Thursday, August 31, 2006

Behind the music

The biggest difference between Kindermusik and other music and child development programs ... is in the music. We cross cultures, and countries, and languages. We collect, record, archive and distribute songs that literally have stood the test time. The tunes that were lovingly passed on one from generation to the next, one parent and child at a time, are still as relevant today.

We go to all this trouble collecting this music for a good reason: the children. Exposure to a wide variety of music is good for them. Here's why:

Greater language proficiency—Just as you read a variety of books to expand your child’s vocabulary, exposure to a wide variety of music and sounds expands your child’s “ear vocabulary.” High quality musical recordings and real instruments help your child “fine tune” her ear to recognize and imitate the sounds that make up words and language.

Spatial awareness—When a child listens to music, her mind perceives the sound in multi-dimensional ways. The sound is loud or soft, fast and slow, it moves up and down, and from left to right. Her mind and body work together to be “aware of space” when she walks through the living room and tries not to hit the coffee table. Much later, it’s a necessary skill for learning how to get around things, to jump, run, and move in zig-zag ways.

Temporal reasoning—You hear this skill in action when a preschooler tells a story. He starts with his own experience and then moves to some imagined place with a princess or a superhero then goes back to something real again. Music does the same thing. It goes back and forth between established spaces (the chorus) and to new places that take you somewhere else (the verse). The ability to go back and forth from something established to something imagined comes from temporal reasoning, a skill used in music writing, storytelling, and problem solving.

Emotional intelligence—With exposure to a greater variety of musical styles—like jazz, folk, or classical, this increased exposure to music increases a child’s awareness, and understanding of different moods and emotions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

9/11: The man who walked between the towers

As the September 11 anniversary approaches, Scholastic releases this story and DVD, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and more inspiring tales.

Review by The Lovely Mrs. Davis
See the book

Stravinsky isn't on myspace

I've been thinking: If Kindermusik had a myspace, who would be its friend?




New blog: Music makes our world go round

I love the subhead, "Let the song in your heart be heard." And I love the city where Betsey, the blog's author, is from--Memphis, TN. They play soul music on the downtown sidewalks there. Hm, hmm.

It's a WordPress blog, and I admire those layouts and designs. The technicolor green masthead of a photo of a highway tunnel gives it an interesting edge of cool. Betsey is a photographer, too. But I'll let her introduce herself.

"I’m a blogger, country music fan, mom, Kindermusik educator, Hallmark-aholic and amateur photographer. Through this blog, I hope to inform, entertain, and just plain amuse. Enjoy the ride!"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tiger Woods: Music and movement

Nike's new campaign featuring Tiger Woods, music, and movement could be your best sell with a doubting Thomas about the importance of early exposure to both.

Via Sean Coon.

Psst. All you business owners ... while you're on Sean's blog, check out his post on the importance of tagging photos in flickr with city, state, and contact information. A warning, though, Sean falls victim to a boy's fifth grade sense of humor, sometimes. It's bearable because it's sometimes funny and he's a visionary.

The gist is this: When you load photos flickr and include your contact information, then it's making it easier for people perusing the pretty pix to find your studio and enroll.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I know you now Cindy Walker

I turned 32 yesterday. I know. It's young. I also know it sounds either young or old depending on your distance from that number. It feels really young. Especially when wearing the too small, slip-on ruby slippers my mother gave me for the walk over the yellow-brick-road-wrapping paper she taped to the kitchen floor, I felt delightfully young. And celebrated.

My grown-up brothers and their wives and daughters and girlfriends wore cheap, plastic sherriff's stars as party favors, in honor of my Dodge City, Kansas roots.

Those stars dangled from their collars as we ate smoked salmon on brown bread with capers and a spinach and strawberry salad. I slurped coffee, coffee, coffee as I unwrapepd the presents, and saw the way I look through my family's eyes. A journal, a certificate explaining the story behind my Irish last name, a DVD copy of the "Wizard of Oz," the Real Simple magazine subscription, and music. A mix of Irish and Kansas rose up in me like a sentimental tornado.

Then I opened one of the last presents and found her: Cindy Walker. Released on the Lost Highway label, You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker is a collection of her songs sung by Willie Nelson. On the ride home from Raleigh, NC I played it over and over and made peace with my soul, and how sometimes my heart feels like a broken record, like it skips, and aches a little more most people's. It's also why I choose my own company and a guitar over a crowd.

I hope, no matter how old or young I get, that that never changes.

I like elephants

Via Musik4Kids and Masterworks

Friday, August 25, 2006

Two happy harmonica players

Lisa Rowell, our Marketing Manager, found this parent blog.

All the pretty languages

You'd have to go around the world, and back in time through centuries past to gather all the music you'll hear in one Kindermusik semester. Good thing we've already done it for you.

This fall you will hear:

For babies
Zoom Buggy - May There Always Be Sunshine (Russia) Zum Gali Gali (Israel), The Keel Row (Northumberland), Suliram (Indonesia), Les raftsmen (Canada), Canoe Song (Native Americanish) and Polovtsian Dance (Poland).

Milk & Cookies - Barn Sull (Scandanavia), Duermete, mi nino (Latin America), Fais do-do (France), The Muffin Man (England), Shakin’ Shakin’ (Apalacia), Savez vous plantez les choux (France), and Shake Hands (African-American).

Hello Weather, Let's Play Together - Sally Go ‘Round the Sun (North America), Morning Sun Has Risen (Israel), The Mulberry Bush (England), Japanese Rain Song (Japan), Uskudar (Turkey), Weggis Song (Switzerland), Funiculi Funicula (Italy), Lirum Larum (Germany), Siyahamba (Zulu), and Rain or Shine (Texas).

Here, There, Everywhere--My Kite (England), Sulla Lulla (Norway), Alle Meine Entlein (Germany), Sma Grodorna (Sweden), Shoo Fly (America), Water Come a Me Eye (Jamaica), Whisky Frisky (African-American), San Sereni (Puerto Rico), Zum Gali Gali (Israel) and Cantonese Lullaby (China).

via The Little Brown Music Studio

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We speak Kindermusik

Kindermusik Educator Carolann Birtwell recently spent time at a school for blind children in India. On her Web site she shares a story and pictures about a boy she saw through a window. Without a word, the two played "Itsy Bitsy Spider. "

Read and listen to the story here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

One ringy-dingy or one text message?

Ask parents how they would like to recieve news and updates about your Kinbermusik program this semester: Via email, mailbox, or voice message. Then, try out these two new ways to phone or text message information en masse to the families in your program, the Educators in your studio, or the folks in your carpool group.

  • Pheeder. With one phone call, Pheeder will send a recorded broadcast message to a list of telephone numbers you put in the system. Think of how Pheeder will change the old "phone tree" model. Parents could stay in touch, or ask for a ride, or make a "we did something great together as a family" suggestion and share it with other parents in class.
  • Dodgeball. If you have families who prefer a short and sweet text message, consider playing with a little Dodgeball. This service will send out text messages to several people in your group. Make sure you checkwith parents first, as some text services can charge the cell phone owner for every text message it recieves.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You pull the strings

This Web site lets you be the animator. You can choose from one of four characters, either call in your voice, or record it on your computer microphone and your child--or you--can be the star of this animation-puppet theater.


Monday, August 14, 2006

"I've got rhythm in my fingaz!"

Hmmm. What's the name of that song? It goes tap, tap, t-t-tap, tap, tsh. tsh. tsh.

Oh, thank goodness for this new Web site,, where I can tap out the rhythm of the song on my keyboard, and it finds the title for me.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just peachy

With so many Kindermusik Educator Partnership blogs popping up around the place, I just had to give you all a space of your own. Look to the right for the blog roll of up and coming Partnership blogs.

If I don't have yours there, let me know:

Bye-bye baby

Today was Hollie Speights last day at Kindermusik. We threw her a going away party and baby shower all in one.

We'll miss you Hollie.

I wonder how many miles it gets per gallon

See the candelabra?

Flip through and share

Helen Peterson, you are so cute. You put all of your pictures from last semester up on flickr so your families can watch and share them. Here, take a look.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Put the needle on the record

Someday I will own a motorcycle with a sidecar, and dee-jay turntables. With this new video game, the turntables may come sooner than the sidecar. Only, I'll need a Sony Playstation first.

Beatmania is a new music-game for Sony Playstations, and if the trend and trade papers are right, music-related video games will emerge as a hot new genre in the video game industry. I hope so.

Now you might be thinking to yourself (as a Kindermusik Educator) that turntables have nothing to do with Kindermusik. I would disagree. Watch this video of DJ Spooky up here. Now.

Kind of looks like a free dance with Uskudar, right?

Right brain, left brain integration. One hand controls the beat, the other controls the scratch and melody.

Multi-sensory. Like dee-jay Spooky, they're always moving. Needling with both hands, mastering rhythm, digging out records with the other, listening to their headphones, dancing, and making sure that everybody else is moving.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ska busking

As a street player and former ska-reggae band member myself, my ears perked when this clip played on Part vaudeville, part ska, and part Merry Melodies from the Warner Brother's Cartoon, this music makes me happy.

A modern girl's guide to apron-wearing

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Put the "arrr" in party.

Forgive the pirate references, but come on, the "bounty" is too good. This month Do-Re-Me & You! is giving Kindermusik Educators 30 percent of the loot when you host a Show & Tell. Loot you can use to buy curricula, instruments, or marketing materials for your studio.

The best part? Access to new products, including the Scottish-speaking, swashbuckling Rupert, the Wrong Word Pirate. His tendency to mispronounce words makes it mayhem for his crew, and gives preschooler's a knee-slapper and a language lesson as they sing along and point out the right word. And with songs that will inspire a musical theater sense of imagination inside any child's mind, you can throw a pirate-inspired party and really put the "arrr" in party.

Ideas for a pirate-themed party (via the Do-Re-Me & You! loop).
More about the special offer to host a party and earn FREE Kindermusik products for your studio.
Don't know what to say to get your party started? We can give you the words.

My favorite sound is the sound of your voice

Really, though, my favorite sound is the truth, but that's another entry ....

Still, something about the sound of a person's voice captures me, and no doubt, your voice captures the parents in your classes, the children you teach, and your family members.

Use your voice in marketing, too. Maybe www.odeo.comcan help. Joy Granade of "injoy your day" described it as the "flickr" for your Kindermusik voice. To share a recording of your voice, it's literally as easy as picking up the phone and leaving message. Go. Play. And think about how your voice can enhance your marketing:

Record your voice saying your favorite FOLS and post them on your Web site.
Post .mp3's of the children in your classes singing their favorite Kindermusik songs.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Xander's Quips - Electric Mayhem

No one understood better than Jim Henson the hard-to-find, wonderful place between the sophisticated and the silly. That space "in between" is where parents and children are neither younger or older, taller or shorter. It's shared wonder. Not even Kindy Rock touches that place in between.

Dizzy does. When Gillespie puffs up those trumpet cheeks and blares, a kid-like sense of wonder takes over, while the cool sophisticated adult is awestruck by Gillespie's high-stylings. No foot stands still with the rhythmic accruracy and improvisation of The Muppet Show's fabric and feather-covered house band--Electric Mayhem.

Five easy things for fall semester

Re-enrolling made easy. Next week check your email inbox for one new re-enrolling tip per week from now until fall semester.

All Curricula brochure now online. It sits on my desk right now, and if I do say so myself, and I do, it looks great. I'm smitten.

Order Unit 2 of Family Time--Here, There, Everywhere. I was listening to the home CDs just the other day and tapped my foot the whole time.

Customize posters and postcards. Soon you can order a new poster and postcard design through Michigan Wholesale Printers. You'll be able to customize each design with your studio contact information and choose from either a Family Time postcard design (which features the picture you see here), or an All Curricula design (featuring the little girl on the new brochure); and a new Family Time poster.

Family Time Web CT begins. You can register for this free class online in the Educator Store. Once the class and item code posts, you order it just like a regular order, and you're automatically registered in this five-week, multi-media, interactive online course.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Have you strayed so far from my apron strings?"

Some local singers and songwriters are putting together a show at the end of August to help bring to Greensboro "The Apron Chronicles." As a way to promote it, I'm building a blog called "Tunes and Textiles."

I'd love your creative help.

I'd like the site to become a place where people could post their thoughts about apron strings, and what the phrase, or the image brings to mind. For inspiration, watch the video you see on the blog--that's singer and songwriter Laurelyn Dossett.

Then if you have a picture or quote you'd like to submit, email it to me.