Archive for January, 2008


I know that there are many Starbucks fans out there – my own sister included.   Give me my own Chocolate Macadamia Nut Coffee every morning,  however, freshly ground here at home, and I’m a very happy camper.  But I couldn’t resist passing this snippet along from a Starbucks cup.  Think about it – does your child have a laptop?

The Way I See It #273

All children need a laptop. Not a computer, but a human laptop.  Moms, dads, grannies and grandpas, aunts, uncles – someone to hold them, read to them, teach them. Loved ones who will embrace them and pass on the experience, rituals, and knowledge of a hundred previous generations.
Loved ones who will pass to the next generation their expectations of them, their hopes, and their dreams.

~General Colin L. Powell – founder of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth

Imagine the special moments together with your child as you join us in our new Kindermusik semester beginning next week.  You’ll provide the perfect laptop for your child – yours!  😀

Find the perfect class for your child and your schedule here.

Thanks, Maria!

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As a Kindermusik educator, I am blessed to come in contact with some extremely talented, creative people at Kindermusik International.  One of my favorites there is Molly McGinn, senior writer for Kindermusik International.   I always like to check her blog for insightful posts, and today was no exception.  I am copying her post here for your benefit.  Thanks, Molly!

Music is the Language of Learning – by Molly McGinn

F is for Flute and Fido

Swapbot – Alphabet Postcard F – #5

Originally posted by dumpsterdiversanonymous

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 known 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.

And if you’ve ever visited a kindergarten or preschool classroom in full swing, you will also notice that many early childhood teachers do use a lot of music or musical speech in their teaching methods, almost unconsciously.  I know, because I’ve done it myself in my kindergarten classes that I taught in years past.  Thanks again, Molly, for sharing your insights with us! 😀


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This Saturday we begin our new Kindermusik semester.  For those of you who are new to our program, here’s a little primer to let you know where we are located and how to find our classroom. 

For the past 18 months, Masterworks Studio has held Kindermusik classes at Columbia Presbyterian Church on  Columbia Drive in Decatur.  I love the old church and its grounds with all of its beautiful foliage and gardens, but we developed a problem there this fall – not enough space in our classroom! Because of the Waldorf School of Atlanta’s need for all the classroom space available there at Columbia Presbyterian, we had to look elsewhere for a larger room.  

Avondale First Baptist Church, Avondale Estates, Georgia

I am very pleased to announce that we found a perfect spot at Avondale First Baptist Church, located at 47 Covington Road in Avondale Estates, just 2 miles east of Columbia Presbyterian.  The folks at AFBC are thrilled to welcome our classes there, and, in fact, have also just begun a Mother’s Morning Out program for the community.  In the picture above, you can see our classroom building (Building C) immediately behind the sanctuary on the lefthand side.

We have ample, FREE parking in the lot directly across Stratford Road beside the church, which you can see in the picture above.  Once you park in the lot, you simply cross the street (which is very easy, and not heavily traveled during class hours) and come up the steps to Building C. 

Stairs to the C Building at Avondale First Baptist Church

The first white door on the left at the top of the stairs is the church office.  Just past the office door is a set of double white doors with my purple Kindermusik sign standing just outside.  There is a sign hanging just over these doors which says:

 Sign outside our double white doors

 Go in the double white doors, and then come up one full flight of stairs.  This is actually a  flight of stairs followed by a very short flight (approximately 3-4 steps).   At the top of this series of  stairs, you will enter a door and turn left.  There you will find the door to our new, large classroom on the second floor which overlooks the parking lot and is the full width of the building. 

 Our Kindermusik Classroom in the Solid Rock Room at Avondale First Baptist Church, Avondale Estates, Georgia

We have plenty of room to continue to grow, and, in the months to come, I will also be able to teach piano and flute private lessons there as well.  Avondale First Baptist Church is in the process of establishing the Avondale Academy of the Arts, projected to open in the fall of 2008.  I will be blessed to be a part of the faculty there.

This location is very easy to reach, located just inside the perimeter highway, I-285, at Exit 41, the Memorial Drive/Avondale Estates exit which is also known as Cynthia McKinney Parkway exit.  For detailed directions and a Google Map, please visit our website here. 



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I was introduced to a new channel on Youtube tonight and thought that Mom and Dad just might enjoy something for their own listening pleasure for a change.  Enjoy!


Thanks, Stewart! 😀

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Our new semester begins in just two weeks!  Our Time classes will going places as we hop on a train, ride in the car, and board a plane in Away We Go

The instrument in this semester’s Home Materials is a set of two harmonicas, sized just right for your child’s hands.  And just to give you a taste of what’s possible with this small instrument, combined with a lot of practice and diligent effort, here’s Buddy Greene at Carnegie Hall in New York City, performing a “Classical Medley”.  A-mazing!


Enjoy! 🙂

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Wondertime is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite parenting magazines.  I look forward to each issue, knowing that it will have something useful for just about any and every parent.  The newest issue has a very interesting article about learning to “read” your newborn and his or her attempts to communicate with you.  I wish I had had this article when I had my firstborn!  It only confirms what I’ve long suspected.  The problem wasn’t with my baby – it was *ME*!

From Wondertime:

Swaddled newborn baby

“Translating Newborn”

Written By Sonia Shah 
You know your baby’s trying to tell you something, but what is it?

“See the slight pucker on her brow and her clenching hands?” baby researcher J. Kevin Nugent asks about 1-day-old Tess. “She’s saying, ‘Wait a minute. I’m still getting organized. Soon I’ll be relaxed enough to really look at you.’ “

It took about a week after I brought home my first baby for me to transmogrify from an unflappable globe-trotting journalist into a hormone-addled zombie weeping on the shoulders of strangers. Extreme sleep deprivation and hormone spikes were part of this alchemy, but the most potent ingredient, for me, was what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, that uncomfortable state of tension that results when two conflicting realities collide. This creature I’d made from my own flesh and nurtured for months inside my body — the very definition of an intimate familiar — had been revealed to me as a stranger.

He cried. He squirmed. He shuddered. His tiny face crumpled, stretched, and contorted, and sometimes his eyes opened so wide that I could see the top crescent of his sclera, the “white” of the eyeball. He pedaled his flaky, wrinkled feet, then stared off moodily into the middle distance. I could decipher none of these strange expressions and gestures. For those first few weeks, life with my beloved child felt as discombobulating as a Fellini film in the afternoon.

To read the rest of this article, please visit Wondertime here.

For further information about understanding your child’s “babyspeak”, check out the Babyspeak Decoder.

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This morning, while I waited and watched for the tow truck to arrive at our home, I thought I saw an errant snowflake or two, periodically falling from the sky.  Usually, that’s all we will see here in the metro Atlanta area.  Lowering skies and shivering temps that presage snow elsewhere usually result only in a slight flurry here – just enough to tease you, and make even grown adults stand with their faces upraised and tongues out, trying to catch a taste of snow.  🙂

However, late this afternoon, around 4PM, the snow flurries began in earnest, leaving a good dusting on the ground after only 30 minutes.  Arriving home from an errand, it was apparent to me that people were not taking a chance on icy roads, leaving work early to stop by the store for milk, eggs, bread, or whatever else they felt necessary to withstand a 12 hour siege with snowflakes on the ground.

 Clear evidence that we *do* occassionally have snow here in Georgia.

Now, I have good friends up in the North-East and out in the Midwest (Missouri) that seriously have snow – 18 to 20 inches in places, or even more. (I can’t keep up with it.)   I know that right now, they’re probably holding their sides, hunched over with laughter, at what we call snow. (Yes, I hear you snickering, Debbie, Christa, Beth Anne!)

Snowy rush hour

But when you can count on one hand the “real” snowfalls here in Atlanta during your lifetime, you take whatever snow comes when it comes, and you enjoy it to the max!

 Two of my daughters

Just for fun, for you longterm Atlantans, do you remember these?

The Ice Storm of 1973 – Atlanta was struck almost blind-sided on a Sunday afternoon shortly after New Year’s, and entire neighborhoods were without power for days.  At my parents’ home in south DeKalb County, we were without power for 7 days and 7 nights due to a neighbor’s tree that fell across the neighborhood transformer from the ice load *after* the power came back on early Monday morning.  Since there were only seven houses affected, we had to wait until Georgia Power finally got to us – the next Saturday night.

SnowJam ’82 – It came roaring in on Tuesday afternoon, January 12th.  We had just brought our newborn daughter home from the hospital the day before, which was one of the coldest days on record in over 100 years.  (-5 degrees)  Being jaundiced with elevated levels of bilirubin in her blood, we were scheduled to see the pediatrician on Wednesday morning, but, after hearing weather reports on the radio of the possibility of flurries the next day, we decided to go ahead and have her levels checked that afternoon. 

Since my husband had returned to work that day, my intrepid mother volunteered to take us, along with my two boys, ages 2 and not quite 4, to the closest office with the necessary lab equipment.  This was up at the Century Center Office Park just off Clairmont at I-85, requiring us to travel on I-285, through Spaghetti Junction over the highest bridge, and back down I-85 to Clairmont. 

As we left home in her trusty little Datsun sedan, we had no clue to the adventure that awaited us later that afternoon.  Let’s just say that, after waiting for an hour to have Beth’s heel pricked and with the all-clear finally given by the doctor, we began our homeward journey, meeting the blizzard at I-285 and the Stone Mountain Freeway.   I’ve never forgotten the sinking sensation in my stomach as my mom’s car skidded and snow-planed across three lanes of traffic on the Perimeter Highway as she tried to negotiate the tight curve onto the I-20 Eastbound ramp, holding my newborn daughter in my arms and listening to my two boys giggling in the backseat, having taken their shoes and socks off in order to throw their socks around inside the car like the snowflakes they saw outside the windows.  (Please don’t send me hate mail about holding her in my arms.  This was in the days before I knew better and prior to car-seat legislation.)

We finally arrived home safely, two hours after we left the doctor’s office, only to find that, while we could receive phone calls, for some strange reason, we couldn’t call out.  My father-in-law had left home while we were out, walking 2.5 miles in the blizzard up to I-20 and Wesley Chapel Road, looking for my mother-in-law who had left work around 1:30PM.  He was afraid she had gone off the road in the bad weather. 

When my husband got home from his route at 5PM, he joined his dad in looking for his mom, who, unbeknownst to us, had eventually made it to her aunt’s home, forced to walk up a long, steep hill on Columbia Drive through the storm after her car skidded off the road,  coming to rest on the wrong side of the road.  They didn’t get back home until around 11PM that night.  As I waited at home, with a new baby, a toddler, and a preschooler, with no way to call anyone, wondering if my mom had made it back home, if my mother-in-law was safe, if my husband would ever get back home that night, it was the first time in my life that I completely understood what some people mean when they say, “Boy, do I need a drink!” 😉

The  Blizzard of ’93 – I was ready for that drink again in March of 1993.  Our oldest son turned 15 on the 12th of March and had asked to have four of his friends over on Friday night to have pizza, watch movies, play video games, and stay up all night, doing whatever it is that 14 and 15 year old boys do at such events.  In order to give him an opportunity to celebrate without siblings underfoot, we had arranged for his brother to stay with his grandmother across the road and his sisters, 11 and almost 3, to visit our aunt in Lithonia, 5 miles away.  (What self-respecting 15yo boy *wants* his brother or sisters at his party?  I mean, *really*!)

Matthew and his friends were having a good time, filling our house with their laughter, crude jokes and bathroom humor (wanta play “turtle”, anyone?), when we realized that it had begun to snow outside.  Turning on the weather radio, we had our first clue that this was more than just flurries.  Accumulations of 4-6″ were expected.  Listeners were urged not to travel if they didn’t have to.  My husband and I looked at each other, thinking, “How much food do we really have in the house? Enough to feed these boys more than overnight?!” 

The next morning, while the boys were sliding down the hill behind our home on every pizza and pie pan that I owned, my husband and I were trying to figure how we were going to get them home.  The only reason we weren’t literally eaten out of house and home that weekend was that the dad of one of the boys had a Cherokee 4-wheel drive.  (Being a doctor, he knew the need for dependable, safe transportation in all kinds of weather and also knew how to drive safely in the crazy white stuff.) 

That Saturday afternoon, he finally arrived at our home around 3:30 and agreed to take two of the other boys home on his way back to Covington, using his carphone (a novelty at the time) to contact the other parents who met him at their exits on I-20.   The last boy was finally picked up that night by his dad, who had found some chains for his tires and had filled the bed of his Ford Ranger with firewood to give it some extra traction.  Our younger son stayed across the road until Sunday night, and our older daughter didn’t come home from Aunt Betty’s until Tuesday!  Thankfully, our youngest at the time, Bekah, had begged to come home before the storm hit on Friday night, so we didn’t have to worry about 3yo homesickness.  😀

So – where were YOU in any of those memorable snow adventures?


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[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm6ktYq0Yxk] 😀

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He didn’t know any better.  He was a self-taught musician whose creativity and technique was praised both by classically trained virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz and jazz giant Oscar Peterson.  He was remarkable in that he was blind in one eye and could only partially see out of the other one. 

Despite his physical limitations, he refused to give up his dream.  As a boy in the 1920’s, he idolized Fats Waller and wanted to play like him.  So, he listened to every possible source he could – both radio and phonograph. (Think very large, prehistoric CD) He taught himself to play using Braille and piano rolls.  He listened. He imitated. He copied. He practiced.  He improved. 

That’s where he started.  Where he ended up only demonstrates what can happen when you shed your self-imposed limitations and embrace your expectations.  I hope you enjoy Art Tatum.


The really amazing thing is that Art Tatum didn’t realize that sometimes, when he was listening to a recording, he was hearing two separate parts being played by two pianists.  He simply learned both parts and played them simultaneously.  He learned them so well that years later, when jazz artist Oscar Peterson heard Art playing, he thought there actually  were two people playing. 

Art Tatum found that dreams can come true in real life.  One night he visited a club to hear his idol, Fats Waller, perform live.  Upon hearing that Art was there, Fats told the crowd, “I just play the piano.  But God is in the house tonight.”

As parents, there are times that we limit our children in order to protect them from harm.  In some instances, however, limits, especially false ones, can hinder or even defeat us even before we get started.   What if Art Tatum had known that there were two people playing instead of just one?  Would that knowledge, that limitation, have kept him from developing into one of the most highly acclaimed jazz pianists of all time? 

This is why I believe that Kindermusik can be so important in a child’s life.  It is process-based, not performance-oriented.  It fosters and encourages a child’s creativity.  This is why I encourage parents to observe their children in class and follow their lead in instrument play or creative movement and to scaffold (or build) off of it with a slightly different twist to it.  By opening your eyes to the possibilities, you limit the limitations.

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