Archive for June, 2008

In July of 2005, I was privileged to attend the national convention of the Kindermusik Educators Association that I had joined only that spring.  I was licensed as a Kindermusik educator in November, 2004, although I have taught music to children for over 35 years now.  As I drove to Nashville, Tennessee for the convention, I had no idea of the wonderful programs and sessions that were in store for me. 

The very first night of the convention I found myself sitting in the second row of the convention ballroom, watching with amazement, as David Holt, storyteller extraordinaire, sang for us and played a paper bag, an aspirin bottle (or was it Advil?) and a harmonica, one after another while strumming his banjo as well from time to time.  Until that time I had not had the good fortune to even know who David Holt *is* – much less what he did. 

To say the least, I enjoyed myself so much that night that I bought one of every David Holt CD that was available for purchase there and have listened to them over and over again over the past three years.  Kindermusik International also uses his work from time to time throughout our curricula.  (No surprise why he was at the KEA convention, is there?!) 

This afternoon I was *very* pleased to receive an email from him, announcing that not only were there David Holt videos available on Youtube, but also some of David with his mentor and singing partner, Doc Watson.   So, turn up your speakers and enjoy this video of David Holt and Doc Watson performing “Shady Grove” – found in this past year’s Village curriculum – as Doc recounts his story of wooing and courting his wife of 62 years.  Enjoy! 😀

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When’s the last time you went to the movies for $1.00?  (And, no, I don’t mean when you won a free ticket for reading a certain number of books or reading for so many hours for the local library’s summer reading program, either.)

$1.00 Movies for Charity

Well, take your children and visit your local AMC Theatre each Wednesday at 10AM this summer, all summer long, and enjoy a movie for only $1.00.  AMC also makes a KidsPack available that includes a kid-sized drink, popcorn, and snack for only $3.00 (a $2.75 savings only for the Summer Movie Camp). 

Summer KidsPack - special price for Summer Movie Camp

Participating AMC Theatres in our area include the AMC Stonecrest 16 at Stonecrest Mall in eastern DeKalb county, AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 in Morrow near Southlake Mall, AMC Discover Mills 18 in Gwinnett County near Discover Mills, and AMC Avenue Forsyth 12 located at GA 400 and Peachtree Parkway. 

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the box office or online on the AMC Theatres website.

The lineup includes:

June 25: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

July 2: The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

July 9: Alvin & the Chipmunks

July 16: Shrek the Third

July 23: Bee Movie

July 30: Surf’s Up

August 6: TMNT

All proceeds from the AMC Summer Movie Camp benefit the Variety – The Children’s Charity and the Will Rogers Institute.  Find participating theatres and fun activities for your kids here.

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I often share with my Kindermusik parents how they can use a song from class to make things easier at home.  The first one most parents adapt for their own use is the “Instruments Away” jingle I use in class to encourage the children to put their instruments or scarves back in the basket so we can move on to another activity.  I’ve heard it used many times for “toys away” or “books away” as well as “bath-time”.  🙂


Today I read with interest an article on Yahoo! that reports how a mom from Guthrie, Oklahoma who lives with a serious condition created a jingle for her 3yo daughter to use in an emergency to dial for help. 


When the 24-year-old and 3-months-pregnant Jessica Eaves fainted, Madelyn used the song “911 Green” to dial for help on her mother’s BlackBerry phone, punching in 911, then the green send button to place the call as she had been taught just a week before.

The girl was connected to a dispatcher. In recently released transcripts of her May 27 911 call, Madelyn was able to answer questions about her house and cars outside, leading emergency workers to the home.

This isn’t the first time Madelyn has used a cell phone to call for help for her mother.

A year ago, Eaves first learned she had a condition that can cause frequent fainting and made up a simple song around the lyrics “green, green, green.” When Eaves lost consciousness back then, Madelyn picked up a cell phone and pressed the green button, which called the last person Eaves had called and that person called for help.

So Eaves revised the words to “911 green, 911 green,” referring to the color of the send button on most cell phones.


~ Read the entire article on Yahoo! 

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320,000 Jardine cribs sold in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide were recalled Tuesday after four children became trapped due to broken spindles and slats in the cribs.  Two of the children were bruised and suffered cuts as a result of their entrapment.  There were a total of 42 reported incidents with broken or falling spindles from the sides as well as broken slats. 

White Jardine Crib

From the Associated Press by Natasha T. Metzsler: Earlier this year, Janine Nieman of East Stroudsburg, Pa. heard her son, Aiden, screaming first thing in the morning. She found him trapped with his body outside of the crib and his stuck head inside. One of the spindles had fallen out of the frame and he had slid through the gap up to his head. Nieman and her husband, Thomas, slid Aiden back into the crib. He came out of the ordeal shaken but uninjured.

Recalled Jardine Cherry-finish crib

The baby cribs in question were manufactured in China and Vietnam by Jardine Enterprises.  There were sold by Toys R Us, Inc. retailers which include KidsWorld stores, Geoffrey stores, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us.  Geoffrey stores and KIdsWorld stores are no longer in existence but did sell the recalled cribs when they were open.   These cribs were sold around the country from January 2002 through May 2008.

For specific models that have been recalled, please check out the Consumers Product Safety Commission for detailed model numbers as well as descriptions and  photos.  Locate your crib model number which is found printed on the inside of the bottom rail of the headboard or footboard.  Compare to the listing at the CPSC website.  These cribs ranged in price from $150 – $300 with one model (Mahogany Positano Lifetime Crib) which sold for $450. 

Light Birch-finish Jardine Crib

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and contact Jardine to receive a full credit toward the purchase of a new crib.   For additional information, contact Jardine at (800) 646-4106 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET Saturday, or visit the firm’s Web site here.

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From an earlier era, Paul Petersen, from “The Donna Reed Show” of the 50’s and early 60’s, sings a song that  brings back memories of a much beloved dad. 


And as Paul Simon says, “There will never be a father love his daughter as much as I love you.”

To all dads everywhere,

Happy, Happy Father’s Day!


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One of the perks of being married to another music educator is that we share professional journals with each other.  Sometimes I even snag the latest issue of MENC’s official magazine for music educators – Teaching Music – before he even gets home! 😉

The latest issue of Teaching Music  (June, 2008, Vol. 15, No. 6) arrived today, and as I was skimming through the pages, I ran across a very interesting article by Catherine Applefeld Olson, entitled “Music Testing Success Crosses Ethnic Lines” (p 20).  It details the results of a “first-of-its-kind standardized test in Florida which reveals that among music, reading, writing, and math, music is the only subject in which students have an equal chance to succeed regardless of ethnicity.”

In May, 2007, almost 9,500 fourth graders in Florida took the Florida Music Assessment (FMA).  The student population came from 42 of the state’s 67 counties.  The ethnic distribution of the students was exactly compatible to those who took the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).  The disparity on the FCAT between highest and lowest scores ranged from 29 to 34.  On the FMA?  The point spread was 20 points, almost one third less among ethnicities than the FCAT. 

Other findings included “a significant positive relationship between school performance on the FMA and the 2007 FCAT reading, writing, and math scores.  The better a school performed on the FMA, the better it performed on the FCAT tests, particularly with regard to math.”

Correlations with writing and reading were in the high 90 percentiles, not an unusual finding.  However, in math, it was 99.997 percent!  “While we expected a correlation, we had no idea the correlations would be that high,” says James Perry, executive director of the FMEA (Florida Music Educators Association). 

Timothy Brophy, associate professor of music education at the University of  Florida’s School of music and chairman of the project, is quoted as saying, “Schools with higher music scores tend to have higher reading, math, and writing scores.  We shouldn’t ignore the significant implications of these results.”

Music and the arts, both fine and dramatic, have long been favorite targets of number crunchers amongst the public school systems nationwide.  When standardized test results indicate children are struggling, one of the first cries heard are “More academics!  Back to basics!” 

But are our children instead paying the price for this cost-cutting, academic-intensive mindset? 

Where does your child’s school stand in regards to music instruction?  Does your child’s school even offer music? 

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Have you ever wondered about other Kindermusik classes than the one your child is enrolled in?

Well, this video gives you a glimpse of the full seven year continuum of Kindermusik – from newborn to age 7 – Village to Our Time to Imagine That to Young Child.  Enjoy!  😀

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Last weekend, I had the inexpressible joy of watching my oldest child, my son, Matthew, join in marriage with a beautiful, glowing young woman named Kati Lestmann who wasted no time in changing her name to Kati Williams on her Facebook page shortly after they left the church.  (The miracle of twitter and Blackberrys!) 😀

Even though I was only the “MOTG,” or Mother of the Groom, I found myself totally exhausted by Sunday and didn’t crawl out of bed until 12:35 PM!  Thank you all so much for your notes and emails of congratulations.  This has really been a wonderful time of celebration in our journey as parents. 

One word of caution to all of you parents with young children – be careful not to blink while watching your little ones.  The days may seem long, but the years will fly  by!  It doesn’t really seem that long ago that I was watching Matthew turn loose of the sofa and taking his first steps across our den at 11 months of age. 🙂

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