Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making way for the new

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for about 4 weeks now. "This post" being my last post to "we are kindermusik" as its official owner. 

February 1 was my last day at Kindermusik. In recent months it's become clear that it was time to move on. The goal, the hope moving forward, is to start my own online media company and pursue the whimsical notions that you instill into a child's heart and mind every day: music. 

However, Careyanne Deyo will pick up where I left off. And if you don't know Careyanne, you will, and you'll come to love her. 

I could talk about her as a colleague, but that wouldn't describe her. You have to describe Caryeanne as a friend. She's the one who always shows up when she says she will. Speaks in a soft, but audible voice, that relaxes the everyday gnashing noises of the world and makes you grateful for the quiet. Her creativity is persistent, and her heart and mind work together for the Kindermusik Educator. She's also a great supporter of the arts, having recently relocated to New York City so that her very talented husband, Tony Deyo, can be closer to the craft and career he loves as comic writer and performer. 

In the coming days, I'll post more information about where you can find the new and improved Kindermusik blog. 

Whether or not it can be dismantled and played like a symphony orchestra .... well. Maybe.

Thank you all for your support, your interest, and what you do every day for Kindermusik, music and education, families and their children. Kindermusik taught me to love music again, and I wouldn't be where I'm going now, if I hadn't experienced it.

Music is happiness.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The safest thing you can do is take risks

Seth Godin shares the importance of taking nurturing curiosity.

Thank you Sean. Via Bob Lefsetz.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Screen shots

Merri asked the other day how to capture the image from the network program. Here are a few directions on taking screen shots from my favorite little birdie, Sean.

on a pc, hit "ctrl" + "print screen", then go into a paint program and
paste it ("ctrl" + "v") into a new file. crop away.

with a mac, hit "command" + "shift" + "4" to get a screenshot cursor, drag
it around the area you want captured, let go (listen for the snapshot sound),
open the "Picture 1.png" file on the desktop and crop away.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What does your social network look like?

Epicurious HTML graph, originally uploaded by Noah Sussman.

I was mesmerized watching this illustration come together. Drop in your blog Url and have fun.

Is there a John Smith in your classroom?

Chicago Theatre #2, originally uploaded by R.A.M.O.N.E..

I've spent several Friday nights listening to the NPR radio program "This American Life." Many times the Chicago-based storytellers have kept me in the car listening for the full hour with a backseat full of melting groceries.

So when I got this email from a producer for the Showtime spin-off of the radio series, I wanted to help.

Producers are looking to do a series of life experience stories on the men named "John Smith."

Specifically, they'd like to know if there is a young John Smith in your Kindermusik classrooms to include in the story.

If there is a John Smith in your classroom, contact "This American Life" producers at 800-463-4505, or email

Here's more from Anna's email:

The idea of the show is to give a sense of what it¹s like to be living and working, growing up and growing old in America right now. We want to do that by talking to people of all different ages who just happen to be named John Smith.

We want to talk about the things that matter most -- jobs, loved
ones, homes, hopes, worries, fears, regrets and so on. We¹d like everyone in the story to be named John Smith because we want the stories to feel universal.

In particular, we're interested in the issues people are facing that are unique to their age. For instance, we'd love to find a young John Smith. Maybe a toddler about to take his first steps, or a child with
his first real bike. Or in the case of Kindermusik, a John Smith learning to speak and sing, move and dance!

To give you a better sense of who we are, here¹s a little background.

"This American Life" is a documentary series that airs on Showtime. The first season in Spring 2007 and we're currently at work on Season 2 which will air later this spring. The series was nominated for three Emmys last year, but it's a spin-off of a public radio program (also called This American Life) that has won most of the major journalism awards in the country, including the Peabody, duPont-Columbia, and Murrow awards.

For more information, please check out the website:

I don't know if there's even a single John Smith in the US who's enrolled in Kindermusik classes, but finding a real, live John Smith is harder than you'd think . . . So, we're trying to make our search as wide as possible!

We'd be thrilled to find a John Smith in the age range of newborn
through 7 years old.

Music is the language of learning

For the last five years, I've been looking for the words to describe why music is such an important presence in a child's early development.

There's the brain research, yes. Compelling, and interesting, however it's really gross to talk about a child's mind in terms of neural networks and neuron firing.

There's the scientific proof, yes. Studies previously performed on Kindermusik students show positive growth in intellectual and self-control behaviors. Still, some educators and experts can't be swayed by even the most convincing studies. I think it's just the way some people are wired.

For me, though, I finally yawped out a Eureka when I realized what preschool teachers have know all along.

Music is inherent to the methods used in early learning. Repetition, rhyme, exposure to patterns, and a variety of sounds are defining qualities of both music and early learning. That's likely why music and language share the same pathways in the brain.

That's why, to a child, music is the language of learning.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who do you want to Jott?

Sean and I sat in on Seth Godin's web talk yesterday about his new book, Meatball Sundae. He talked about Jott, a web-based service where you call a phone number, leave a message, and the service will type the message, and send it to your email address, or your phone's text inbox.
I set up an account for myself, but had some trouble leaving a message. But, I was calling from my cell phone, which doesn't pick up sounds so well. And, the service is still in Beta.

Educator tip: Still .... there's an option to send your message to multiple addresses, or phone numbers. That's a quick, easy option if you need to send families a quick message, or reminder, when you're on the run. Might be worth playing around with a bit.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You must have been a beautiful baby

Yvette and I were talking today about simple ways to get permissions from families to blog or post pictures of their children from class.

As you all get more comfortable and adept at using video--and I can see that you are--you could incorporate a photo release form into your registration process.


Build community. Through photos, images, and videos you can create a virtual Kindermusik community online as families come back to see the class experience through a different lens.

Get your families involved. Something about being a parent brings out the photographer in everyone. Though some families are still cautious about posting their child's pictures online (a request that should always be respected) other families are more than happy to share. See if they'd be willing to flex some creative talents in your classroom.

Link to their flickr or online photo albums. If your families have flickr accounts, ask if you can feature some family photos.

Smart marketing. If a picture says 1,000 words, photos of your families having fun in class will say more than any Web site can.

Choose wisely. Post pictures with a little style, humor, or flair, and it will show how serious you are about putting music and children in the best possible light.

Monday, January 14, 2008

While we're talking about videos ...

Miss Sunny, you have utterly amazed me, once again. Watch a video of her parents talking about her Kindermusik program.

Here's how she did it, in her words:

I'm so very excited to share with you that Musik & Motion website now features an in-house video of our very own Kindermusik families in action. In working with Chris Stone (a genius in video editing and story crafting) and Pat Kuske (ditto for cinematography)-- these two amazing and talented people have skillfully and visually captured a bit of what goes on in the Kindermusik class at Musik & Motion in a 5 minute 38 second video. Chris and Pat are consummate professionals, extremely personable, dependable, and willing to go the extra mile for you. I hope to be able to work on future projects with both of them again! Kindermusik families, thank you for generously offering and bravely sharing your testimonials on camera after class. Each of your testimonials whether on/off camera, written or verbal mean oh, so much to me, and I appreciate every word of it!And Kindermusik educators out there, if you're looking to create a video for your program, please don't hesitate to contact me or Chris. Ditto for any businesses, schools or non-profit organizations looking to capture your mission and story on camera.

Yvette's Viral FOL

Yvette took a short video of herself, explaining the importance of attaching positive emotions to early learning experiences. Now it's a visual, viral FOL that parents can share with each other online.

Brilliant. She must be a Kindermusik Educator.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Made me think

This would be a great idea for a mini-video of your Kindermusik students--talking about what they've done in Kindermusik. Makes me think Pinko.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Stella's Dance

I moved around alot growing up. Best, best, bestest friends were hard to come by. Scratch that. Bestest friends are hard to come by even if you live in the same town all your life.

We were b/f in 7th grade, and Rachel and I lost touch somewhere around junior year. I changed schools. She got a boyfriend. We drifted.

Years later, sometime in February 2005, I'd heard that Rachel's husband--and father to Rachel's 1-year-old daughter, Stella--had died in his sleep. Within a few weeks I'd bought a plane ticket to Verona, WI, and met up with Rachel again. We didn't skip a beat. All those years had disappeared. And we laughed and grieved over 1,000 things.

At the time, Rachel was frustrated that she couldn't find any books to help her daughter deal with her grief. So. She wrote her own.

Now available online, and in your Barnes & Noble, and Borders book stores. If not available, ask them to order it and perhaps the store will consider carrying the book.
Stella's Dance.
Rachel and Stella's story in The Capital Times.