of the CDC about the possibility of offering Kindermusik to students at the preschool. She liked the idea, and we formulated a plan. The CDC would transport children on Thursday mornings to the Ford complex and we would have our very first class. There were nine children that were interested in participating. On Thursday mornings, one of the teachers - Mrs. Hoge - would gather children onto the blue Berry van (the children called it the blueberry van!) and drive to Ford. Since parental participation is important in the Kindermusik program we had parents who would join our class at 11:45 for the sharing time.

It was that first year partnership with the CDC that helped the program take-off. The 2nd year I had three of the nine continue and finish the Young Child curriculum. I was able to offer a summer camp the following year and build from there. In 1989 I had one child, but had my 2nd child in 1990. It was a busy year! On a side note, the summer of 1990 I had a teen babysitter that would come to my house and keep Aaron & Alyssa. Alyssa was a nursing infant and didn't like taking a bottle. I would often leave Stephanye with a crying baby and an active toddler. Stephanye is now a seasoned mom and brings her kids to Kindermusik. It's a full circle, and I love it.
The photo here is not from the very beginning, but when we first started offering classes for toddlers. The class was called Kindermusik Beginnings! The boy in the photo, Andrew, is probably a sophomore or junior in high school!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

If Your Happy and You Know It Tell A Friend

Do you have a great experience that you want everyone to know about? Do you find yourself telling friends, and even strangers about your vacation or a sale at your favorite store? My family loves the National Parks.  I can talk for hours about the wonders of the parks.  My youngest daughter is involved in a local swim club. I am constantly telling other moms about Three Rivers Swim Club.  I tell them why I am supportive of the sport of swimming: exercise, friends, competition, discipline, and confidence builder.

I am a Kindermusik teacher, and I love it when families have had a great time in our program, and they tell their friends.  When someone calls about Kindermusik of Berry College, they usually learned about it from a friend, relative or neighbor.  There is nothing like a personal referral.  Someone you trust to give you suggestions and advice.  

So, if you are a happy Kindermusik parent I would encourage you to tell someone about the program.  Have them visit our website.   Fall classes begin the week of August 17, and we offer classes for ages newborn - age 7.  

Here are a couple of testimonials from happy families!

“The past five or six years have been a joy for us.  Often we spend money on our children/grandchildren for games, toys and other activities and don’t see fruit from our investment.  I’m thankful all the money we’ve spent on Kindermusik at Berry has been a good investment and will keep paying off even after we quit investing.”  C.J.’s Mimi, retired educator  

“Families have so many demands on their time.  I say “no” to many outside activities, but I have always found time in our family’s schedule for Kindermusik.  It is an essential part of my children’s education."     Susan, mom to 7.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Listening to Music, Part 3

I previously admitted that I don't listen to much music, not by electronic means anyway.  Most of the music I listen to is music that I make, students are learning, or other live performances. Despite my lack of  listening, I do believe that listening to music has many benefits.  

In a recent article in Scientific American renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks of Columbia University had this to say concerning music, “Certainly music seems to be the most direct form of emotional communication.  It really seems to be as important a part of human life and communication as language and gesture.”  Emerging evidence also indicates that music brings out predictable responses across cultures and among people of widely varying musical or cognitive abilities. Even newborn infants and people who cannot discern pitch enjoy music’s emotional effect. 

When I was pregnant with my first child I was also in graduate school studying piano pedagogy. One of the pieces that I was working on in my private lessons was Nocturne in B Major, Op. 32, No. 1 by Chopin.  I would spend hours at the piano -  practicing, refining and memorizing this beautiful composition.  I never really considered the effects of all of this music on my unborn child until several months later.  My son, Aaron was a fussy baby.  We did many things to quiet and calm him.  One night after much exasperation I suggested that my husband bring him downstairs in my piano studio.  As he held this squirming and screaming infant, I began to play the Nocturne.   After only a few measures, Aaron became very quiet and gazed up knowingly at his father.  It was as if he was saying "this is my music".  It was at that point I realized the power of music. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Listening to Music, part 2

I admitted that I don't do a lot of "leisure" listening.  In fact, I prefer silence to background sounds.  My kids are used to it, but they do think it is weird.  They probably prefer "no music" to the talk radio they get with their dad, but that is another story!

Though I'm not a listener in my down time, I do believe listening to be beneficial.  Just as children learn to talk because their environment is filled with words, music can be learned in the same way.  Shinichi Suzuki developed his music education philosophy based on "Japanese children learn to speak Japanese".  The premise is that children learn based on the environment in which they live.   He taught that children who listened to music could learn to be musicians. 

In a nutshell, here is the Suzuki philosophy:  A child and his mother would come for a violin lesson. The child is taught by rote, and the mother also.  When the child goes home, the mother is the teacher.  The mother makes sure the child practices daily, and that there is a time for listening each day too. The child would listen to recordings of the songs he is learning on the violin. The listening might occur during the meal, rest time, or while the child is playing.  Thus the environment is saturated with music.  The child that learns in this way develops a sense of musicianship before he is encumbered with reading the music.   The lay term that is often used is, "he has a good ear".

Kindermusik has a similar philosophy.  The classroom is filled with music, and activities that promote steady beat, vocal expression, exploration and improvisation of sounds.  When the families leave the Kindermusik class, they take CD's home that allow them to saturate their environment with the same songs they enjoyed with the group.  When the children are between 4 1/2 - 7 years old they are introduced to the notes, rhythm and terminology they have already experienced.
Does this transfer to learning songs?  YES!  
The children have it in their body, because they have moved to the song. The children have it in their voice, because they have sung the song.  

In my next post I will share the benefits of music listening through a few personal stories.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Listening to Music

As a musician, I admit to listening to very little music.  I know that seems strange, but let me explain.  Most people have music playing in their car, and in their house.  The majority of the time this is just filler...background music.  Nothing wrong with it.  In fact, society promotes it.  Elevator music, music while we shop, music while we are 'on hold', commercials and tv shows with music.  I get a lot of strange looks, and comments when I tell people that I don't listen to music.  They usually think I am kidding.   

Music is my job.  I have to listen to it, right?  Yes, but even my leisure listening is with a definitive purpose.  I turn on Copland, and really listen to the motifs that occur throughout his symphonic works.  I listen to Bach, and enjoy the polyphonic texture he created with elegance and proficiency.  David Holt sings a folk song, and I listen to the instrumentation as it compliments the text.  At church I listen to the blend of instruments and voices. During football season I go to hear the band at half-time!

Yes, I sing along when I listen to music.  I will tap my toes, and sometimes conduct the music.  I may not listen the same way as other folks, but I embrace music with my heart, soul & mind.  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pictures/video from Orffestrations camp

Here two additional photos, and another video from the 
Orffestrations camp at Berry College.
The video is a speech ensemble.  A poem is about spaghetti, followed by ostinato patterns about slurping and garlic bread, then all three parts are together.  The children really enjoyed this activity, especially the boys as they "slurped".  The children experience different parts simultaneously.  This type of activity is a prelude for 2 and 3 part singing. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Orff with children

My last post was about Orff-Schulwerk and my training.  I enjoyed two weeks with other music teachers learning more about how to create arrangements for Orff instruments.  This past week I implemented what I learned as I led an Orffestrations camp for children.  This class met for 2 hours each day at Berry College, and included 11 children, ages 7 - 10.
 Most of these children have prior music experience:  Kindermusik, piano or children's choir at church.   We had a wonderful time making music together.  The children enjoyed being together, singing, moving, playing instruments, and were eager to do their best each day.  As I pondered our accomplishments during the week I came up with the following:

1.  cooperation - working together is an important part of making music & a life skill.

2.  listening & critiquing  - was it too loud? did we hear the singing? was it expressive? did we maintain a steady beat? what did we like?

3.  time & space - as we moved through the room we had to be aware of our friends so that we did not bump.   The same concept is needed in the grocery aisle with a buggy!

4. identifying patterns in music - rhythmic and melodic patterns were presented after singing, moving and playing them!  

5.  steady beat - pulse is most important!!

6.  parts - the children were able to layer up to 3 parts.  We did this in speech and playing instruments too.  The children could play a part on their instrument and sing at the same time.

7. vocal expression - we always wanted to use an interesting voice, as if we were telling a story.

Here is a video that will allow you a glimpse of our class.  I'll post another one later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What is Orff?

I am taking my level 2 Orff-Schulwerk Certification. I drive to Cobb County every day for two weeks, and meet with over 50 other music educators. It is the highlight of my summer! Why? Because the classes stretch me, and encourage me as a musician, teacher and person. But what is it? Here is a synopsis:

Orff Schulwerk is a "philosophy" of teaching music. It is not a method. It is a way of teaching the entire child, the cognitive as well as the affective domains.

1. Movement is always first.

2. Body percussion. (snap, pat, pat, and stamp)

3. Rhythm instruments and recorders.

4. Pitched percussion instruments are added and integrated into what we know today as Orff Schulwerk.

5. Improvisation and composition are included in an Orff class.

Orff (named for Carl Orff) Schulwerk (German for School work) takes teachers and students into deeper levels of teaching and learning. Going beyond knowledge and comprehension, students apply their knowledge, often independent of the teacher, through composition and improvisation.

Being exposed to this type of learning, and then applying this new information to my teaching is exhilarting. Helping children express themselves through music and movement is why I continue my education through Orff classes.

There is an Orffestrations class for children ages 7 - 10, at Berry College. The class meets June 22 - 26, and there is still space available!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer activities for everyone

Looking for family friendly activities close to home? Then check out Oak Hill at Berry College.

There are movies in the meadows - $10 a carload! You can take a historic bike ride, complete with a guide. There are classes for the children, that include painting flower pots, building a birdhouse, or learning about horticulture. Do you have family coming to town, then take them to the museum at Oak Hill and learn more about Martha Berry. There is so much to do and see at Berry College, and it's right in our own backyard! While your thinking about Berry, check out the Kindermusik classes that are offered this summer too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Double Dip - music & swimming

The Holland Sentinel reports, "there are many similarities between sports and music. Athletes and musicians practice their craft diligently to perform their best in front of the crowd. Both entertain and are highly competitive. "

When I go to the pool to pick up my swimmer from Three Rivers Swim Club, I see that many of the swimmers are former Kindermusik students. In addition to swimming, they have continued their music study with piano, orchestra, chorus and band. My personal theory is that there is a certain rhythm involved in swimming...counting your strokes, kicks, knowing how far to the wall, etc... And of course, music is all about rhythm and the pulse. I tell students, without a pulse, you die and so does your music!

This past weekend, TRSC participated in a fun meet, and a relay team found four Kindermusik grads swimming the 200 Free Relay and winning. So, this summer enjoy the rhythm of music and the pool!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Music Benefits

All around the world, people love music. Americans are hooked on American Idol. In the UK, it's Britain's Got Talent. Click here to see their talent!

Kids gravitate to music...they dance to music on TV, love a marching band, and hop up on Grandma's piano bench to make their own music. Music is a multi-million dollar business: iTunes, rock concerts, symphony orchestras, country music, Broadway show, and the list goes on. But, what are the benefits of music? I'm glad you asked! just had an article outlining the 12 benefits of music education. Here is a summary of 4 of the benefits.

1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning.

2. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and solve problems by imagining various solutions.

3. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline.

4. Music provides children with a means of self-expression, of which self-esteem is a by-product.

Give your child a benefit that will last a lifetime: music!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Musical Storytime

Today was our last Maymester Musical Storytime. This has been a lot of fun...three weeks of themed Kindermusik style classes in a multi-age setting. We have had dads, mom, grandmas, and nannies attend. Many families have come for the very first time to experience Kindermusik. It has been wonderful because the LONG TIME attenders are such good examples.

Singing, moving to music, playing instruments, and spending quality time with families - that is what we do in our classes. It's fun, but read this article to find out why listening to music can be a real "heart-opener". No, literally.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer is a good time for

relaxing, reading, and remembering. Remember your days of summer? What did you do? When I was a kid, I played outside, played with friends and went swimming whenever I could. I'm sure I watched my share of TV too, but there weren't a zillion channels to choose from!

Today's children are so busy that they don't take time to relax, read or remember. I know parents like to keep the children busy, but allow them some slow hazy, lazy days of summer. Pick a few activities that will engage your child, not just entertain. Be deliberate in choosing, and try to be creative.

Here are my picks for summer fun with the kids:

go to the park

go to the library...summer storytime is on Tuesday & Thursday beginning in June.

pack a picnic

load up the bikes and ride... the trail next to the rivers in Rome is great because it's shady!

make homemade ice cream and invite the neighbors over

get a big box from the appliance store - it will become LOTS of things before it is over!

Vacation Bible School is a great week long activity and in Rome, you can find one most any week!

read books with your kids and then let them act it out or re-tell it

as you travel, sing a song....find a theme song for the trip. Sometimes it's a song we know, sometimes we change the words to a familiar tune.

First Friday Concerts in Rome are the best!

Visit a state park for the day...swim in the lake and hike a trail.

Find a Kindermusik class for your child. Go to and click on Kindermusik

I had to add that last one, but I believe music makes life sweeter. It's one activity that is multi-generational. You never get too old to enjoy and make music. So, no matter what activities you choose this summer includes some music. It may just be dancing in the den, but your kids will definitely remember it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First EVER!

I have finally done it! I have entered the blogging world. I am a fan of blogs, and have learned many things from reading them. This blog is primarily to share my love of music with those who visit. I am a pianist by training, but a singer at heart. I suppose I got this love of music from my father. Now, he is not a great singer...but he was always singing. He still sings in the church choir at age 86! I grew up on a farm in north Florida, and my dad would get up to early milk the cows and he would sing as he walked to the barn.

This joyful (not beautiful) song that he carried is etched in my soul too. After I graduated from college with a music education degree, I had a piano studio in my home. I still do, but 20 years ago I added Kindermusik to my repetoire. What is Kindermusik? It's a children's music program for families. I get to share and make music with young children and their families - it's what grandma did on her porch for many years. Not my grandma - but granma's in general.

My intent with this blog is to share with families how music can add joy to your day. I may have some parenting tips, music to add to your playlist and probably a recipe or too.