This year in September, Faith Presbyterian launched Musikgarten, a music program for toddlers that helps them develop a deep connection to music while being able to express it in a way that is natural to them. We wrapped up the first session of “God’s Children Sing” last month and it really was a blast! I had a great time teaching this past class and look forward to the Musikgarten sessions next year. I’m still amazed at how quickly kids connect with this method of teaching & learning. All children develop at a different pace, and it is very interesting to see how children at this age pick up the Musikgarten routine and run with it, making it their very own. From what I’ve seen running this program is that the children open up to the class and relax, opening their brain to what is presented to them. They love mimicking people and are little sponges, especially at this age. When we teach them in a way they understand, it is amazing what they show us they can do.
The first session of “God’s Children Sing” was a great experience for all! Everyone seemed to have a great deal of fun in the class and learned many things; I certainly did. The last few classes had children getting extra excited during the musical patterns presented every week, repeating & teaching each other patterns on the xylophone, requesting songs, and children, who were at times shy, fully engaging in the class. We even successfully pulled off a few difficult exercises, with some practice, as a group. It’s times like this that you realize you are on to something good that is making a difference in these children’s early development. It is truly rewarding when Sunday morning comes and the children are as eager as you are to run the class, especially when they can’t wait to show you the musical tones they have been singing throughout the week. When learning equals fun children will thrive.
Some of the top highlights from the first class included “Clap With Me”, a song which usually was followed by rhythm patterns every week. It was great last month to see the children anticipating the rhythm patterns, and eager to do a personal echo of one or two patterns. Another highlight, during an imagination segment, one of the children led us down a path that took us on a journey I had not planned. It was a little challenging for me at first to divert from the lesson, but it was a blast to keep things together while following a very engaged child’s imagination, all while still covering the important aspects of the Musikgarten routine. This was one of my favorite classes because of the challenge and fun it was to go on that journey with everybody. We even managed to successfully do the advanced interactive movement song, “Wind The Bobbin” that day towards the end of class. If you guessed that we all made a circle and wound it up like a bobbin, you would be correct! The flow of the class really moved well through the creative children, and being encouraged to imagine, they helped pave the way that day for a fantastic learning experience for everybody. I’m fairly certain the kids had as much fun as I did.
Between running the first class and having a two year old daughter with a new-found love of Musikgarten, I learned a lot about how children develop. I have seen children, that were incredibly shy, completely open up during the classes. Sometimes it takes a class or two for them to feel comfortable in the group, however making the transformation from being shy and hiding behind their parent to sitting attentively with a smile is something that happens much quicker than I had expected. With everyone, including the parents participating and the children not forced to do anything, it created the optimal environment for a child’s mind to open up, be creative, and learn from what is within them already.
All children are musical and all people are musical, whether we know it or not. When we express the musicality naturally found within ourselves, we can surprise ourselves, even as adults. I have believed this for years and it is very nice to be a part of a program that encourages children to tap into this part of themselves so early in their lives. Life is music, and music is life, although this topic is probably another blog about how walking, talking, breathing, and living all relate to music.
One of my favorite things about this program is the strong belief that all children are musical. Music is also regarded as healing, nurturing, and soothing to all, being especially good for the nervous system. I strongly believe music can do magical things for people, and young people can do magical things when introduced to music.
With the Christmas season nearing, many familiar songs from our childhood are being played throughout the month of December. The basic notes we use in class are used constantly throughout most Christmas Carols. These notes (Do-Mi-So) are the foundation for these songs we know so well from this season and makes me think of the favorite Christmas songs from my childhood such as “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty The Snowman”. These are songs that are dear to us with wonderful ear-catching melodies that stick with us forever.
What are some favorite Christmas songs from your childhood?