When I opened my new Wondertime magazine this month (April/May edition), skimming over the contents brought a pleasant surprise. “The Sound of Music,” an article written for Wondertime readers by another mom about her own experience in finding music classes for her two and a half year old son, Quinn, is a fun read. Part of my pleasure in this article derives from the fact that the author, Rani Arbo, and her husband are in a similar position that my husband and I found ourselves – they’re both professional musicians. The information found in the article in invaluable for all parents. Here’s an excerpt of the online article:
‘ We were late for our first Kindermusik class, so I carried Quinn into the community center. We were greeted by the teacher and half a dozen mothers with children on their laps, tapping knees and singing a melodious “Hello” song. I thought it was lovely, but Quinn clung to me and refused to let me sit down, so we stood to the side until the song ended. “Take your time,” said Mrs. Tresner, a 17-year teaching veteran. “He’ll join when he’s ready.”
She then launched into a song about a train called the Allee-Allee-O and invited the kids to hop, fly, and tiptoe down the tracks. This was too much for Quinn to resist; he slithered from my arms and started flapping his wings, and we were on board the “Zoo Train” (the name of the class). The hour flowed easily; Mrs. Tresner picked up on suggestions and signals from the kids at every turn. She’d mimic an 18-month-old’s hand gesture and say, “Oh, let’s fly, then,” or take a cue from Quinn’s manic stomping to call for a hippopotamus march. Occasionally, she’d divulge a hidden motive. “We’re working on developing a steady beat here,” she said to the parents, “and an understanding of fast and slow tempos.” ‘
It was a fascinating article, with a glimpse, for me, of what our classes are all about from a mom’s perspective. I agree wholeheartedly with Rani’s conclusions:
‘ By the time our classes were over, Quinn and I had gathered a bevy of new songs and games, and our musical relationship at home had definitely improved. I was allowed to sing at times other than bedtime, and Quinn occasionally joined in. I stopped feeling dorky about being a pared-down (and far less proper) version of Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. We spun the CDs regularly over breakfast, and when Quinn grinned like a madman (plastered with cereal) at the first strains of a favorite song, I forgave every twinkle. We dove into our instrument basket more often, with more creative results. Quinn even put on “shows,” with Froggy and company in rapt attendance.Time and again I was reminded of the biggest lesson of the summer: What hooked Quinn about music class had nothing, overtly, to do with music. It was, instead, the hour of my undivided attention. It was getting to be his 2 1/2-year-old self, with Mom at his heels, playing along.
And also her main concluding points:
‘One: Children can learn to sing in tune and keep a beat, given the right environment.
Two: You are your child’s most important music teacher, and your home is the aforementioned key environment.
Three: The best music instruction is tucked gently around the edges of a playful experience that lets kids be kids.’
To read the entire article, please visit Wondertime.com here.
While skimming through Wondertime’s site, I also found something else for my Village and Our Time families enjoying “Hickory, Dickory, Dock.” It was a lovely printable clock for children with animals on the clock face to help give them some idea of the fundamentals of hour placement and of reading time.
To access this printable clock, simply click on the clock pictured above. It will take you directly to Wondertime’s clock site. There are also instructions given here to help you actually construct the clock for your child, using the printed clock face.
And do yourself a favor as well – check out Wondertime’s subscription rates for first-time subscribers – 66% off the cover price. It’s well worth it!